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Ford had verbal altercation with streetcar driver: TTC chief

TTC streetcar

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

An exchange between Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and a transit driver Wednesday began after the politician failed to stop his vehicle, the union alleges.

Toronto Transit Commission head Andy Byford said that the mayor called him directly to complain about a streetcar incident. The driver, who has not been publicly identified, was reminded that he is not permitted to leave his seat to speak to motorists.

Mr. Ford's office said they will not comment.

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Bob Kinnear, head of the union that represents TTC workers, said the incident took place Wednesday afternoon on Dundas near McCaul. It is a cramped area where streetcars and other vehicles share two lanes each way. Mr. Kinnear alleges it began when the mayor failed to stop at the open doors of a streetcar.

Under section 166 of the Highway Traffic Act, it is an offence to pass or approach too near streetcars while passengers are boarding or exiting. The doors of Toronto streetcars are decorated with stop signs to remind motorists.

"My understanding is that Mr. Ford did pass open doors of a streetcar and the operator counselled Mr. Ford on the serious safety violation and the potential danger of doing that," Mr. Kinnear said Friday. "From there, my understanding is Mr. Ford contacted the TTC. There was an interview conducted with the employee and the employee was put back to work."

TTC spokesman Brad Ross said Thursday the employee was "counselled" but no further action was taken.

Editor's Note: If you were in the area of Dundas and McCaul streets on Wednesday and witnessed the alleged exchange, e-mail us at community@globeandmail.com

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