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.
i worked for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) as a subway station janitor for 28 yrs. i saw firsthand how important the "guard" was on the train. his/her job was to open/close doors safely. now, the Commission, wants to remove them. shame. shame.— randall b pollock (@randallbpollock) May 13, 2021
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."
After a year in which ATU Local 113 heroes kept Toronto functioning, TTC management still wants to eliminate the subway guard, the most front-line of all TTC employees.— John Corbett (@johnVcorbett) January 4, 2021
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.
❌ The #TTC has not explained how eliminating the Guard would make the subway safer for passengers.— On Guard For You (@onguardforyou) April 13, 2021
Because it can’t.
There is simply no evidence that one-person train operation is safer. pic.twitter.com/hiAoeqDzzR
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.
#TTC Employees spoke up for more Mental Health Funding. Now these employees need you to stand up for their Mental Health. When suicides happen in the subway, guard plays a pivotal role as emotional support for the operator during this traumatic time. https://t.co/07gUgIeuS2— JJM (@Jayman1975Jw) March 16, 2021
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.
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