The public transit system in Ottawa, we are often reminded, wins all these awards and never misses a chance to tell the public how much ridership has gone up as if people are deciding to ride the bus because it’s so wonderful. Meanwhile, the-public-as-witness displays a video of a driver swearing at, berating and generally bullying a “slightly” autistic teenager… we’re talking the “shut the f^&k up or I’ll ram my fist down your throat.” variety of abuse.
There’s a flurry of incidents… some dumb-ass driver pulls over and bails on the passengers completely because some was asking why he was late… again. Another driver kicks everyone off in the middle of nowhere for some distracted reason. Blah blah blah… some of the 1,600 drivers suck balls. This is no surprise. What is surprising is the way the whole thing is playing out… From the abusive driver getting fired, to the union prez. on the TV complaining that the driver should have been given a desk job and anger management classes.
That’s the prez. who failed to show up at the drivers hearing… the hearing where he got fired. And we have to endure two days of news coverage telling us that abusive-driver-dude lost his wife and father (or mother) to cancer in the last year… LIKE THAT MATTERS. OC Transpo does make a big deal out of their zero-tolerance policy towards passengers that act up in any way … from a pool of millions-of-passengers per year, there are sure to be a few problems. But this is the word of the driver bringing down the axe on anyone they get pissed off at – passes taken away, banned from using the bus, blah blah blah. If you work until you’re 55, chances are one or both of your parents will die. This is no excuse or get-out-of-jail-card for handing out abuse. I understand that management has to expect peaks and valleys in an employees performance over their career, but abuse is abuse is abuse.
These are the same drivers that held the city hostage over the Christmas season a couple of years ago with a ridiculous, protracted, painful dead-of-winter bus strike.
The bottom line … is freak’en easy. Bus drivers are not special. Their only claim to fame is a pain-in-the-ass union. Otherwise, they’re just “employees” and public-purse employees at that. Public employees that serve the public face-to-face absolutely should be held to an above average standard of behaviour… But even forgetting that… if any of the weird ass abusive behaviour that’s getting reported on where to happen in your job, how long before your ass hit pavement out front?