ttc overcrowding

There's now a new tool to track overcrowding on the TTC

The TTC has been getting called out even more than usual this week — and that's a heck of a lot — after informing Toronto commuters over Twitter on Tuesday that social distancing will "no longer be possible" on vehicles amid the second wave of the pandemic.

Enraged residents have been taking issue with overcrowding on the city's subways, streetcars, and especially its buses, wondering how safe current COVID-19 policies and procedures are given how many people are packed onto vehicles each day.

With the TTC deciding not to ramp up service until ridership reaches at least half of what it was pre-health crisis, it seems that riders and the commission have been at a bit of a standoff, with the TTC Customer Service social media account getting bombarded with daily complaints, and customers noticing little-to-no change.

The TTC workers union has also joined the cause, calling on the transit agency to further limit capacity on some of its vehicles.

But until that happens — if it happens anytime in the foreseeable future — there's now a new tool that can help you avoid busier routes and more packed buses.

Rocketman, the third-party app that many Torontonians use to track the schedules of transit in the city in real-time, has just launched the

The app uses historical data for transit lines around the city to let riders know the times of day that there will likely be overcrowding on their trip, allowing them to avoid it for an alternative, hopefully safer route.

The app uses live, user-generated data, as well as historical Automatic Passenger Counter (APC) information provided by transit agencies, to make its predictions, classifying routes as either having a low risk of crowds (0-12.5 per cent average capacity), some risk (12.5-30 per cent average capacity), or high risk (over 30 per cent).

This gives users the ability to act accordingly before they bother spending time waiting for a vehicle they may decide is too full to ride, or even worse, before they expose themselves to others in very close proximity if they're not immediately able to fully assess the crowding situation.

Between this route screening option and new, stricter rules for mask-wearing on TTC property, hopefully citizens can feel a little bit safer taking public transportation until more measures are implemented and/or full service resumes, whenever that is.

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