September 24th, 2019

NDP transit critic calls on Ford government to put cameras on streetcars

TORONTO — NDP Transit critic Jessica Bell has released a public letter co-signed by City Councillor Mike Layton and community and road safety organizations calling on the Ford government to use safety cameras on streetcars in order to catch drivers speeding past open streetcar doors.

“Everyone in our community, including children, seniors, and people with accessibility challenges, have a right to feel safe when exiting transit vehicles. Right now, our streets don’t feel very safe,” said MPP Bell.

This morning, MPP Bell gathered at Bathurst station with streetcar driver Peter Reinhardt and representatives from the groups TTCRiders, Walk Toronto and Friends and Families for Safe Streets. Last week, a passenger was injured while exiting the streetcar when a dump truck driver failed to stop behind the streetcar’s open doors, as required by law. The stop on the 511 streetcar route is located close to both King Edward Elementary School and Central Technical School.

In April, the Ford government promised to regulate the use of safety cameras on school buses to better identify and penalize drivers who fail to stop beside a school bus. However, this law was not extended to include transit vehicles. MPP Bell is calling on the government to allow the same measures for streetcars. Cameras on streetcars could be used to identify and penalize drivers illegally passing open streetcar doors.

The issue will also be addressed at this afternoon’s TTC Board Meeting, where TTC Chair Jaye Robinson will introduce a motion supporting the use of streetcar cameras for the enforcement of traffic violations.

“Forty-one pedestrians and cyclists were killed or seriously injured on Toronto’s roads last year. Permitting the use of safety cameras on streetcars for the purposes of enforcement is a sensible way to reduce injuries and fatalities for transit users,” Bell said.