In March, Premier Doug Ford announced that Ontario would be entering lockdown. This resulted in many Canadians being asked to stay home, exemptions only for essential workers. This dropped ridership by up to 80%. In this episode, the focus is on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) the largest transit operator in the country. Taking a look at how they have pivoted during the pandemic to accommodate how things have changed.
Stuart Green from the TTC, discusses some of the changes made over the past year. TTCriders is a grassroots, membership-based advocacy group. CJRU speaks with Vincent Puhakka a long-standing member on what needs to improve. Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney defines what success looks like for the transportation industry in 2021.
While Torontonians have spent a lot of time showing love to essential workers they often fail to include transit workers. The transportation industry has continued to hold the responsibility of transporting essential workers. Despite losing millions of dollars a month, they have not been relieved of that responsibility.
The pandemic has appeared to strengthen the relationship between the TTC and the riders. Green talks about the difference in feedback since the start of lockdown.
“A lot of the customer feedback we’ve been getting is a lot of appreciation, people thanking us for being there for them … they needed public transit to get to their job, which was an essential job. So there was a lot of appreciation in that regard,” says Green.
Many of these measures to ensure our health and safety are here to stay and public transit in Toronto may never be the same again. They are in a unique position, dealing with a present that Torontonians have never seen before. They’re also preparing for a future that is unforeseen.
To hear more from Stuart Green, Vincent Puhakka and Caroline Mulroney, listen to the episode below. This story is the first in a four-part, Pandemic Pivot series on transportation. In the next episode, CJRU will take a look at GO Transit.