“The operators and maintenance workers at the Toronto Transit Commission are simply amazing,” said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 President Carlos Santos.
“I am extremely proud of all the ATU members who worked tirelessly and in dangerous conditions to deliver public transit to the citizens of Toronto. Our maintenance workers went above and beyond to keep the stations accessible and free of water and snow. One bus operator said that driving in extreme winter conditions ‘felt like a rescue operation’, which in many ways it was.”
“The Birchmount garage had over 30 buses stuck in the snow. Three technicians spent nearly four hours digging out 14 buses in order to get them back into the garage for the morning service. Each of these buses were dug out of snow using a good old-fashioned shovel because they were plowed in by snow plows.”
“What really moved me was hearing from the operators that bystanders, car drivers and passengers were totally supportive. One motorists yelled, ‘not all heroes wear capes!’ toward a bus operator. Its that kind of camaraderie that exemplifies how important the TTC is to Torontonians.
“The main reason why ATU workers and riders can band together in such adverse conditions is because we have an integrated system, subways, street cars and buses, and our maintenance and operations and part of the same local system. If we break that up, like what the provincial government is intent on doing, we will not be able to deal with extreme weather emergencies in the same way.”
“If the province steals the subway from the City of Toronto, we cannot guarantee the next time there is a weather emergency, we will be as coordinated and ready.”
Carlos Santos, President of ATU Local 113, is available for comment on this issue.