Transit riders deserve better than Liberal “Buck-a-ride” election stunt

Steven Del Duca may mean well, but needs to do some homework if he wants to be taken seriously.

Yesterday, Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca promised to reduce all transit fares in Ontario to $1 until January 2024. Local 113 is always happy to see transit service be an important issue. Unfortunately, this is not a serious policy proposal. It is a cheap gimmick by someone who should know better. He was, after all, Kathleen Wynne’s Minister of Transportation.

This proposal, however, is just an election stunt. Here’s why:

  • It fails existing riders. This plan is targeting suburban commuters and will do nothing to improve service or reduce crowding on TTC today.
  • It fails at basic math. They say it will cost $700M-$1.1B But TTC alone would need $600M of new subsidy. And that’s before expanding service for all the new riders. And other transit agencies need much bigger subsidies.
  • It’s unfair to local trips. GO riders could get $10-15 a ride subsidy. Which means that working people in sustainable urban neighbourhoods get far less advantage than wealthy commuters is exurban sprawl.
  • It is sudden and temporary – which may cause long-term damage. Transit systems will have to expand service to meet demand. When the subsidy expires municipalities will either be stuck with the cost or have to shrink their networks and park all the new vehicles.

Transit is far too serious an issue to be used to score cheap political points. The only way to build a transit network is through dedicated, long-term operational funding.

PHOTOS: May Day 2022

It was great marching on Queen’s Park with ATU Local 113 members, ATU Canada and our union allies as part of the May Day Rally for change. Ontario works because we do!

Update from President Marvin Alfred on Bloor-Yonge Subway Platform Incident

Sisters and Brothers,

As you are all aware, an unfortunate incident took place on Sunday, April 17 at the Bloor-Yonge subway station. A suspect pushed a passenger onto the tracks causing her to narrowly avoid being hit by a train while suffering serious injuries. Fortunately, the victim is now in stable condition, and we continue to wish her a quick and full recovery.

Thankfully, the suspect has now been arrested and charged with attempted murder.

Tragic instances such as these often result in trauma that can never be forgotten for the victims, onlookers, and TTC workers. With the rising rates of assaults and crimes on the TTC, it’s something our ATU Local 113 members must deal with far too often. I would like to acknowledge the incredible bravery and diligent efforts of the platform guard and subway operator who were working on Sunday evening. They were the ones who noticed and responded to the victim, evacuated the platform, and alerted emergency services. Thank you for your dedicated service. And thanks to all ATU Local 113 members who respond to incidents each day to help their fellow citizens.

The TTC must do more to support our members through these traumatic experiences. Our membership should not have to repeatedly fight for their benefits and medical care.  The TTC must take immediate action on this important issue for the safety of our members and the riding public.

In solidarity,
Marvin Alfred

VIDEO: CP24 Interview with ATU Local 113 President Marvin Alfred

ATU Local 113’s President Marvin Alfred was on a CP24 panel discussion last night with TTCrider’s Executive Director. They covered the unfortunate incident that took place at the Bloor- Yonge subway platform on Sunday evening.

Questions were asked about the role of platform guards, and what the TTC can do to prevent violence.

Marvin’s message was clear – platform guards do incredible work and are essential to the functionality of the TTC. Marvin also emphasized that the TTC needs to do more to protect passengers and transit workers from assault.

Click the link to watch: Critics say TTC needs better safeguards | CP24.com

VIDEO: ATU Local 113 President Marvin Alfred Addresses TTC Board Regarding Assaults

 

ATU Local 113 has and continues to be a strong advocate for protecting our workers from violence and assault on the job.

In March 2022, the TTC CEO Report found that the number of offences against TTC employees in Q3 2021 was 243 and in Q4 2021 was 208, which represents offences against employees of more than 2x per day.

These numbers are daunting, and it’s a reality many of our members have to face daily. No one should go to work in fear.

Today during the Toronto Transit Commission Board Meeting, a Motion was brought forward entitled ‘Working Together to Address Transit Worker Assaults’. The recommendations proposed can be found here. At a high-level ATU Local 113 proposes all levels of government work with the union to develop a national framework.

The Motion was tabled by Councillor Jaye Robinson and seconded by Councillor Jennifer McKelvie.

Our President, Marvin Alfred spoke to the Board. The 10 minute deputation included positive feedback, a Q&A, support from TTC Staff and Commissioners, and the successful passing of a Motion showing our efforts to get the TTC and the Commission to begin to address transit workers’ abuse. A video of the deputation can be found above.

Marvin Alfred said, in part, “TTC has acknowledged the incidents have been increasing throughout the pandemic with offences against employees doubling and those against customers nearly tripling. But what hasn’t been determined is why the assaults are increasing. I proposed the idea of a Motion to Councillor Robinson, as I felt the TTC could do more. I’m happy to report she agreed. So, we’re here with the beginning of a strategy to make our transit system even safer.”

ATU Local 113 Statement on Puthandu

Today, ATU Local 113 wishes a happy new year to the Tamil community as they embark upon new beginnings. We hope you are able to celebrate with your family, friends, and loved ones. Iniya Puthandu Nalvazhthukkal.

May Day Rally – May 1, 2022

Please mark May 1 down in your calendars! ATU Local 113 is inviting all members and supporters to join us at Toronto Coach Terminal, 610 Bay Street to march on Queen’s Park for the 2022 May Day Rally.

Together with other union activists, we’ll fight for a better Ontario including against the privatization of public transit. See the poster below for details.

May Day Poster - Toronto - Co-branded with ATU 113

ATU Local 113 Condemns War in Ukraine

ATU Local 113 joins the global union movement by standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and calls for an end to military aggression through a diplomatic solution.

We condemn any violence against civilians and call for an end to all armed conflict. We also call on all workers, government officials and leaders to join us by unequivocally condemning war in Ukraine and supporting the people impacted by the Russian invasion.

Many of our union brothers and sisters, including ATU Local 113 members here in Toronto, have friends and family impacted by this horrific conflict. For them this is personal and heartbreaking, and we offer all our support. Our thoughts are also with our brothers and sisters in the Ukrainian unions whose lives have been put at risk by this senseless and illegal war.

We have all heard and seen stories of courage, compassion, love, and solidarity as the affected communities come together to care for each other and protect the most vulnerable among them. Our response in Canada should be moved by the same generous spirit and be grounded in our common humanity.

In solidarity,

Marvin Alfred
President, ATU Local 113