This is a visual metaphor.
Toronto’s transit cops are evidently the Homer Simpsons of the Canadian transit enforcement game. If you haven’t heard the massively important news yet, five transit cops were arrested for a little trick they like to call “not actually doing our fucking jobs whatsoever.” It seems that these noble men of the law would be showing up to work in uniform but “not where they said they were.” Then they would just write up a bunch of fake tickets, instead of actually enforcing the rules of the TTC, and make them out to homeless people who clearly had no homes to mail the tickets to.
According to Metro News, four of the Homer Simpson cops were actually on some kind of “sunshine list” which means that each of them made over $100,000 a year. If you go by this citizen’s sunshine list spreadsheet, Toronto’s sunshine employees accounted for $131 million in salaries during 2011. Suck in those sun rays for a second. Four TTC employees, who were literally doing nothing every day while playing make believe in TTC cop uniforms, were sucking nearly half a million dollars out of the transit system. Maybe Rob Ford’s gravy train campaign isn’t totally dumb after all? Either way, this news makes me feel about 0% bad for every time I didn’t pay for the TTC after catching a toll collector snoozin’.
The TTC has not been without its share of strange and violent incidents, so the system does need some people who are walking around patrolling the streetcars and subways instead of ripping bongs in their car while masturbating and writing fake tickets. Just yesterday, a woman was charged with “hitting and spitting on a TTC driver.” In November, a TTC driver was reprimanded for chasing down a sexual assault suspect, and then was later reinstated, even though the Toronto police had no record of the sexual assault even happening in the first place. In addition to possibly imaginary sexual assault cases, there was that arsonist in 2009 who decided to set a TTC bus on fire, an incident that was caught on camera. Plus, let’s not forget that there were as few as 8 and as many as 22 suicides on the TTC annually between 1998 and 2007.
Suicides, arsonists, sexual assaults, and sleepy toll collectors aside, the fact that these fake police officers were pretending to work by relying on their mental rolodexes of hobo names just to make it seem like they were doing their job is very strange. Who came up with this plan? And why did this act of “professional” self-sabotage not seem like it was totally going to blow up in everyone’s faces, like it just did? Also, even though the homeless people were never actually hit with the tickets, isn’t it a pretty cruel way to get by doing nothing? At the very least, it doesn’t sit right on a symbolic level. More than that though, the TTC does not ticket homeless people as a rule. Pick on someone with a house, imaginary police officers!
The TTC has never really had a strong public image, and fuck-ups like this are certainly not helping whatsoever. In many ways, we’re far behind the world’s greatest people moving systems in terms of technology and reliability, and having a bunch of make believe cops doodling phony tickets and taking their sunshine salaries away from tax-payers just pours salt in the crappy transit wound that is growing every so steadily.
Want more coverage of Toronto politics from VICE?