January 21, 2015 10:33 am
Updated: January 21, 2015 9:08 pm

TTC considers dash cams and GPS technology

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WATCH: The TTC Union says bus drivers are being unfairly blamed for safety incidents. Mark Carcasole reports.

TORONTO- The TTC board will consider a report during a meeting Wednesday about monitoring its drivers with dashboard cameras, GPS technology and radar checks..

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The city’s transit agency is proposing a 12-point Safe Service Action Plan after a 14-year-old girl was struck and killed by a TTC bus.

Amaria Diljohn was on her way home from school on December 19 when she was struck in the Finch Ave. E. and Neilson Rd. Area. The driver of the bus is not facing any charges.

The plan calls for dashboard cameras, GPS technology and radar checks.  It also proposes more training and performance monitoring for streetcar and bus drivers. The measures are aimed at enhancing safety on buses and streetcars.

But the president of the union representing TTC drivers, Bob Kinnear, said the TTC is sending mixed messages to drivers; telling drivers they have to be on time, while telling the public safety is their first priority.

Kinnear said in an interview Wednesday that drivers have a difficult time doing both because of unrealistic schedules.

“We’ll ensure that nobody out there is speeding, the unfortunate part about that is we may have a stagnant transit system out there. We really are disappointed about the mixed messages to our membership,” Kinnear said. “It’s obvious, we’ve had instances where there has been speeding but again it’s that mixed message coming from the TTC.”

Kinnear said the city’s congested streets frequently keep drivers from meeting their scheduled times.

Whether the TTC board accepts the report to consider installing more cameras, Kinnear said he’s not sure they have the right to implement the plan.

“They have no agreement in place to implement some of these new measures. I can tell you that we’re going to take the position that they don’t have the right to do that,” he said.

“We may be more receptive to some of those measures if they dealt with the real issue, the issue that they have control of, which is scheduling.”

TTC boss Andy Byford will present his monthly update at the meeting, which includes a scorecard detailing the punctuality of subways, streetcars and buses.

“Basically what we’re saying, with all of the various technologies that are out there, at the end of the day, our overriding objective is to make TTC travel as safe as it possible can be,” Byford said.

“Our operators perform a magnificent job day in, day out, but if there are technologies out there that make the TTC safer, aids the operator and restores confidence to the public then I think it’s only right that we look at them.”

Byford said the report is spurred on, in part, by recent accidents involving TTC vehicles as well as vehicles running red lights.

Meanwhile, TTC users will be able to use presto readers on streetcars by the end of the year.

Instead of waiting for a new fleet of streetcars, the TTC is rolling out the strategy one year ahead of schedule.

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