TTC appears to blame employees for recent service cuts
In sharing some much-welcome good news this week regarding Toronto's transit wait times, the TTC has appeared to throw some of its own staff under the bus.
The commission revealed on Monday that it will be maintaining frequent late night subway service on both Line 1 Yonge-University and Line 2 Bloor-Danforth, with trains set to arrive at least every six minutes.
This comes after controversial cuts were made across the network starting in March, which impacted a number of bus routes, though it was later revealed the reductions would also affect weekend morning, Sunday evening and weeknight subway service, with planned wait times of up to eight minutes.
"The #TTC is responding to concerns about proposed late-night subway wait times. At today's Board meeting, CEO Rick Leary announced that reduced absenteeism will allow us to continue running trains on Lines 1 and 2 every six mins. at night, every night," TTC Media Relations stated on Twitter on Monday morning.
"This change is effective as of May 7 and will be built into schedules going forward this year. We will also have more resources available on surface modes meaning we'll be able to nimbly address the busiest routes with more service than scheduled."
TTC Media Relations looks more and more like a lesson in how not to gain public support and understanding. Leary knew damn well people would be upset by these cuts. Pushing them through then backing them off just makes the whole company look foolish. https://t.co/dcMbupWR7D— Norman (((@firstname.lastname@example.org))) Wilson🐀Ⓜ️ (@oclsc) May 8, 2023
While replies to the tweet have been restricted, a few riders have chimed in with their less-than-positive thoughts on the update via quote tweets — not so much about the schedule changes themselves, which are undoubtedly a good thing, but about the wording of the tweet.
When the cuts were initially proposed with the 2023 budget back in January, the TTC indicated that lessening service by 14,800 weekly hours compared to November 2022 — making for about 91 per cent of pre-COVID service levels — was in response to reduced ridership demand, which would continue to inform service adjustments throughout the year.
"The continuation of work-from-home and hybrid work arrangements are constraining further ridership recovery. While modest ridership recovery has continued in the fall of 2022, the pace of ridership recovery has slowed and current forecasts indicate that ridership will be 75 per cent of pre-COVID levels by year-end 2023," the budget document read.
But, this recent announcement seems to pin the previous planned service amendments on operators being sick or otherwise absent from work, which people are taking issue with.
One person even suggested that if absenteeism is a major issue, it is on the TTC to maintain adequate staffing levels. "How much of the TTC's service cuts are due to budget and how much is due to their inability to staff up in a competitive labour market?" the resident asked. "Training and retaining operators was a massive headache for the TTC pre-pandemic."
This is #TTC #RickLeary's response for everything... blame operators, not his failed policy decisions!#FireLeary#TTCboard #TOcouncil #TOpoli@ATUlocal113 @atu_canada @ATUComm @imthedarkknight @ttcriders https://t.co/HUogx25A6t
— 🇨🇦 ₮Ɽ₳₦₴ł₮ Ø₱ɆⱤ₳₮ØⱤ 🇮🇱 (@TO_TransitOp) May 8, 2023
Regardless of the cause for the decision and Leary's wording of the news, transit riders can be happy about more frequent nighttime subway service, though it was established at yesterday's TTC Board meeting that there is no room in the budget to fully reintroduce pre-pandemic frequency across the network.
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