Saturday, February 19, 2011

OC Transpo driver berates passengers on video

OC Transpo driver berates passengers on video

OC Transpo is investigating one of its drivers after the release of a video that shows him yelling at a passenger for smelling of cigarettes.

The video was shot Monday morning by a passenger on a bus that runs from Kanata to downtown Ottawa. In it, the driver complains that a man on the crowded bus reeks of smoke.

"Yeah, and you're blowing it on me," the driver says. "I have to deal with your stink. You know what I mean? You stink!"

Eventually a woman heads to the front of the bus and threatens to file a complaint.

"You can't mind your own business?" the driver asks the woman.

"Why would I?" the woman responds.

"Why would I?" he says. "Because I'm paid to drive you, not listen to you. So shut your mouth."
Vid doesn't give context: transit chair

The city is investigating the incident.

"This isn't the service that people would expect," said Coun. Tim Tierney, a transit commission member. "But at the same time there is an investigation underway. We don't know all the details."

Coun. Diane Deans, who chairs the commission, said that, "The problem is, in the case of this one, it's a very poor quality video and it doesn't provide any context."

Deans also said it's illegal for people to video or take photos of drivers on buses.

However, the City of Ottawa's transit bylaw states it is legal under some circumstances.

While it says people are not allowed to use cameras or recording devices without written permission, it also says the bylaw does not apply to "any camera, video recording device, movie camera or similar device on a transit vehicle where such operation is for personal use."

OC Transpo drivers had already come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with the service promising to investigate at least two cases of its drivers appearing to use cellphones to send text messages while behind the wheel.

The incident also comes at a tense time for the city and the transit union. The current contract between the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279 and the city expires at the end of March, and the two sides are clashing over scheduling conflicts.