Toronto Ontario - When a Japanese railway company apologized this month for one of its trains departing 20 seconds early, commuters around the world seized on the mea culpa, jokingly taunting their own transit providers for being consistently late.
While rail services in Paris, London, New York, and Toronto were all in the cross hairs, the TTC used the opportunity to reveal a little known courtesy it provides, late notes for commuters delayed by its subways, streetcars, and buses.
The notes, meant to corroborate the stories of tardy workers, are not part of a formal policy, so few know about them.
Metro asked TTC spokesperson Susan Sperling to reveal how they work.
How Do I Get a Note?
Call the TTC's customer-service hotline at 416-393-3030 between 07:00 and 22:00 any day of the week.
What Will the Note Say?
The note will confirm that some kind of service disruption or delay occurred on the TTC and include the date, time, duration, and location of the incident.
Will the Note be Personalized?
Notes from the TTC will not specifically name you, or say that you were late due to a delay, "because we have no way of knowing if you are on the subway," Sperling explained.
How Soon Will my Employer or I Receive the Note?
"If someone called, we would try to turn it around in a day," Sperling said, but if a request is submitted online or by email, it could take up to five days.
How Often Does the TTC Get Asked for These Notes?
"If there has been a service suspension on the subway, we may receive between five and 10 requests that week to confirm the delay," Sperling said. "We can also go weeks without getting any requests."
What Can I Do in Place of a Note?
While your employer may or may not accept it as proof, the TTC provides alerts about delays and other incidents through its Twitter account.
Does GO Transit Have the Same Policy?
No, GO doesn't have a late-note system in place. "We do have On the GO Alerts though, that sends emails and texts to customers explaining that their train or bus is late," said Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins.
"That could be helpful."