Misery loves company, and TTC riders and operators had busloads to share at a town hall meeting yesterday

The meeting at Ryerson University was the last in a series organized by the TTC union after rider malaise transformed into outrage when a fare collector was photographed snoozing on the job a few months ago.

Like the previous meetings, little animosity could be found when the 200 transit users discovered that squeaky brakes, dirty bathrooms and crowded buses are also the bane of TTC operators.

“I’ll report to work, and I’ll be told there’s no vehicle for me to take into service,” bus driver Ron Ishmael told the crowd. “The person behind me will carry my passengers and his.”

Eddie Braga, a streetcar driver, said he is expected to drive faster to make up for a lack of equipment.

The two-hour meeting was collegial, with CBC personality Barbara Budd drawing names out of a hat for the question period.

One rider asked for a reduction in fares and wondered if a free system was too much to ask for.

“If we had the subsidies they have in Europe we could have a free system,” union head Bob Kinnear said.

When a rider complained about crackling speakers, bus driver Brian Howard agreed the announcements were pretty bad.

“I can’t even understand what they’re saying and I work there,” he said.

On the topic of annoying noises, subway driver Janet Weller sympathized with a man who despised the loud subway brakes, saying she spent “12 hours a day” listening to them.