Full service needed to avoid vehicle crowding and prevent COVID-19 spread

Marginalized communities most impacted by public transit cuts

TORONTO, ONTARIO – Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents Toronto’s 12,000 public transit workers, is calling on the TTC to restore full transit service to reduce vehicle crowding and prevent COVID-19 spread as ridership increases.

“Public transit workers are reporting regular overcrowding on more TTC routes, putting themselves and riders at risk of catching coronavirus,” said Carlos Santos, ATU Local 113 President. “Toronto needs more TTC vehicles on the road to keep up with demand while providing as much physical distancing as possible.”

In an official report (page 40) from May 13, 2020 outlining the TTC’s response to COVID-19, the TTC said it will require 100 per cent service when ridership reaches 30 per cent of pre pandemic levels.

The TTC’s bus ridership level is already at 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, yet it is operating with 85 per cent service. With more Torontonians commuting in Stage 3, and with students returning to classrooms in September, TTC ridership across the system will increase further.

“The TTC must live up to its commitment and take action now to prevent overcrowding and protect public health,” said Carlos Santos. “The TTC can start addressing overcrowding by bringing back the 450 frontline workers it laid off in June.”

A troubling reality is the continued reduced service and overcrowding on many TTC routes have a disproportionate affect on marginalized communities.

“TTC routes serving marginalized communities in Toronto tend to be the most overcrowded and appear to correspond to Toronto’s COVID-19 hotspots,” said Carlos Santos. “The TTC must take immediate action to ensure those in underserved communities have access to proper public transit with as much physical distancing as possible.”

ATU Local 113 welcomes the safe return of TTC riders, including students. With more riders using the system, we must reinstate full service while having riders follow public health guidelines, including wearing face coverings on the TTC.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, ATU Local 113 has led the fight for basic protections for workers and riders on the TTC. Overcoming strong initial pushback from the TTC and Toronto Public Health, ATU Local 113 fought for and secured the choice for TTC workers to wear face masks on the job, mandatory face coverings for TTC riders and increased physical distancing measures across the transit system.

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