ttc bans drivers

The TTC just banned transit employees from driving other people's cars

It's already a tough job driving transit vehicles in Toronto, but a new rule imposed on transit operators isn't sitting well with some employees: The TTC has banned drivers from sharing cars in an effort to slow the spread of Omicron.

A notice recently posted at the TTC Eglinton Bus Division informs drivers, "In response to the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, Operators are no longer permitted to operate other employees' personal vehicles to or from the Division and Relief Locations."

The statement also advises drivers that "Eglinton clerical staff have been advised not to accept keys from operators."

Rocco Signorile, an advocate for TTC drivers, told blogTO that since "the vast majority drivers finish their shifts far away from the division," sharing keys to their personal vehicles is a common practice among TTC operators.

Signorile says that "operators who start very early in the morning leave their keys at their work locations for other fellow drivers to bring their vehicles to them when they finish their shifts."

"They do this so once they finish, they can just get into their car and go home instead of adding more time to their day," says Signorile, noting that "sometimes it adds up to an hour to bring their vehicles."

The new policy was implemented to curb rising case counts among transit workers, but Signorile argues that it has the opposite effect, forcing drivers to pack onto crowded transit vehicles and actually increasing the potential for exposure.

Signorile says the move "makes no sense," complaining that "management would rather have drivers get on already overcrowded vehicles with little or no social distancing than take an empty private car."

His frustrations toward the TTC apparent, Signorile says, "personally, I believe it's none of their business."

It's a pretty radical change in tone from the TTC, which just one week earlier was talking about pre-approving vacations while only "discouraging" non-essential travel.

Of course, the Omicron variant's sudden rise has forced the TTC and other high-profile companies to rethink policy over the last week, though it is unclear if the benefits outweigh the risks in this latest course change.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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