• If you’re the driver of eastbound 501 streetcar 4225 at 1100 hours on a Saturday, it’s better if you don’t wear two visible black earbud headphones. Smart drivers wear only one, on the left side, though that will still be visible to the keen passenger. (Black drivers often make the mistake of wearing icing-sugar-white iPod headphones. Dodged that bullet!)

  • It also helps if, when challenged with “You’re not seriously listening to an iPod or using a cellphone, are you?,” one does not insult the passenger’s intelligence.

  • When the passenger continues to insist that you verify you are not listening to anything or using a phone in contravention of regulations, resist the hair-trigger impulse to call CIS and ask for the “police” to attend. Also, don’t lie and bellow into the TRUMP phone that the situation “may get out of hand.”

  • If the story you’re trying to sell us that of course you weren’t using a cellphone, do not then pull it out and start videotaping the passenger with it. (A BlackBerry on the Rogers network.)

    Salt-and-pepper-haired TTC driver holds BlackBerry camera in my direction
  • Finally, do not lie to the passenger and claim photography is not allowed on the TTC. This is an especially unwise option when:

    • you are yourself taking photographs on the TTC, and

    • the passenger leans over and reads ¶3.17 of TTC Bylaw Nº 1 out loud. (“No person shall operate any camera, video-recording device, movie camera or any similar device for commercial purposes upon the transit system without authorization” [emphasis added].)

    Also do not demand the passenger delete the photographs from his camera, both of which are of course his own private property.

Special bonus career coaching for middle management

  • If you’re a TTC supervisor with 23 years’ experience, as Ms E. Stubbs (Route Supervisor, Eglinton Division), claimed to be, also do not lie to the passenger by insisting, over and over again, often by interrupting the passenger, that photography is prohibited. (It isn’t.) Another tip? Do not drop buzzwords like “9/11” and “terrorism” to justify the lie.

  • If you’re trying to de-escalate a situation and recommend a more amicable course of action the next time a passenger sees a driver using a cellphone, do not also offer the opinion that citizen documentation of TTC wrongdoing is “getting out of hand.” Do not also implicitly confirm the suggestion that drivers are now just immediately calling CIS whenever any dispute of any kind happens.

But I do want to offer a word of praise: The driver admitted to the supervisor that he was using a phone. He had no real choice – everybody could see the foot-long length of headphone cord dangling under his coat.

Average people now feel quite empowered to document everything the TTC does wrong. Things get trickier when the guy you’re arguing with is a journalist with insider knowledge.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2010.02.06 13:57. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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