TTC service disruptions kick in as workers face discipline

Dozens of bus route, a subway line, and a streetcar route will have slowdowns

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An advocacy group says transit users are being taken for a ride with all the TTC service reductions.

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“We think that it is really unfair to make transit users pay the price of transit underfunding,” said Shelagh Pizey-Allen of the group TTCriders .

She said service is being scaled back on 57 bus routes, the Bloor-Danforth subway line, and the  St. Clair streetcar route.

“People who use transit every day are more likely to be essential workers, racialized, women, and it’s unfair,” Pizey-Allen said.

With more than 1,200 workers facing unpaid leave for not following vaccination policy, the TTC said adjustments have been made to protect service on higher-volume routes.

“We are continuing to prioritize our busiest corridors during our busiest times and today, in spite of the changes, we are delivering 97% of last Sunday’s scheduled service,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary.

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“We are focused on providing reliable, dependable service to our customers.”

Service has been slowed by the loss of some employees who are now on unpaid leave for not abiding by the TTC’s vaccine mandate policy.

As of Sunday, 92% of the agency’s 15,061 active employees have shared their COVID-19 vaccination status with “the vast majority already fully vaccinated.”

As it wages a battle with its main union, the TTC is hoping more employees are on board with the vaccination rules.

“If additional employees come forward and report their vaccination status in the coming days and weeks, the TTC will continue to increase service into the new year,” Leary said.

TTC has said its ridership is at approximately 50% of pre-COVID levels.

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But firing back, TTCriders said the commission is simply using the vaccine mandate issue to dodge responsibility.

“The TTC has actually been running less service than scheduled in advance of the vaccine mandate deadline, which suggests that they’ve been understaffed,” Pizey-Allen said.

“They haven’t planned ahead, and this wait-and-see approach is affecting transit users.”

The union continues to challenge the vaccination policy in arbitration.

  1. A TTC bus exits the Victoria Park subway station on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.

    TTC union unhappy court hasn’t suspended mandatory vaccination

  2. The TTC has cut service on some routes after enforcing its vaccine mandate on workers. Those who refuse a COVID vaccine or fail to disclose their status have been placed on unpaid leave.

    Riders suffer as TTC enforces its COVID vaccine mandate on workers

  3. Buses wait to go into service at the Comstock TTC yards.

    TTC rolling out service cuts as it faces vax-related staff shortage

Hearings have not yet been scheduled.

“Instead of firing workers, the TTC can keep our workplace safe by offering regular testing for the small percentage of workers who do not wish to receive the vaccine,” said ATU Local 113 President Carlos Santos after failing to win an injunction to halt the policy while the arbitration runs its course.

“These workers need their jobs and Toronto needs these workers. The TTC’s next plan is to terminate workers and cut service.”

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