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TTC Releases Official Statement on the Bus Ordered for Mayor’s Football Team

Commission maintains that operational staff did not know it was the mayor asking for a bus to be sent to pick up the Don Bosco Eagles.

As has been widely reported, last week a TTC bus was requested by police to pick up the players of the Don Bosco football team—whose coach, famously, is Mayor Rob Ford. It’s not entirely clear why officers judged the special-order bus to be necessary: various spokespeople have alluded to tensions between players at the game, and also to inclement weather.

It is not, says the TTC, unusual for various emergency services to ask the transit provider for what is known as a “shelter bus.” What is less common is unloading passengers from a bus already on the road to fulfill such a request, as happened here—a situation considerably complicated by the fact that when a bus didn’t arrive, Ford called TTC CEO Andy Byford to inquire about its whereabouts.

Below is the full text of a just-released TTC statement on the incident, summarizing remarks they have already made and attempting to allay concerns that the mayor unduly influenced operational decisions.

Last Thursday, November 1, the Toronto Transit Commission’s Transit Control Centre received a call from the Toronto Police Service requesting a shelter bus. The TTC took immediate action to accommodate the request, dispatching an in-service bus from the 36 Finch West bus route. The bus operator was having difficulty finding the location it was asked to attend. After further inquiries by police to the control centre about the whereabouts of the bus, staff dispatched a second bus, this one from the 46 Martin Grove route, also in service. Eventually, the 36 Finch West bus operator found the school and the 46 Martin Grove bus was returned to service.

At no time did TTC CEO Andy Byford order a second bus or give direction to TTC staff. And at no time were TTC frontline personnel aware of why a shelter bus was required, a request the TTC receives, on average twice a week, from police and Toronto Fire. Typically, the TTC tries to send shelter buses from a terminal location (subway station) or bus garage, minimizing the impact on customers. Given the urgency of the police request, operations personnel at the TTC made the decision to utilize buses from nearby routes to meet the request as quickly as possible.

Since this incident, a number of questions about the need for a shelter bus on this occasion have arisen, as well as the reasons why fare-paying customers were displaced from two in-service buses to accommodate the request.

Below is the text of an email sent by Mr. Byford to all TTC Commissioners on the morning of Nov. 3 in response to questions from them about this incident, including whether or not TTC policies and protocols should be changed and/or reviewed.

TTC staff will report to the Commission, and the public, once it determines whether its protocols need to change or if they require strengthening. The TTC will not be providing further comment on this matter until that time.

-30-

Commissioners,

I will dig out the policy and, if you would like, make a proposal to strengthen it.

(Legitimate) requests come in at any time, often at extreme times of the day. As such, operational staff are best placed to handle them. More senior (TTC staff) oversight/approval may be needed though.

The most unfortunate thing about this episode is the damage done to our reputation after more than a year of careful, painstaking steps to improve it. I am not happy about that and I am certainly not happy that fare paying customers were inconvenienced under these circumstances.

For the record: I had no idea that two buses were used nor that customers were inconvenienced.

Rest assured that I am following this up with TPS and the Mayor’s Office.

Regards

Andy

Andy Byford
Chief Executive Officer

Comments

  • Dan

    Don’t Ford’s allies ever get tired of cleaning up his messes? It must be like taking care of a seven year-old.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=48904447 Chris Orbz

      Ford’s allies have been cleaning up his messes? I’m not sure what media outlet you’ve been following, but that’s definitely news to me.

  • Anonymous

    Its the direct call to the TTC’s CEO that disturbs me more than the first call. Other coaches would not be capable of doing that, but would ask or go through the police officer at the scene.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Justin-Flontek/100003898558870 Justin Flontek

    Ford and his gravy bus!

  • Casey

    Busgate 2012!

  • Anonymous

    Seems like the police have not adequately answered the question, did the presence of the mayor push the sergeant at the scene to request the shelter bus.

  • Whitejacket

    When are the cops going to weigh in on this? What are they hiding?

  • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

    “Commission maintains that operational staff did not know it was the mayor asking for a bus to be sent to pick up the Don Bosco Eagles.”

    Because he didn’t. The police did.

    • OgtheDim

      Meh…he knew about it and approved of it.

      Otherwise, why phone Byford?

      • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

        Doesn’t make it any less false.

    • Anonymous

      The police just randomly decided to order this bus? Ford’s presence was mere coincidence?

      • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

        I understand the need to knee jerk at anything in the Ford sphere.

        • Anonymous

          I understand the need to look for any loop hole or escape when it comes to defending Ford.

          • Brad

            I understand the need to look for any loop hole or escape it when it comes to bashing Ford. The logic works both ways as Ford supporters and bashers almost always work in extremes.

        • Anonymous

          Seriously, Rob Ford hired staff on the taxpayers’ dime to look after his football team. Couldn’t they handle this? Why call in the TTC?

          • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

            Ask the school and the police why they felt they needed to call in the TTC.

        • Anonymous

          Whether or not Fraud was involved in ordering the first bus, he definately ordered the second bus

          • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

            I see what you did there. Very clever to replace Ford with Fraud. Original to boot. Thanks for raising the level of discourse.

          • Anonymous

            picard102: You’re welcome. Rub has pushed you under the bus so many times, it’s understandable if you have trouble thinking clearly and initially didn’t make the connection: Ford=Fraud.

            Regardless of who called for the first bus, if there was no call from Rub to Byford, there would have been no second bus load of passengers dumped on the street.

          • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

            Rub, very good as well. Do you also use a $ sign to replace the s in Microsoft?

          • Anonymous

            Do you always bring up Microsoft in a discussion about Rub Fraud?

          • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

            No, just now to point out how celever you are.

          • Anonymous

            And to distract from the fact that your original statement that Fraud didn’t call was false. Whether or not he was involved in the decision to call for the first bus, he’s the guy who called Byford to ensure that the bus was coming. That call resulted in the second bus being diverted.

          • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

            It’s easy to forget that the police also called the TTC to find out where the missing bus was.

          • Anonymous

            I’m surprised your parents didn’t name you Osium. I bet you they wish they did!

          • Anonymous

            If that’s true, you’ll be able to provide a link to an article that mentions it.

          • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

            “Ms. Stintz said she was not privy to the call, but understands the mayor was expressing frustration that the bus had not arrived. “I don’t think there is anything inappropriate about the mayor phoning the CEO of the TTC to find out why a bus has been delayed if it is a shelter bus and it is an urgent situation,” she said.

            Ms. Stintz said she can confirm the police made repeated calls to transit control to find out where the bus was.”

            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/mayor-ford-says-bus-controversy-has-nothing-to-do-with-me/article4922979/

          • Anonymous

            “Thanks for raising the level of discourse.”

            Coming from the poster who went ad hom at the first opportunity, that’s pretty rich.

          • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

            Pointing out the insanity of the reaction to this isn’t ad hom.

          • Anonymous

            Why is it insanity to call out Rob Ford on wasting taxpayers’ money, police and ttc resources for his private football coaching activities, not to mention skipping out of his real job as mayor? Hmmmm?

          • http://www.facebook.com/RyanCliffordHenryGermann Ryan Germann

            Seriously, you’re here defending the indefensible Rob Ford, whose antics are very well documented, and you are criticizing others for the level of discourse on an internet discussion board.

            Did you vote for Mr. Ford? If so, you have absolutely no moral authority on the quality of “discourse” here, or anywhere else.

          • http://www.leschinskidesign.com/contact/addme picard102

            Interesting how you think only people who fit your world view have moral authority. You really are no better then Ford or his followers at this point.

    • Anonymous

      ” Ford called Byford’s cellphone. Byford, who was unaware of the original request, called the transit control centre to inquire and was told the buses would arrive soon.”

      Like seriously. Read before you speak.

  • http://twitter.com/torontomyway Toronto My Way

    Mr. Ford, enough’s enough – pack your stuff.

  • Anonymous

    I think there are several questions to be answered before you ever get to the TTC or indeed Mayor Ford.

    1. To TCDSB: why is there no provision for proper and safe shelter for visiting players at Father Henry Carr CSS such that the recommended action after this game was essentially evacuation and why should games not be removed from that school until such is provided.
    2. To TCDSB: explain why sporting events happening under your Provincially funded banner are not attended and officially controlled by a TCDSB official who can enforce discipline on students involved in possible or actual violence and not a volunteer (Mayor Ford) who acted under the belief that only he could control these students.
    3. To TPS: first, explain why at least two versions of the safety situation have been presented by people speaking for TPS, which was the accurate one and what was the situation which two sworn police officers felt so liable to escalate that the presence was increased to eight officers in all.

    • Anonymous

      Apparently, sports teams aren’t even allowed to enter the buildings of the school they are visiting. They get changed at their home school, travel, play the match, and then travel back in their (muddy/wet/sweaty) sports gear.

      To me that’s rude and inhospitable, and can easily pose a risk to the visiting players well-being.

      • Anonymous

        So…it was a life and death situation, players on the verge of hypothermia, some with early stages of frost bite, and a bus was called because the other school wouldn’t let them in? Doesn’t sound right.

        • Anonymous

          That’s the policy in place. I think we’re in agreement about how dumb it is.

      • Anonymous

        Urinary tract infections, anyone?

  • Anonymous

    h/t @goldsbie: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/862478–rob-ford-leads-high-school-team-to-victory
    {{Asked if he would still coach if he becomes mayor, Ford said no. “It’s going to be too much. First and foremost is my job,” he said.}}

  • Drew

    WOW…Mayor Ford does it again.
    As a Toronto resident, Regular TTC user and a “TAXPAYER”, I am very angry with the juvenile behaviour of Mayor Ford.

    TTC buses are pulled from service a few times per week for “emergency” situations. Two buses pulled from service during rush hour, dislodging fare paying “TAXPAYING” citizens in order to ferry around Mayor Ford’s football team??? Are you kidding me?????

    Our wonderful TTC is underfunded and subsidized by the “TAXPAYING” citizens of this great city. This use of our buses is a blatant misuse of my “TAX” dollars.

    Our Mayor must reimburse the TTC for the cost of his use of these buses, and he must resign.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RyanCliffordHenryGermann Ryan Germann

      Never mind that one of the affected routes was on Finch, which is possibly the most notoriously underserviced route in the city… and which Mr. Ford was only too happy to sandbag by scrapping Transit City.

  • Anonymous

    TTC seems like an innocent bystander in this whole mess. Should they begin second guessing Police requests for emergency transportation? Doubtful.

    The Toronto police definitely need to step into this discussion and explain why they ordered the buses.

    While not a huge issue (as he didn’t actually make or even seem to influence the request for the bus), Ford just shows his incompetence by even getting involved at all.

    • Anonymous

      “The Toronto police definitely need to step into this discussion and explain why they ordered the buses.”

      That one’s easy. It’s because Rob won’t cut their bloated budget. Next question?