After years of riding the TTC’s infamous “Vomit Comet” without incident, I finally witnessed someone puking. Then the driver pulled the bus over and kicked everyone off. Is this normal?—Lila McNulty, North York
While not exactly sterile, the Toronto Transit Commission’s Yonge Street bus might not deserve the nickname that generations of soused after-hours patrons have given it. When someone loses their lunch (or the six pints of beer they just downed at the Brunny)—or causes contamination with any other bodily fluids, for that matter—on a TTC vehicle, it’s supposed to be immediately removed from service. The decision to pull a vehicle falls to the driver, but when he or she makes that call, everybody gets booted off and loaded onto the next vehicle that comes along. The policy applies to streetcars and even whole subway trains—without an easy way of decoupling the affected cars, it’s simpler to send the whole train back to the shed for a good scrubbing. Once there, workers in safety garb use industrial disinfectants to attack the mess. In other words, if you find yourself out in the cold at 3 a.m. one fall night, looking for the next bus and cursing the TTC’s infuriating incompetence, console yourself with this thought: the relatively sweet-smelling vehicle that finally does arrive will probably be worth the wait.