ManDem Cycling Club and Hop in Tech fill city’s transportation gaps

26 March 2021 / by Adriel Smiley
Christopher McGarrell on a parked bicycle, leaning forward and looking over his shoulder

When it comes to navigating the Greater Toronto Area,  Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Metrolinx are not the only options for residents. Especially as Torontonians continue social distancing, alternative methods for travel have become key.  CJRU speaks with Christopher McGarrel and Boyd Reid, who are contributing to Toronto transportation in their own unique ways.

The amount of cycling in Canada was up in 2020, despite lockdowns across the nation. According to a survey conducted last June by CAA, there’s been 30 a percent increase in cycling in Canada. This is a stark contrast to the ghastly drop in ridership that has hit public transit. Although they have been a part of many Canadian’s commute, this recent spike in cycling seems to be largely recreational. ManDem Cycling Club is a racially diverse cycling group. Over the summer of 2020, they saw a lot of growth. Founder Christopher McGarrell discussed the impressive summer they had.

“So if you look at our first couple of rides, we had like 10, maybe 15 people. But then week after week, with the exponential growth that I had, maybe four or five weeks in a row, where we had 100 people on bikes riding with us, you know, and a lot of those were people of colour, and even more granular were women of colour,” McGarrell says.

In understanding how COVID-19 affected transportation, look no further than Hop in Tech. They provide a logistics software service that offers a customized shuttle solution for the daily commute. Founder Boyd Reid talks about their change in direction in 2020.

What we were able to do was, in a sense, mitigate some of that by working with companies to provide more of a private transit and show an option that allows their employees and their staff members who remain almost like a bubble in a bubble that reduces the amount of touch points with someone who could potentially have COVID,” Reid explains.

Listen to the segment below for a look at the other side of transportation. This is the third story in a four-part Pandemic Pivot series exploring transportation in Toronto.