TTC protecting service on busiest routes in November and December as it works to ensure all employees are vaccinated

The TTC is continuing to work to protect the health and safety of all employees and the public who use the system daily.

Today, the TTC released further details about its temporary November and December service plans. The plans are focused on protecting and maintaining scheduled service on the busiest routes after the next phase of the TTC's mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy comes into effect on Nov. 21.

In the new temporary schedules, which were posted in workplaces today, the TTC has taken into account employees who will be ineligible to work due to being unvaccinated or for not disclosing vaccination status. Vaccinated TTC operators will be able to begin signing up for the next scheduled service periods on Nov. 3.

Key among the considerations that went into planning the upcoming temporary service was prioritizing the busiest routes at the busiest times of day - in particular on the bus network.

The Nov. 21 schedules were planned to be reliable and predictable while protecting existing service on the TTC's busiest bus routes corridors at the busiest times of day such as Wilson, Jane, Eglinton, Finch and Lawrence East, among others.

Other routes will see varying levels of temporary service changes, in many cases similar to the seasonal changes made in the summer and in December. Scheduled waiting time changes will generally be minimal, and all changes will result in ridership levels that are within TTC service standards. All corridors will continue to operate over the same operating hours as now.

TTC ridership is at approximately 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

In order to ensure enough operators are available to match service with demand, the TTC will:

- Temporarily defer capital construction projects as well as cancel weekend and nightly early closures, allowing shuttle operators to be re-deployed for regular service.

- Continue increasing the hiring of new operators over the next several months.

- Re-deploy other qualified bus operators who are normally responsible for moving vehicles between divisions to regular service.

- Invite recent retirees to return to the TTC on a temporary basis as permanent replacements are hired.

If additional employees come forward and report their vaccination status in the coming days and weeks, the TTC will work to increase service.

After a review of current staff vaccination compliance numbers, the TTC is confident there will be no service impacts as a result of workforce availability in other work groups.

Individual route schedules for the period beginning Nov. 21 will be available on the TTC website and through all the usual real-time and on-line sources.

Contingency plans have been under development since the TTC announced its mandatory vaccine policy in early September.

Employees who are unvaccinated or have not shared their status by the end of the day on Nov. 20 will be placed on unpaid leave until they receive all their required vaccine doses, or Dec. 31, whichever comes first.

These measures do not apply to employees with an approved Ontario Human Rights Code exemption.

As of today, 88 per cent of the agency's 15,090 active employees have shared their COVID-19 vaccination status. In total, close to 86 per cent of unionized, and 94 per cent of non-unionized employees have shared their status with the vast majority already fully vaccinated.

To date, the TTC has held 56 vaccination clinics for employees as well as customers, and there are many more planned in the coming weeks. More than 9,300 shots have been administered at these clinics.

Statement from TTC CEO Rick Leary

The TTC is truly an essential service. Since the pandemic began, our commitment has been to safely deliver service based on demand and focusing on the busiest routes across the city.

Our plans for November and December ensure we can continue to do that - even with a reduction in available workforce. Protecting service for those who need us most and delivering the service that our customers expect of us is my priority.

Unfortunately, it does come with some small and temporary reductions in scheduled service compared to October. However, we are moving quickly to hire operators and backfill job openings, and we will begin returning service to budgeted levels as soon as possible.

I believe we have come up with a plan that is flexible and responsive. And if our staff numbers are better than expected as we get closer to the end of the day on Nov. 20, we can start replacing service reductions that may have been necessary.

I stand firmly behind our vaccination policy. It is the right thing to do to protect the health and safety of our employees, their families and the communities we serve.

I want to thank the vast majority of employees who have already received their COVID-19 vaccinations and would encourage everyone at the TTC to do so as soon as possible before the end of the day on Nov. 20.

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