TTC to study new uniforms, fare inspectors without batons
WATCH: The TTC is planning a pilot project to leave some fare inspector uniforms without batons or handcuffs. Mark Carcasole reports.
TORONTO – The Toronto Transit Commission is considering changing the uniforms of its fare inspectors as well as stripping them of their batons and handcuffs.
TTC staff were told at Wednesday’s board meeting to come up with a pilot project plan for its streetcar lines to test the proposal.
The TTC currently has 18 fare inspectors with an expanded team of 60 planned for the end of the year.
However, TTC CEO Andy Byford raised concerns about the plan, especially with regards to employee protection.
Byford is concerned about the safety of officers if the batons and handcuffs are taken away from inspectors, which may also lead to increased cases of fare evasion.
“We want them to have the protection that they need. These are defence tools; these are tools they can use to protect themselves should they be assaulted,” TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said in an interview.
“They’ve never been used by our fare inspectors.”
Ross noted that baton-use is extremely rare on the TTC. TTC special constables, who also carry batons, have used them five times in five years, he said.
The TTC estimates it loses $20 million a year to fare fraud.
“We need to be able to ensure that we have a robust fare protection and fare inspection strategy and process and part of that means ensuring that our people have the tools they need to do their job,” Ross said.
As for the uniforms, the proposal would have inspectors wear more “customer friendly” clothing. Ross said it’s not yet clear what the new, friendlier, uniforms would look like.