Operators and riders on 540 TTC buses left stranded in snowstorm

TORONTO, ONTARIO –Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents close to 12,000 TTC workers, is calling on the TTC to implement a service plan to effectively manage snowstorms after its disastrous snowstorm response that left hundreds of TTC workers, riders and vehicles stranded across Toronto on January 17.

“While the TTC doesn’t control the weather, the snowstorm revealed major gaps in how the TTC deals  with severe winter weather conditions,” said Marvin Alfred, ATU Local 113 President. “To protect workers and riders, ATU Local 113 calls on the TTC to be better prepared for snowstorms by implementing a service plan in which vehicle accumulation levels are assessed and a hazardous service level is determined. Once that level is reached, the TTC must pause service to allow road crews to plow roads so buses and streetcars can keep Torontonians moving safely. The TTC can and should do better.”

As a result of the TTC’s lack of planning, many workers and riders on 540 vehicles were left stranded on roads for eight to 10 hours yesterday. The TTC’s communication system was ineffective. Calls from trapped operators were left unanswered.  Many of the 540 buses left stranded in the snow had passengers who rely on transit to keep them safe and get them where they need to go.

These issues are regular occurrences when a snowstorm passes through Toronto. Many buses get stuck on hills at York Mills Road, Avenue Road and other locations across the city. These are known areas that are affected by poor weather conditions and create hazards for operators and riders.

The TTC often says that safety is a top priority. These words need to turn into actions to demonstrate that worker and public safety are paramount.

“The TTC’s lack of a proper contingency plan that addresses impact, order and risk mitigation is concerning and unacceptable, especially for a major city like Toronto that depends on public transit,” said Marvin Alfred. “ATU Local 113 members and our riders, who depend on safe and reliable service, must be the TTC’s top priority.”

ATU Local 113 would like to thank the people of Toronto who brought food and water to TTC workers who were stuck in these weather conditions.

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