TORONTO — TTC management needs to take responsibility for service cuts.

The TTC has chosen to cut service even though there are operators ready, willing, and able to perform the work in question. Rather than provide a schedule with regular and reliable service, TTC CEO Rick Leary has chosen to slash service.

“Rick Leary has sought to shift the blame for his service cuts to alleged absenteeism by TTC employees including operators. This is false,” said Marvin Alfred, President of the TTC’s largest union, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113.  “The TTC has imposed service cuts. These were choices Rick Leary himself made and rubber stamped by the Commissioners and the former Mayor of Toronto.”

In fact, the TTC has always had available vehicles and operators who could be providing additional service. The TTC shifted a large number of operators from scheduled service to sitting in a “spare” pool waiting to be assigned work day-to-day. Instead of cannibalizing the operators’ schedule and assigning work on an ad-hoc basis, the TTC could have and should have, scheduled full service. This ad-hoc approach to service is worse for operators and means worse service for riders.

Leary’s statements are misleading and irresponsible. He appears to be deflecting blame for his service cuts to operators on the front line. It is the front-line workers who have to bear the brunt of public anger over poor service and who are the victims of assaults. This was an irresponsible attempt to shift the blame for these ill-advised service cuts and has the potential to further endanger TTC workers.

“The public expects a frequent scheduled service. TTC workers expect scheduled work to be made available in advance. Cutting service and filling the gaps with a pool of operators with no specific work assignment is poor service as well as contrary to the Collective Agreement between ATU Local 113 and the TTC,” said Marvin Alfred.

“For months, the TTC has artificially inflated its pool of “spare” operators beyond what it needs to cover absences. These workers could and should have been used to provide regular scheduled services. Absenteeism has nothing to do with it. These operators have been available all along, but the TTC chose not to use them for scheduled service.”

The TTC is not being transparent with the public. First, it was refusing to disclose the routes affected by cuts before the budget vote, and now by implying there are too few available operators.

The TTC has the vehicles and the operators available to return to a full-service schedule. The time for that to happen is now.