TTC doesn't currently have any additional plans to improve crowding on bus routes
Despite the fact that ridership on Toronto's transit system has decreased by a whopping 85 per cent since the pandemic first began, certain bus routes have consistently remained dangerously overcrowded with little to no space for physical distancing.
The TTC has introduced several measures over the last few months to curb the issue, including deploying extra buses on crowded routes, asking riders to avoid taking certain bus routes during rush hour, allowing bus operators to change the operation of a bus to "drop off only," only allowing rear door boarding, blocking off every second seat and more.
A Toronto TTC bus video WITH NO FACE COVERINGS IN TRANSIT required, PEOPLE ASYMPTOMATIC INFECT OTHERS. No possible physical distancing in the pick hrs transit.— Nikolay Shubin (@NikolayShubin1) May 12, 2020
So, Toronto community outbreaks are continuing. #Ontario #COVID19 #Toronto #Canada pic.twitter.com/K4Wpdsl22s
During the TTC's virtual board meeting yesterday, head of service planning Mark Mis said they've managed to go from about 22 per cent of buses being too crowded to just five to six per cent thanks to a "demand-responsive service plan," which has allowed the agency to address crowding issues that have arisen throughout the pandemic.
Still, photos and videos of dangerously overcrowded vehicles continue to surface on social media.
Yonge bus this morning but @JohnTory said #TTC can handle it ??? @BenSpurr @TorontoStar @NEWSTALK1010 @blogTO @NarcityCanada @globalnews @CTVToronto @globeandmail @CBCToronto pic.twitter.com/qj3NTPOx27— Rocco Signorile (@imthedarkknight) May 13, 2020
And when blogTO asked TTC spokesperson Stuart Green what additional measures will be implemented to address the issue, he simply pointed to those that are already in place.
As more businesses start to reopen amid the early stages of economic recovery in Ontario, the problem is bound to get worse since the TTC now needs way more vehicles to transport the same number of people as before with social distancing measures in place.
For example, during yesterday's meeting, Mis said the TTC now needs three or four buses to safely carry 50 passengers, compared to just one bus before the pandemic.
Absolute disgrace this morning at Woodbine station. Westbound trains were stopped and not enough shuttle buses for essential workers. As a result people has 0% physical distancing on bus. Completely unacceptable. Hereby more COVID cases to come. @fordnation @TTChelps @TTCnotices pic.twitter.com/U2NxMllmt4— Common Man (@416commonman) May 13, 2020
But the transit system is currently scrapped for cash and will likely lose $300 million by Labour Day without additional government intervention.
And once ridership reaches 30 per cent of normal levels once again, according to Mis, 100 per cent of normal service will be required in order to allow for social distancing.
Important chart from the TTC: to allow riders to physically distance, they’ll need to provide 100% of normal service to serve 30% of normal ridership levels. Currently they’re seeing about 20% of normal ridership. pic.twitter.com/anhZqQNjX4— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) May 13, 2020
The agency and the city are requesting financial help from both the provincial and federal governments as a result, though neither one has fully committed to providing aid just yet.
"As more people go back to work and need to rely on transit again, we will have less leeway in our transit system to allow people to keep their distance from one another," Toronto Mayor John Tory said during his daily press briefing yesterday.
"I know this has been an issue that the commission has been discussing today following on discussions with public health and our recent start and recovery office. I've asked for clear information and direction to be provided to transit riders as quickly as possible and this will be something that I'm sure you'll be hearing more about from the commission, from the medical officer of health and from myself."
Join the conversation Load comments