Editorial Archive

Office of the Chief Executive

Commission seal 8/28/20 6:00 PM

TTC prepares for back to school

In preparation for an expected increase in ridership when schools begin to reopen, a total of 150 union employees will be recalled as of September 8. The balance of the 450 laid off last April will be recalled as more customers return.

The layoffs were always intended to be temporary, with all Operators to be recalled when the TTC reached 50 per cent of pre-pandemic ridership levels (before the pandemic the TTC was carrying 1.7 million rides on a typical weekday day). As of this week, the TTC is seeing daily ridership in the 35-40 per cent range, a number that has steadily increased as the City of Toronto entered new phases of the Province’s recovery.

For elementary and high school students who rely on the TTC to get to classes, we’ll continue to run a demand-responsive service in order to give us the flexibility to adjust to changing conditions and travel demands.

We’re continuing to work closely with the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board to clarify what those travel demands will look like, depending on the nature of school schedules and attendance levels.

We expect to see service adjustments modified through the fall and into the new year as the City and Province continue reopening and recovery efforts. For now, we’ve made sure that we have buses and streetcars available to run additional trips that may be necessary for the daily commute during these uncertain times.

As we prepare service for the back-to-school period, I’ve also been pleased to see the impressive final numbers for COMTO’s Pack a Backpack School Supply Drive! Thanks to the generous donations from TTC employees and the many helping hands from our volunteers, we were able to fill 800 backpacks with school supplies, TTC face masks and PRESTO cards. Each one of these bags will be distributed to children between JK and Grade 12, in the Jane/Emmett neighbourhood in the Mount Dennis community. In addition to the employees who donated backpacks and school supplies, the TTC also raised $9,638 through monetary donations for the drive.

I’d like to say a special thank you to COMTO members Mark Reed, Bus Operator; O’Dave Griffiths, Subject Matter Expert – Accounts Payable; Romayne Toban, Diversity Consultant – Special Project, Diversity and Human Rights Department; and Frank Trianni, Head of Streetcar Maintenance, for their involvement in this initiative. The drive would not have been possible without their leadership. Frank’s daughter even donated $40 from her own piggy bank to help out!

I’d also like to recognize and commend the entire Toronto and Region Chapter of COMTO and its members, many of whom are TTC employees, for their leadership in this important grassroots community initiative. Because of your efforts, many families will be able to start their child’s year at school on the right foot. I’m proud of our employees and of the commitment the Toronto Chapter has provided to this community.

Stay safe.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
August 28, 2020

TTC begins recalling laid off operators and increasing service as schools reopen

August 27, 2020

In preparation for an expected bump in ridership when schools begin to re-open in September, the TTC is recalling 150 of 450 laid off operators with the balance to be recalled as more customers return.

TTC CEO Rick Leary announced temporary layoffs in April in the wake of a historic ridership drop caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shut down of schools and non-essential businesses.

The move was always intended to be temporary with all operators to be recalled when the TTC reached 50 per cent of pre-pandemic ridership levels (before the pandemic the TTC was carrying 1.7 million rides on a typical weekday day). At the lowest point of the lockdown, the TTC was moving roughly 15-20 per cent of pre-pandemic ridership. The layoffs were designed to maintain transit service across the city – with increased service on the busiest bus routes – while contributing to a broader cost containment strategy.

As of this week, though, the TTC is seeing daily ridership in the 35-40 per cent range, a number that has steadily increased as the City of Toronto entered new phases of the province’s recovery.

“I want to thank Mr. Leary and all TTC employees for working with the City of Toronto to keep transit operating during the pandemic. The unprecedented ridership drop was no fault of the TTC and I’m proud to have secured hundreds of millions from the federal and provincial governments to help protect our transit system,” said Mayor John Tory. “The changes announced today will ensure that as schools reopen and more people return to work, the TTC can continue to deliver safe and reliable service across the city with increased service on its busiest routes.”

In a normal year, the TTC sees ridership increase by up to 10 per cent between August and September. But with so much uncertainty about what ridership will look like after Labour Day, the TTC is preparing to respond to additional demand with increased service as needed until full service is restored.

“These have been difficult times for everyone at the TTC as we’ve been forced to respond to the pandemic by making some tough decisions to reduce expenses and revise service delivery,” said CEO Rick Leary. “The good news is that things are turning around and we’re able to start bringing back operators and reinstating some of the service as well as adding service to the busiest routes across the network.”

The remaining 300 operators will be recalled as ridership increases.

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