To Rick Ducharme, TTC general managerMr. Ducharme,
I write to offer my sincerest apologies for all the trouble I've caused the system recently by staying out too late.
One night coming home from the Hard Rock Café, I got off the subway at Bathurst station a few minutes past 1 am and was told by a driver that I had missed the last wheelchair-accessible bus.
Now, this was quite a surprise, since I understood accessible service was supposed to be available on Bathurst up to and including the last bus that leaves the station, at 1:38 am.
The collector inside called transit control, and they arranged to send me a Wheel-Trans bus. When the driver arrived, he informed me that he had just finished his shift and pulled into the yard on Commissioners Street when they sent him back out for me. In addition to paying him an hour of overtime, a Wheel-Trans dispatcher had to remain on duty until the driver returned to base.
The next week, I arrived at the station just past midnight only to encounter another inaccessible bus. I went to the collector to find out when an accessible bus would arrive, but he refused to help, saying that he and the inspectors had had just about enough of me. The nerve of me turning up at a bus stop and expecting to get onboard. Sorry for the trouble.
At this point, I became angry and told him that instead of sitting in his booth scratching bingo tickets (which he was doing), why didn't he do his fucking job? He walked out and said he didn't care whether or not I was in a wheelchair, he should come over and smack me. Eventually, a bus arrived that I could get on.
But the following night it all happened again. I arrived after 1 am and was told by a driver that the last accessible bus had left 10 minutes earlier. I didn't want to go back to that collector, for obvious reasons, so the driver radioed for another bus for me, holding up his own passengers (sorry, folks, but I need a ride, too). Eventually, a driver with a low-floor bus who had just finished her shift on Lansdowne was called to get me.
Of course, I could stop aggravating the staff and take Wheel-Trans all the time. At $26 an average trip, $24 paid by the public, this, Mr. Ducharme, isn't really your best option. Nor mine. If I want to leave concerts when they end, I need to use conventional transit. Cheaper for you and more convenient for me. A win-win. Supposedly.
But here you are paying drivers overtime -- money not well spent when the TTC is facing a funding crisis -- just because you aren't delivering what you promise.
Just so I can understand your point of view, I called your spokesperson, Marilyn Bolton. "If a route is accessible, it should have accessible buses," she tells me. "The only time you will see buses on that route that aren't accessible is during rush hours. Any bus coming in at the end of the day would," she says before correcting herself, "should be accessible, outside of some unusual thing happening."
Once again, I'm truly sorry, Mr. Ducharme, for all the troubles my late nights out have caused the TTC, particularly at a time when you keep running into "unusual things happening." I promise to be a better boy.