An abysmal showing by the TTC

Fractured TTC logo

TTC Fail

For the second time in nearly 12 years, I lost my public transit pass.  When I went to get a replacement, I discovered I had to buy a new one at full price, and I had to buy it from dull-witted people who treated me with contempt.

This is an open letter to the TTC, which I will also sent directly to them.

Some time on May 13th or 14th, I lost my Metropass, the monthly public transit pass in Toronto.  I didn’t notice till Monday the 16th.  So as soon as I could get away from work, I headed up to the Davisville Station, where the TTC offices are, and where I last went to get a replacement.

I presented myself at the Metropass office and explained what happened.

I was told the TTC didn’t provide replacements.

I explained that I’d been in once before, many years ago, for the same reason, and that at that time, a replacement was provided without question.

I furthermore explained that as a member of the Metropass Discount Plan, whereby I prepaid for Metropasses annually and the TTC mailed the passes to me each month, they would have records proving that I actually did have a metropass.  (That is, I wasn’t just trying to schmooze a free pass out of them.)

Again, I was told there were no replacements, this time by a (slightly) more senior person who happened to overhear our conversation through the plexiglass divider separating us.  Indeed, they told me that even if I’d had my Metropass stolen, I’d still have to pay full price for a replacement.

I asked why this was so, seeing that any other card I had, from my credit card to my ROM membership card, could be easily replaced with minimal charge.

I was told it wasn’t the same thing.

I asked why, but got only mumbles in reply from the senior staffer.  The junior just grinned stupidly at me. Obviously, his first day on the job.

I then advised them that since the TTC had a monopoly on public transit, I had no choice to buy a new one.

I was then told I had to buy one at full price – even though we’re already half-way through the month.

I asked why that was.

I was told that was just the way it was.

Clearly, I was dealing with the intellectual elite here.

Irritating though it was, I told them I needed one, and paid with my debit card.  They filled out a ridiculously long form, then took it into another room.

After a couple of minutes, yet another beancounter came out and asked me for my debit card because they would refund the cost as an act of “customer service.”

I guess my thanks didn’t gush out fast enough, because after I tossed by debit card back through the slot in the plexiglass, the third beancounter said “You’re welcome.”


I then told her to give me back my debit card, and that I would rather pay full fare rather than them for doing only doing their jobs, and doing it poorly.  I also told them that the money was entirely irrelevant, and that my displeasure hinged on two points: that the staff were clearly automata programmed to hold customers in contempt, and that the policy of not replacing lost Metropasses was entirely idiotic.

I do not want an apology.  An apology accepted is only permission to make the same mistake again.

I want the staff who treated me so poorly to be publicly reprimanded, and I want the policy regarding the replacement of lost Metropasses changed.

Let’s be clear: they know I had a current Metropass, because I participate in the MDP program.  The technology does exist to invalidate a Metropass (they have mag stripes), so they can cancel a Metropass. Well, the TTC may not be able to with their extant equipment, but it is possible; and they should have thought of this.

Not being one to complain unconstructively, let me suggest the following new policy.  The principle here is that, while I may not care about the cost of replacing a lost Metropass every few years, I do know that there are many other people who are not as financially well off as me; I can imagine there exist many people for whom the cost of an extra Metropass would be quite a significant burden.


Any participant in the MDP program should be entitled to one free replacement Metropass every five years or so.  (I don’t know the rate at which Metropasses are lost or stolen; the five year period might have to be changed depending on what that data says.)

Furthermore, any participant in the MDP program should be entitled to a replacement Metropass at any time, such that its cost covers only the remaining time in that month.  So, in my case, I would have paid only 50% of the full price because we’re already halfway through May.  Even that is a financial penalty to me, because, counting the lost or stolen card, one would have paid 150% of the regular price for one month’s service.  Still, one must be willing to pay for one’s fares, and one cannot use the lost or stolen card for that.

Note that I pose this policy only for MDP participants, because these are the only customers the TTC can prove have a current Metropass.

In these days of high-tech computerization of damned near everything, it is a trivial task to calculate the cost of a Metropass for whatever amount of time is left in the current month.  It’s not rocket science.

But perhaps it is beyond the brain trust at the TTC.

As I mentioned earlier, the TTC has a monopoly on public transit in Toronto, so there isn’t much else I can do but use it.

But I’m only going to do it gritting my teeth in disgust from now on.


16 thoughts on “An abysmal showing by the TTC

  1. Here’s my “rant” at the TTC.

    If there was another alternative that was cleaner and cheaper compared to the TTC i would have chosen that (not cycling/walking).

    I’m disappointed at their service half of the time.

    I see many people working minimum wages with several times the stress and workload, they still provide a happy smiling face with great customer service…

    at least 1/3 of the TTC drivers i have witnessed, present an ego that the riders are stupid and inferior and they loathe their jobs.

    getting paid decently, i don’t understand how half of them are “grumpy” or can “DRIVE PASS YOU” when you are standing right at the stop.

  2. There are many factors influencing the behaviour of individuals. It also seems that there’s a disconnect between the those who work on the subway and those who work on the buses. It seems like the surface vehicles have more problems. It may just be probability – one has a greater chance to interact with the driver on a surface vehicle than on a subway.

    It’s true that the TTC needs help. The new trains are a good step in the right direction. But ultimately, its employees have to give a fuck. And too many of them don’t. Rob the Slob Ford isn’t helping matters.

  3. its not ttc fault or problem you lost or had your pass stolen. unlike rom memberships and credit cards, mertopass are not able to be cancelled and re issued. the pass you lost was valid for the rest of the month and was probably being used by whoever found it or stole it from you.

    montreal uses the opus card fare system. much more affordable than ttc and if you loose your card it can be cancelled and the balance is replaced from the time its cancelled.

    • It’s not their fault I lost my card – correct.
      It is their fault, however, that they have not been able to predict that this would happen – generally, I’m sure many people lose their cards each year – and designed a system whereby those cards can be made immediately invalid and new ones issued quickly and with minimal grief to the systems users.
      Furthermore, it is their fault that they treated me so poorly.
      Are there better systems? Of course there are. So why is the TTC still using this entirely inadequate one? I know with absolute certainty that even the metropass system could be altered to work better. That is, switching to an entirely new system is not the only course of action.
      My arguments stand.

  4. It sounds like you have a lot of anger and contempt for these people, even though they offered to give you a new card for free.

    Apparently, rather than accept that solution, you’d rather create all sorts of drama.

    • Dear Hehe, you simpering idiot.
      This is not a question of drama. This is a question of customer service. I hold up my part of the agreement, yet they feel that they can abuse that relationship – with any customer – is sickening. It undermines trust in public institutions and weakens society. If you understood anything about systems dynamics, you would understand this to be true.
      I have no patience with ignoramuses like you, so fuck off and don’t come back to this blog, you useless prat. I’ll block you if you do.

  5. This archaic dinosaur of a system that the ttc uses is put to shame by the transit system in Hull Quebec of all places!! I lived in Hull for many years and they actually have registered passes so if you loose one you have it automatically replaced! Sure there are subways and street cars and buses here however the customer service here is abysmal if we have to spend $133 a month then there should be some sort of system in play to assist those who have had their pass stolen or lost!!! Get your sh*t together ttc because right now it’s extremely aggravating dealing with your archaic system!! Also it might be wise to have a system of chartered buses on routes that have high schools on them as it is next to impossible to get to work and deal with these ass hole kids!

    • The performance of the TTC is not just the TTC’s doing. People essentially get what they vote for. So long as people in the GTA keep voting in morons, and so long as Big Business continues to so easily buy influence (municipally as well as provincially and federally), the TTC will suffer – and that means its riders will suffer too.

  6. I’d have taken the $$$ and run. There were two possible outcomes here: You got treated like crap, but got a refund. You got treated like crap and you refused/didn’t get the refund. You chose the latter. Why? Makes no sense. See the constant? “You got treated like crap” — that will NEVER change with these overpaid minions. You are too self righteous. You realize, that will never happen again. Cash strapped TTC will gladly always take your $$$ whenever they can….and treat you like crap.

    • Thank you, Alonzo, for providing a classic example of the fallacy of over-generalization, not to mention the kind of arrogance typically seen by those too ignorant or stupid to know better. Most employees of the TTC are generally good people. I’m in an excellent position to say that, having availed myself of their services for the last 50-ish years. This is not a question of inherent character flaw of humans, as you try to paint it. It is a question of a systemic failure triggered by the flawed actions of a few high- and mid-ranking assholes, a couple of low-level employees who are probably as idiotic as you, and the rank ignorance of the general public – including yourself – to how complex organizational systems work. You don’t even know what “self-righteous” means, because if you did, you would recognize that I was not commenting on behalf of myself, but on behalf of the entire TTC ridership. You, instead, are a bitter and sanctimonious example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

      • You sound angry. Your shitty attitude and over self righteousness is probably why they treated you like crap. You cannot take criticism, you are too perfect. I agree with a an above poster — you would rather create drama. You are probably still loathing the fact that you didn’t accept their refund, and now you bitch about this on some unknown blog……and insult people who stop by and comment on it. You are a miserable a-hole who would for sure if given the chance to switch places with the TTC employee would not give you the refund in that situation. You are probably like that green leprechaun guy on the Pape bus, you cranky old fart.

      • Funny that. I’m just dealing with you as the arrogant, ignorant prat you’ve demonstrated yourself to be. All future comments from your account will be deleted, because life is too short to deal with assholes like you.

  7. Hi Fil,

    Thank you for sharing your experience, as I have just discovered the hard way that Friday evening is the worst possible time to realize you’ve lost your Metropass and the TTC website and twitter “customer service” are less than forthcoming with this kind of information. You indicated that you sent this letter to the TTC. I’m curious if you ever received a response, and if so did they address the fallacies with the implementation of the MDP program that you outlined above? Hopefully one side-effect of the eventuality of Presto Cards being forced upon us will be decent and fair handling of lost/stolen cards, but you never know. As you pointed out, when you’re dealing with a monopoly, they hold all the cards.

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