TTC safety campaign shows riders how to avoid busy buses
In an attempt to further ensure the health and safety of its passengers as COVID-19 remains a threat, the TTC is taking a number of initiatives that include PSAs for people to avoid stepping onto public transit vehicles that they can see are already overcrowded.
"Avoid busy buses," a flyer reads. "Use the Rocketman or Transit apps to make sure the next bus isn't too crowded for you. Rest assured. Ride safe."
Though the message is logical and the motive behind it seemingly benign, the strategy isn't going over so well with some who have seen them on social media platforms thus far.
I cannot believe I was just served this ad on Instagram. It’s now MY responsibility to make sure busses aren’t overcrowded during my commute? You should be adding more capacity! @TTChelps @TTCwelps @ttcriders @m_layton @shawnmicallef pic.twitter.com/PEr68r42sP— daniel (@a2011macbook) August 17, 2021
One resident who shared a screengrab of the ad from Instagram considered it a way for the commission to shift the responsibility of unsafely packed buses onto passengers rather than ramp up service on busier routes that may need more frequency.
"I cannot believe I was just served this ad on Instagram. It’s now MY responsibility to make sure buses aren’t overcrowded during my commute? You should be adding more capacity!" they wrote on Twitter alongside the image Tuesday morning.
But as the official TTC Customer Service account pointed out in a response, the agency is constantly monitoring vehicle crowding, looking at automated passenger counts and otherwise assessing routes to dispatch more vehicles when and where necessary and possible.
Also, the purpose of the ad is not to blame commuters for crowding, but to ask them to employ their best common sense amid the pandemic.
Our staff are monitoring crowding on bus routes via automated passenger counts and adding more service when and where possible. ^JH— TTC Customer Service (@TTChelps) August 17, 2021
"The intent is to point customers to the passenger occupancy data in the Rocketman and Transit apps. The real-time data allows for people to see how busy an approaching bus is and if the next one or two behind it may be less busy," Stuart Green, Senior Communications Specialist for the TTC, tells blogTO.
"Customers can then make informed decisions about their trip based on their own comfort."
With new case numbers failing to fall as much as hoped, fears of aggressive variants and a 4th wave that may have already begun, and Ontario's reopening now on pause, it would be prudent for people to avoid any crowded situations if they're able, for everyone's benefit — including by simply hopping on the next, emptier bus or streetcar, like we all had to when they were packed pre-COVID anyway.
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