GO Transit cancels dozens of trips as unvaccinated workers placed on leave

Nov 1 2021, 2:11 pm

Metrolinx cancelled dozens of GO Transit bus and train trips on Monday, as the company’s vaccine mandate deadline takes effect.

“We had hoped to avoid all service impacts, but it appears that we will need to cancel a limited number of bus trips and some train trips today and likely the rest of the week as our mandatory vaccination policy comes into effect,” Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins told Daily Hive.

Metrolinx’s vaccine policy, announced in September, requires all employees to submit proof of vaccination by November 1. Any employees who did not show proof of inoculation by then would be placed on unpaid leave.

An overwhelming majority of employees submitted proof before the deadline, with just 2-3% of the company’s 4,600 staff being placed on leave. Of those who had submitted proof,  95.4% are fully vaccinated, 2.6% are partially vaccinated, and 2% are unvaccinated. Although the number of partially vaccinated and unvaccinated workers is small, Aikins says it’s enough to have an impact.

“Given the high percentage of our workforce already vaccinated, we do not anticipate a widespread reduction in services at this point. However, given there are some staff absences expected as of November 1, it will be necessary to cancel approximately 6% of 1,417 daily bus trips,” Aikins said. “There may also be intermittent train trips cancelled as crews are not available.”

Metrolinx will select which GO Transit trips to cancel based on whether routes have low ridership. Other bus and rail options will be available. As of Monday morning, the 10:40 am Mount Pleasant GO Train to Union Station, the 11:53 am Union Station to Aurora GO Train, and the 4:38 pm Union Station to Bradford GO Train had been cancelled. One bus in each direction on the Union Station-Milton GO route was cancelled, as well as the 9:15 bus from Brantford Bus Terminal to Aldershot GO.

“Customers are encouraged to plan ahead, check the website for service updates before leaving home and sign up for On The GO alerts,” Aikins said. “We will communicate any impacts to services regularly with customers.”

Metrolinx and Alstom — the manufacturer who supplies the train crews — are already working to hire new staff to fill in the gaps.

Laura HanrahanLaura Hanrahan

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