TTC union says dismissed bus driver deserves another chance

Union president says the employee is "deeply embarassed" over the incident

Witness video shows the bus narrowly missing a pedestrian.
Photo: YouTube

The union that represents the TTC bus driver who was fired for running a red light says the employee should be given another chance.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 president Bob Kinnear says the ex-driver is "deeply embarrassed by her error" and hopes that TTC managers will reconsider her dismissal.

Kinnear points out she is a single mother of two young children and was only a little over months into the job.

The transit agency launched an investigation after a witness dashboard camera video of the incident appeared on YouTube.

It shows a bus approaching the intersection of Eglinton Avenue East and Ionview Road.

The vehicle darts into the centre lane to avoid a pedestrian who started walking across the street.

The driver, whose name has not been released, wrote an open letter to TTC management:

Officials with the transit authority say they consider the matter closed.

Below is the open letter...

To TTC Management:

On Monday July 21, 2014, at approximately 9:32 a.m. I left Kennedy Station travelling westbound as 34 Eglinton bus. I had passed Kennedy Road heading towards the next intersection, which is Ionview Road and from what I could see as I passed over Kennedy there was no one waiting at the bus pole ahead so I would have just continued through at that point as the light was green at the time.

However, I wasn’t close enough yet to see if the light was counting down but as I got closer I noticed what appeared to be an elderly person sitting inside the bus shelter. So I pulled over to service the stop but did not come to a complete stop. I took my foot off the gas and pumped the brakes while approaching to see if this person was going to head out of the shelter because maybe they didn’t see the bus coming.

This person didn’t get up so as I was going to continue on, I noticed a bus had already crossed the intersection in the left lane and I thought traffic was still moving. But I quickly glanced up and noticed my light was red just as my front end was approaching the line. The light must have changed to amber while I was pulling over into the bus lane to see if the person in the shelter wanted the bus because I honestly didn’t see it change. I caught a glimpse of the red last minute just before I crossed over.

Because of where I was when I noticed the light I didn’t feel that I could have stopped safely without ending up in the intersection regardless. I decided to go through, I changed lanes to merge back on to the roadway to the curb lane because that lanes does not continue ahead but noticed that a pedestrian was waiting to cross. I couldn’t take the chance that she saw me so I immediately sped up a bit to get right over into the middle lane to avoid her in case she stepped on to the road. I never once took my eyes off her as I crossed that intersection.

I feel absolutely awful about this incident. Driving a bus is challenging and I am well aware of the dangers. I would never intentionally run a red light just to make time or anything like that. I unfortunately assumed my light was still going to be green and had no idea it had changed until a second or so before I crossed it. I so wanted to stop but I didn’t know how far out I would end up so I made a split second decision to go straight through rather than trying to stop abruptly.

I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart. This was an unacceptable lack of judgment on my part by not noticing the light but I was at the commitment point by the time I saw it. I did the only thing at that point to avoid it be speeding up to go around her. I understand the seriousness of this incident and accept whatever penalties you must enforce. I do love this job, the people I service every day and those who make me realize what it means to be here. We all make errors while driving whether it’s our own vehicles or someone else’s. However, driving the bus we are always in the public eye and under scrutiny.

When I learned of the footage of this incident I immediately felt sick to my stomach so I decided to write this so you have a formal statement from me explaining what and why it happened. Bottom line is that it shouldn’t have happened but it did and I am so grateful the outcome of my error ended the way it did. I just hope I will have the opportunity to remain here and prove to you that I am more than capable to do this job and that I can continue to improve and grow.

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  1. Union Logic posted on 07/29/2014 05:49 PM
    Our entitlement to JOBS 4 LIFE is more important than your entitlement to not-getting-hit-by-a-bus. Deal with it, peasants.

    Your friends and overlords at the Amalgamated Transit Union
    1. Rob Ford says posted on 07/29/2014 08:08 PM
      @Union Logic Rob Ford says no second chances for anyone, dam it!
    2. john posted on 07/30/2014 11:17 AM
      @Union Logic lol thats funny . but still the overlords can kiss my ass .
    3. tanjo posted on 07/30/2014 11:51 AM
      @Union Logic Jobs 4 Life indeed.

      While I believe unions do have a place in the city, there is a place where we have

      Fighting for this woman to keep "any" job after she failed abysmally at the job she was hired for is crossing the line.

      The TTC needs to hold firm on this one. The public is behind them.
    4. dama posted on 07/30/2014 12:15 PM
      @tanjo I was having a conversation with my wife in the car and I lost track of the light and I was "late" in stopping on the line, so decided to go through, snapped by red light camera and I paid the fine..

      I felt so guilty and bad about the situation and I believed this driver felt the same too hence the letter to explain the situation..

      it was a grave mistake on her part for she was driving a TTC bus and almost hit that pedestrian, also she is one month into the job...

      TTC already said she is no longer working at TTC and I dont think they will revisit their decision,, but it is sad to lose a job.. only one month into it.. hope she wil recover from this and get another job elsewhere..
    5. Dean posted on 07/30/2014 04:51 PM
      @dama Oh, don't worry. She'll be back in the driver's seat before the dust has time to settle, because the Amalgamated Transit Union holds a monopoly on transit jobs in more than just Toronto. She'll get shuffled to one of those other municipalities with no fuss, no fanfare, and no warning to the innocent pedestrians of the area.
  2. tanjo posted on 07/30/2014 11:41 AM
    This is why we need more dashboard cameras, so we can call out BS like this letter.
  3. Frankie posted on 07/30/2014 12:11 PM
    She failed her probation dismally. If she's that careless or disengaged from her job what kind of employee would she make in another position? Sounds like she needs to find a unionized job in the public sector. Oh, I forgot, she had one!
  4. Angry Bill posted on 07/30/2014 04:46 PM
    I'd normally fall on the other side of the fence on this one, but looking at this, I actually feel sorry for her. We all make mistakes, and this one cost her her job. If I were to have done that in my car while a cop was there, I don't think i would have been shown much leniency. I'd be sucking on the wrong end of a ticket, and my insurance premium would obligingly shoot through the roof, because that's how insurance racketeers operate.

    I think she should probably have been fined, ticketed, disciplined, whatever.. and if she was a full employee, she might have been. But because she was still on probation, it was a lot easier to let her go than it would have been if she wasn't on probation. And that's probably why they did it.

    Yeah, it was a bone headed mistake. But I see bone headed mistakes all around me during my commute every day. Sometimes I even make one. So, yeah. I feel sorry for her.
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