TORONTO, ONTARIO – (December 2, 2019) – With Toronto commuters forced today to evacuate the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) Line 2 through a smoke-filled tunnel due to a track-level fire at Dundas West Station, Toronto’s transit union is raising public safety concerns about the TTC’s plan to reduce the number of train crews.

Despite the risk of emergencies happening metres below ground, as seen today, the TTC continues to move forward with its destructive plan to reduce two-person subway train crews to single-operator trains on Line 1 Yonge-University in late 2022. The TTC already operates single-operator trains on Line 4 Sheppard.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents nearly 12,000 public transit workers, is sounding the alarm that eliminating the important subway guard position creates an unnecessary public safety hazard by having fewer trained workers on each train who can assist and direct riders to safety during emergencies, as witnessed today with the Line 2 evacuation.

“Toronto’s transit workers are thankful nobody was injured in today’s underground emergency,” said Carlos Santos, President of ATU Local 113. “This subway tunnel emergency is an important reminder that having just one worker onboard a subway train – often crammed with hundreds of riders – is unsafe for the public. The TTC must prioritize safety over cost cutting.”

ATU Local 113 is calling on the TTC to reinstate and maintain two-person crews on each train across Toronto’s subway system.

“It’s a no-brainer,” says Carlos Santos. “Keeping two trained workers on each train is safer than having just one operator working alone at the front of a long subway train.”

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