TORONTO -- It’s not every day Toronto Police get an emergency phone call from passengers on a TTC bus alleging their driver is impaired.
It’s also not every day a TTC bus gets pulled over by flashing lights, it’s driver removed and given a breathalyzer.
Both happened Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Upon receiving a 911 call, police were dispatched along Dawes Rd., near Danforth Ave., after complaints of a bus being operated in an erratic fashion.
“Some riders became concerned when it was travelling down streets that were not on the route,” said a source. “When police arrived, they ... asked the driver to take a breathalyzer test.”
The witness said the driver had asked it be administered away from public view but police conducted it along the street as they would any other routine stop.
“She did not blow over the .08 threshold to be charged with impaired,” said a source. “But she did blow somewhere between the .05 and .08 range so a 72-hour driving suspension was issued.”
Veteran bus driver Margaret Wilson, described to be in her 40s, was not permitted to drive the bus beyond that point.
“The operator is currently suspended by the TTC without pay, pending an internal investigation,” said TTC spokesman Danny Nicholson. “A TTC operator was issued a three-day licence suspension by Toronto Police last Friday afternoon . . . . I cannot say any more, as this is a personnel matter.”
It’s also a safety matter for the passengers on the bus who may have been put in extreme danger, said Mother’s Against Drunk Driving Toronto past president Carolyn Swinson, who lost both her son and father to a drunk driver. “I can’t comment on this case but a person driving a bus, airplane or train needs to be held to a higher standard because there is an extra level of responsibility.”
Saying they will conduct their own investigation, Bob Kinnear, president of Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, drivers understand “at no time should there be any form of intoxication.”