TTC recalls more than 33 percent of laid off operators

Sept. 1, 2020
TTC is bringing the operators back in anticipation of increased ridership associated with schools starting back up; the remaining operators will be recalled as ridership increases.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) will bring back 150 transit operators who were laid off temporarily as TTC dealt with significant declines in ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The recall is in anticipation of a bump in ridership as Toronto area schools return to session in September. TTC explains it sees ridership increases by up to 10 percent between August and September in a normal year. However, TTC recognizes the uncertainty surrounding ridership’s outlook after Labor Day and says it is preparing to respond to additional demand with increased service as needed until full service is restored.

“These have been difficult times for everyone at the TTC as we’ve been forced to respond to the pandemic by making some tough decisions to reduce expenses and revise service delivery,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “The good news is that things are turning around and we’re able to start bringing back operators and reinstating some of the service as well as adding service to the busiest routes across the network.”

A total of 450 operators were impacted by temporary layoffs announced in April, along with other cost reduction efforts. Prior to the pandemic, TTC provided 1.7 million rides on a typical weekday but ridership took a significant hit with schools and businesses shutting down in response to the pandemic.

At the lowest point of the lockdown, TTC was moving roughly 15-20 percent of pre-pandemic ridership. The layoffs were designed to maintain transit service across the city – with increased service on the busiest bus routes – while contributing to a broader cost containment strategy.

TTC reiterates the layoffs were intended to be temporary and all operators will be recalled when TTC’s ridership reaches 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Currently, TTC is seeing daily ridership in the 35-40 percent range, a number that has steadily increased as the city of Toronto entered new phases of the province’s recovery.

“I want to thank Mr. Leary and all TTC employees for working with the city of Toronto to keep transit operating during the pandemic. The unprecedented ridership drop was no fault of the TTC and I’m proud to have secured hundreds of millions from the federal and provincial governments to help protect our transit system,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “The changes announced today will ensure that as schools reopen and more people return to work, the TTC can continue to deliver safe and reliable service across the city with increased service on its busiest routes.”