TTC subway guard

TTC plans to make a change that some say will make things less safe for commuters

If you've taken the subway, you've seen a TTC subway guard. They're the people who stick their heads out from the back of the train and make sure everyone has properly boarded.

Subway guards have a lot of responsibility, from opening and closing doors, ensuring passenger safety, and reporting suspicious behaviour or objects left at subway stations.

Despite all this, the TTC is hoping to eliminate transit guards by the end of June.

In an effort to save money by moving to a one person train operation system, the TTC wants to replace all guards with a station manager who would travel between a number of stations for safety checks.

"TTC management’s plan to eliminate Subway  Guards is a public safety setback for the system’s 1.5 million daily passengers," Carlos Santos, President, ATU Local 113 told blogTO. "The Guards at the back of every train are a major reason Toronto has always had one of the safest subway systems in the world."

As guards and drivers swap roles any time a train reaches the end of the route, this would not only eliminate guards but likely cut the job opportunities for subway drivers in half.

Fighting against these changes is the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 who created a website to deliver more information to the community on why this would be a troublesome change.

It seems not many people need convincing however, as a poll conducted in February found that 2/3rds of Toronto residents surveyed oppose the change.

The Sheppard Line already operates without Subway Guards and since that change, they've found a 50 per cent increase in red light violations.

There's also plenty of concern over stations being left unwatched for long periods of time as a single station manager couldn't possibly cover as much ground as a subway guard on every train.

With the TTC regularly regarded as one of the city's best employers, a sentiment that has been echoed by those who work there, it's upsetting to know that some jobs could be eliminated in a city where many people struggle to make ends meet.

Lead photo by

Ben Roffelsen Photography

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