Transit workers call TTC to restore full service as ridership increases

Aug 12 2020, 10:21 am

A Toronto transit union is calling for the TTC to restore full service as ridership increases.

On Wednesday, ATU Local 113, which represents 12,000 public transit workers, says the TTC must restore full service to prevent vehicle crowding and therefore virus spread.

“Public transit workers are reporting regular overcrowding on more TTC routes, putting themselves and riders at risk of catching coronavirus,” said Carlos Santos, ATU Local 113 President in a statement.

“Toronto needs more TTC vehicles on the road to keep up with demand while providing as much physical distancing as possible.”

A report, released in May, said that TTC will have full service when ridership reaches 30% pre-pandemic levels.

However, TTC spokesperson Stuart Green told Daily Hive that for months the transit commission has said that full service will only be restored when ridership reaches 50%.

“As of yesterday, we are at 35%,” Green said.

The transit union’s statistics reported that ridership is up 40% with service at 85% capacity.

The need for full services comes as Toronto is now in Stage 3 of reopening, and with students returning to classrooms in September, transit ridership is projected to increase further.

“The TTC must live up to its commitment and take action now to prevent overcrowding and protect public health,” Santos said. “The TTC can start addressing overcrowding by bringing back the 450 frontline workers it laid off in June.”

The union added that reduced service and overcrowding disproportionately affects marginalized communities, with the most use of transit occurring in COVID-19 hotspots.

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