In preparation to meet service demands brought about by changing ridership patterns, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is recalling its remaining 179 furloughed employees, including 97 bus operators, in the first week of November.
TTC CEO Rick Leary announced temporary layoffs in April as ridership dropped nearly 80% due to school closures and business shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, the agency recalled 150 of those employees as daily ridership rose to 35% to 40% of pre-pandemic ridership levels.
In making the decision to recall the remaining employees, the TTC took the following factors into consideration:
- Increased ridership. Daily boardings on buses are now at 50% of pre-pandemic levels and holding. Ridership patterns have also changed from the traditional peak periods with customer trips more evenly spread throughout the day.
- A planned capital project. The TTC is seeking approval to advance a major asbestos removal program by one full year by closing Line 1 between Finch and Sheppard for 10 days in December, with shuttle buses running instead.
- School re-openings. On Nov. 12, a new cohort of high school students will return to in-class learning, some of whom will rely on the TTC to get to and from school.
The TTC also projects there will be operator retirements in late 2020, so as a result, the agency has developed a plan to recruit and train new operators in the coming year.