ttc social distancing

TTC says social distancing is no longer possible on vehicles and people are outraged

The TTC is coming under fire today for a tweet issued by its customer service Twitter account which states that social distancing will no longer be possible on the transit system's vehicles "as the city re-opens."

The tweet in question was published in response to a rider who posted a photo of the crowded bus she was on this morning, and she asked how commuters are supposed to social distancing in these conditions.

"Hi Victoria. As the city re-opens, social distancing will no longer be possible on our vehicles," wrote TTC Customer Service in response. "As such, if you feel that a vehicle you are on is overcrowded, I would suggest getting off and boarding the next one. Apologies for the inconvenience."

The tweet immediately gained attention, prompting criticism from hundreds of Toronto residents who say this attitude is extremely frustrating as cases continue to rise in the city and the need for social distancing remains paramount.

Others have also pointed out that contrary to the tweet, the city is not actually in the process of reopening and is instead partially shutting down thanks to new public health measures that came into effect this past weekend.

The TTC has been struggling with crowding on its vehicles, especially buses, since the pandemic first hit back in March. 

The transit system has introduced a number of measures to try and curb the issue, including deploying extra buses on particularly crowded routes and implementing demand-responsive bus service to supplement scheduled service.

The agency also recently brought back more than 280 of the 450 employees on temporary layoff to meet rising service demand, but they've consistently stated that social distancing will simply not always be possible as ridership increases back to near-normal levels.

The TTC workers union has, however, repeatedly called on the agency to restore service to 100 per cent and bring back all furloughed operators, but those calls have gone unanswered and service currently stands at about 94 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Toronto commuters are also taking this opportunity to point out that if the TTC cannot ensure that social distancing on vehicles is possible, the least they could do is enforce the mandatory mask rule

Customers have routinely taken to social media to express frustrations about transit users who refuse to wear masks properly, or wear them at all, since the rule was introduced, but the TTC has not indicated that there are any plans to begin enforcing the policy.

When asked abut the viral tweet by blogTO Tuesday afternoon, meanwhile, TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said it was simply meant to convey that ridership levels have increased, making physical distancing unfortunately challenging.

"I've spoken to customer service," he said, "and the tweet was intended to capture increasing ridership which was the result of businesses and schools re-opening."

Lead photo by

Rocco Signorile

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