- Apr 28, 2007
- Reaction score
A good summation of the challenges and nuance of interpretation and enforcement of the bylaws. I suggest we start with the more binary, black and white ones.That's not a good thing at all. Much of the TTC bylaw is so vague and underwritten that it would be more useful as toilet paper than a guide for how to behave on the transit system.
The bylaw should clearly and concisely define behaviours which are unacceptable. Leaving it open on any level to interpretation is a problem for everyone: for those doing the enforcing, whose job should not be to interpret various provisions in the bylaw, and for those upon whom the bylaw is being enforced, who may be the victim of unreasonable interpretations of the bylaw from tin pot dictators.
Let's take a look at each of the stipulations you have outlined:
No argument here, though the enforcement of this can only get you so far. If someone is homeless and doesn't have the means to pay, booting them out of the vehicle just means that they will get on the next one. Repeat ad nauseam.
Again, no argument here.
I am grouping these two stipulations together, because they could both be reasonably interpreted as attempting to forbid the congregation of homeless people on the system.
I am sure no one actively celebrates the presence of homeless people on the system and wishes that they would get the services and care that they require, the reality of the situation is quite a bit messier than that. We have a city that has completely and utterly failed to deal with the homeless crisis in any reasonable way, so if you boot these people off without having a clearly defined location for them to go, they'll just go there, instead. At best, it might mean more homeless encampments in parks - at worst, it could mean that someone who might have otherwise survived would freeze to death in the streets. And before you have a go at me for being a bleeding heart liberal, I'm fairly certain it is in everyone's interests, no matter how little sympathy they have to the plight of the homeless, to not find a frozen body on the street. So it's hard for me to actively support the enforcing of these bylaws, provided the person is not otherwise threatening the well being of other passengers, until such time as this goddamned city gets its shit together.
The other problem is that 3.24 is, outside of this context of interpretation, a completely worthless provision that says nothing and achieves nothing. What is defined as loitering, and on what grounds is that a problem?
If someone is waiting for a friend on the subway platform and doesn't board the first train that is available to them, is that considered loitering? A railfan who idles on a platform longer than the average person in search of a specific vehicle to photograph or ride could almost certainly be interpreted as loitering, but only a complete moron would actually think that booting that person off the transit system is in any way justifiable.
Maybe 3.24 should be rewritten: "No person shall, unless they have reasonable grounds to believe there is a threat to life or property, stick their nose into other people's business."
Could theoretically have some weight to it, but is too vague. If a friend of mine shows me something on their phone and I reply with "oh shit", well, that's quite a bit different than someone who is not of sound mind uttering curses and threats towards those around them, is it not? But this provision makes no attempt to distinguish between the two.
No argument from me on indecent behaviour. "Offensive" behaviour, or "behaving in a manner which would interfere with the ordinary enjoyment of persons using the transit system" is, again, far too vague to be of any value at all.
What constitutes this behaviour? If you get down to the nitty gritty of it, there are a lot of passengers who may be offended at the otherwise harmless actions of another person that could theoretically have a grievance under this provision, so it needs to be made much less vague in order for it to be of any use.
If a devout Christian sees a person with a pentagram t-shirt board their train, should they have the right to demand that person be booted off the train? If a devout religious person of almost any faith sees a woman wearing "provocative clothing" such as exposed ankles, hair, or midriff, that causes them offence, should their grievance take priority over the right of that woman to dress how she pleases? If someone looks over their shoulder and sees the person next to them watching a tv show which may depict violence, should their grievance be heard out? Or should all of them fall under my much improved revision of 3.24?
I am not a fan of provision f) and I think that it is mindless word salad that says nothing at all. At the very least, modifying the provision to state "...manner which could reasonably interfere with..." should be a requirement.
Neither of these provisions adds anything new that hasn't already been mentioned.
I don't respect the TTC bylaw, because it is vague and extraordinary unhelpful. Paul has brought up several examples of situations which are not black and white and the enforcement of which could have dubious value. Rather than insisting that the rules are the rules, the bylaw should be rewritten in a way that is clear, concise, understands the nature of human behaviour and is all around compatible with reality, doesn't waste time persecuting silly imaginary offenses such as loitering, and leaves no room for confusion on the part of anyone, be they passengers or bylaw officers. Then we can push for the TTC to enforce this bylaw.