Fare inspectors have become a common sight on the TTC, particularly on downtown streetcars. But one group has found a way to skirt the system, using an online network to broadcast officers’ whereabouts.
The closed Facebook group “TTC Fare Inspector lookout” boasts more than 1100 members. Members post their sightings of transit officers, though the group warns against sharing photos.
However, the group is no secret to the TTC.
“We monitor online chatter, Reddit and anywhere people are talking about these kinds of things,” says spokesperson Stuart Green. “Fare evasion is against bylaw number one of the TTC. You can get fined $235 or more depending on how frequently you do this.”
While the TTC takes measures to stop fare evasion on the system, there is little it can do to keep users from posting information about their officers online.
“People talking about fare evasion is not necessarily fare evasion ,” explains Green. “We can’t stop conversations, but we can track what kind of conversations they are having,” he says.
Green would not reveal if the TTC makes attempts to shut down pages encouraging the behaviour.
It’s a challenge also faced by police forces in the GTA. While they urge drivers not to post the location of RIDE checks online, the act isn’t illegal.
Green says fare evasion costs the TTC about $20 million annually, and the impacts are felt across the entire system.
“That’s money that could be going to service improvements or new vehicles, so any attempt to evade fare and reduce our revenue impacts service directly,” says Green.
CityNews reached out to the administrator of the closed Facebook group and did not receive a response at the time of publishing.