The safety of Toronto streetcar users was protected when its Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) properly informed the public of braking system damage on 25 of its units. This quick action should be applauded and it demonstrates how persons responsible for public safety should function. CP24 News in Toronto should also be applauded for its covering of the story.
This could easily have been an example where the TTC could have hidden the results of their inspections. Such decisions toward secrecy have spelt disaster for the City of Hamilton where its decisions to hide problems will likely lead to millions of dollars in legal fees and fines. The fact that TTC inspectors could not find the source that was causing the damage to its streetcars could have led to their concern that somehow they could be blamed – and such a defensive reaction can lead to secrecy. Instead they took the high road, informing the public that they are working on the problem while also taking the damaged streetcars out of circulation.
What if the TTC had not informed the public and there was a tragic accident resulting in injuries and possibly deaths? That is not a farfetched possibility. A large streetcar filled with many passengers perhaps leaving the track and striking pedestrians in downtown Toronto? Is that not a realistic possibility? The results could have been catastrophic. And there is no guarantee that something like this might not happen sometime in the future. But the vastly more important matter is “Due Diligence” – the fact that despite a tragedy, a public entity such as the TTC did all that it could to prevent the tragedy. How could we possibly blame the TTC if it did all that it could yet a tragedy still took place? That is far better than hiding the problem because the source could not be found.
It seems the City of Hamilton, and its lawyers, took that route of secrecy when it was revealed this week that they had known that its sewage was being dumped into a city creek but did everything to hide the extent of the problem. Are these the kinds of persons that should be employed to run the operations of systems that could kill someone, or kill many? Are these the persons we would want to run the operations of an organization such as the TTC?
This is where public recognition of the proper actions of the TTC needs to be highlighted. We congratulate the TTC and Toronto for doing the proper and ethical thing, preventing a disaster and protecting the public as they should.