TORONTO – The TTC driver who was fired after running a red light on Eglinton Avenue said she didn’t realize the light changed red and couldn’t stop in time – so she drove through.
In a letter addressed to TTC management, the woman explained she had slowed down to service the stop at Ionview Road because she thought she saw someone at the bus shelter.
“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,” she wrote in the letter. “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.”
She goes on to explain she could not “have stopped safely.”
A video of the incident was captured by a nearby driver on Eglinton Avenue. The bus can be seen slowing and pulling into the turning lane to service the stop before it speeds up and swerves around a pedestrian crossing the street on the other side.
“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,” the driver wrote in the letter. “I never once took my eyes off her as I crossed that intersection.”
The unidentified driver was fired by the TTC as a result of the video evidence. The TTC union said it wouldn’t fight the termination but did ask the commission to be “compassionate” in their punishment and assign the driver to a non-driving role.
“We believe that most people, if they knew the full circumstances of the incident would be willing to give this single mother of two a second chance, if not as a vehicle operator then in a non-vehicle job at the TTC,” TTC union president Bob Kinnear said in a statement.
The TTC refused to comment on this story.