TTC riders demand stricter protcols amid pandemic

With ridership increase, physical distancing on TTC vehicles is barely possible

Mandatory masks are TTC’s protocols.
Commuter crowd spill off a subway train at Bloor-Yonge on a Sunday evening.  Sabra Ismath/Toronto Observer

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has put in protocols to promote healthy physical distancing on vehicles, but many riders seem to be violating these protocols as they are not strictly enforced.

Other riders have shown frustrations with the situation since the beginning of Stage 3.

“After Stage 1, everyone was [physically] distancing and wearing a mask. The TTC even smelled disinfected,” Rafiah Ahmad said. “When Stage 2 and 3 opened, that kind of went out the door.

Others have taken to social media to express their displeasure.

According to the TTC, there has been “additional cleaning and disinfection of all public places and vehicles,” as of January 2020, in response to COVID-19.

Protocols for safer transit also include mandatory face masks and covering when travelling on the TTC and limited seatings for physical distancing among other passengers.

TTC restricted seating signs to promote physical distancing is one of the many protocols.
Restricted seating signs are displaced on TTC subway train.

On Sept. 17, the TTC announced they will bring back more unionized workers as demand for public transit services rises in light of the new school year.

“We encourage our customers to use their best judgement and to travel when they feel that safe to do,” TTC spokesperson Hayley Waldman said. “We also understand that it won’t always be possible to physically distance.”

Violations of these protocols are seen more frequently since no authoritative consequences have been put in place, critics claim.

“[It’s] important to note that Toronto is more than just downtown,” said Austin Jafri of TTC Riders, speaking on where protocols are being ignored. Many riders are sharing pictures of TTC buses that are “packed like a COVID sardine can,” he said.

Due to lack of service, areas with radicalized people and the working class is where overcrowding seems to be happening the most, Jafri said.

TTC Riders is demanding action from the City of Toronto to ensure protocols are firmly in place and to create accessible public transit.

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Posted: Sep 18 2020 3:35 pm
Filed under: News