Why is it big? My guess is that, for many people, the story crystallizes a lot of the issues people have with Rob Ford: his lack of professionalism, including a lack of interest in properly managing the TTC; his seeming treatment of the position of mayor he was elected to fill, instead prioritizing his volunteer work; and so on.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he has "nothing to do" with the fact that two TTC buses stranded their passengers during rush hour last week in order to pick up the high school football team he coaches.
"What bothers me the most is when people were told to get off the bus. I'm all about service. That drives me nuts," Ford told reporters Monday, the first time he spoke directly about the rerouted buses since the incident took place on Thursday.
"I'm as clean as the days are long," said Ford, stressing he "did absolutely nothing wrong."
He said the police called the TTC about the buses, not him.
[. . .]
The controversy began after TTC transit control received a call from police at 3:46 p.m. on Thursday from Toronto police requesting a bus to pick up Don Bosco Eagles students, who had just finished a game against the Crusaders, the football team from Father Henry Carr Secondary School, located at Finch Avenue West and Martingrove Road.
A school bus was scheduled to pick up the Don Bosco players at 4:30 p.m., but the game had ended early at 3:40 p.m. There were reports that a near brawl broke out after a coach and referee had an argument about ending the game before time had run out.
A bus on the busy 36 Finch west route was dispatched to pick up the players after asking passengers to disembark, the TTC said in a statement. But that bus had difficulty finding the school, and so staff sent a second bus from the 46 Martin Grove route.
But some time later, the 36 bus ended up finding the school and the 46 Martin Grove bus was returned to regular service.
At some point, the mayor had left a voicemail for TTC CEO Andy Byford in which he "was simply sharing the police concerns about the delay … he didn’t make any demands, he didn’t put any pressure on Mr. Byford,” said TTC spokesman Brad Ross last week.
Asked why he later placed the call to Byford when a TTC bus didn't show up, Ford said, "Obviously there was a situation. I was assisting the police."