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John Tory to moderate
first of three TTC town hall meetings

‘We want this process to be a platform for a new beginning
of positive relationships,’ union boss Bob Kinnear says

By Kelly Grant

John Tory will moderate the first of three town hall meetings organized by a TTC workers’ union trying to get back in customers’ good graces.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 announced the town halls at the beginning of February, when long-smouldering rider rage erupted over images of booth collectors napping and bus drivers pulling over to buy coffees and use bank machines.

“We want this process to be a platform for a new beginning of positive relationships between transit users and workers,” said Bob Kinnear, the president of Local 113. “We are tired of the negative and unproductive ‘us v. them’ climate.

The first town hall meeting will take place April 11 at Downsview Secondary School near Keele Street and Wilson Avenue. Rogers television will air it live. The second town hall will be April 18 at Stephen Leacock Collegiate in Scarborough and the third is May 2 at the Ryerson Library downtown.

All the venues accommodate more than 300 people. Mr. Kinnear and four TTC workers will join the moderator on a panel, while audience members use voting gizmos to register their opinions instantly on the questions posed.

Mr. Kinnear said neither TTC management nor its board of councillors endorsed the union’s effort. He complained that Local 113, which represents more than 9,000 TTC employees, was shut out of the TTC’s blue-ribbon panel on customer service. However, there is one transit operator, Robert Culling, on the panel, which is expected to submit its final report at the end of June.

“We were very, very concerned with the direction of the panel,” Mr. Kinnear said. “There is some concern from our organization that this panel may be somewhat politically motivated and we want to stay away from that.”