A Letter to OC Transpo

I don’t normally post about this kind of stuff on here, but as it’s something I wrote and my blog will reach the highest number of people possible, I hope you’ll forgive the intrusion.


To Whom It May Concern,

I wish to make a complaint about one of your drivers. Today (Wednesday May 20th, 2015) he was driving the 1 Ottawa/Rockcliffe at 3:02. It was bus number 5172.

The driver is normally rude and belligerent with passengers. I’ve watched him kick off multiple people for various reasons and even threaten to contact the police against a young adolescent. I realize that bus drivers have a stressful job, but that doesn’t excuse his behaviour.

This afternoon an autistic teenager got on the bus with his caretaker. He noticed a transfer on the ground so picked it up and tried to hand it to the driver. He had really poor motor control so he just kind of threw it at him. You have to understand: this teenager could barely speak, had difficulty walking and no control over his body.

The driver stopped the bus and told the kid and his caretaker to get off the bus. The caretaker explained that he was severely autistic. One of the things he likes to do is clean, so he was trying to be helpful. This was how the rest of their conversation went:

Driver: I don’t care, I don’t like s**t thrown at me.

Caretaker: Look, he has special needs. He’s autistic.

Driver: I don’t f*****g care, I don’t like f*****g s**t thrown at me.

Caretaker: Look, I get it. You deal with people every day. I get that. But you’re not looking at the bigger picture.

Driver: Go sit down.

The caretaker said it wouldn’t happen again.

When they went to get off, the caretaker said “Thank you for letting us stay on the bus.”

The driver made no reply.

I know that drivers have to put up with the public and that many of us can be rude or dismissive of bus drivers. They have to deal with many stressful situations that often bring their lives into danger. They do a job that I wouldn’t and couldn’t do.

However, no one, and I repeat, no one deserves treatment like I witnessed today. It was rude, terribly unprofessional and perhaps one of the meanest things I have ever seen. A special needs child was just happy to take the bus. He wasn’t doing any harm. Neither him nor his caretaker deserved that kind of treatment.

Bus drivers deal with the public on a daily basis. As such, they should treat riders as they would wish to be treated. Drivers are responsible for keeping their passengers safe. How safe do we as riders feel when we witness treatment like that? This is but the most recent in a string of bad behaviour from this driver. My only regret is that it took me so long to say anything.

I know that I will likely not get a response to this letter. To that end, I am posting this letter to my blog, Facebook and Twitter. It is my hope that someone sees this letter and does something about it. My opinion of OC Transpo wasn’t great to begin with, but it fell quite far this afternoon.

Yours truly,

Jamieson Villeneuve

59 Comments on “A Letter to OC Transpo

  1. A bus driver’s profile:
    -enjoy interacting with a diverse range of people
    -have a strong interest in providing a high level of customer service to passengers
    -be a positive and upbeat person even if others are being negative or cynical
    – stay calm even if others around me are getting upset
    – take things in stride and don’t get irritated by small things
    – be direct without becoming confrontational or aggressive
    -be patient with people
    – don’t mind sitting down for long periods of time
    -be organised, punctual and meet deadlines
    – enjoy working by yourself
    – can follow directions and instructions
    -present yourself in a neat and tidy manner, and don’t mind wearing a uniform
    – must have a good sense of humour

    There are a few bus drivers that don’t even meet 50% of the profile and still have a job!!!!!

  2. Kudos to you Jamieson for speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves. As a parent of a wonderful son with special needs (who does travel on the bus) I am so appreciative that you have taken the time to advocate on behalf of the young man and the caregiver. All too often abuse occurs and people just turn the other way. A most sincere thank you! Hopefully appropriate action will be taken by OC Transpo!

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