'Everyone is uncomfortable': Commuter shares photo of crowded Toronto bus
TORONTO -- A Toronto essential worker is expressing frustration after experiencing bus overcrowding during his morning commutes.
Dan Monich said he documented one of his rides where he was shoulder-to-shoulder with other passengers and posted it to social media.
“You’re seeing the first 40 per cent of the bus and you’re seeing at least 22 people jammed into a very, very small space,” Monich said.
He posted the picture mostly so friends could see his daily experience.
Monich has written a formal complaint to the TTC asking for more buses and for service to be on-time to avoid a build-up of commuters.
“If a bus is 10 minutes off of its normal time, it’ll be packed,” he said.
Monich is an essential worker. He’s a food scientist at a meat production plant in Etobicoke and takes the Bloor-Danforth bus to work.
Even if every seat is taken, he calls it a “good day” when the bus isn’t completely packed.
“It changes your standards of normality,” he said.
Retired TTC driver and former union representative Rocco Signorile says the busiest routes are carrying essential workers.
“Finch, Steeles, North-West end,” Signorile said.
“Sometimes the east-end, where there are a lot of warehouses and factories,” he said.
Signorile said operators only have so much authority and “do not have the ability to tell people they cannot get on.”
While some routes are busy, the percentage is very small, according to a TTC spokesperson.
“Ninety-five per cent of all bus trips have fewer than 25 people on board – half a vehicle’s capacity,” said Hayley Waldman, Senior Communications Advisor with the TTC.
“We have re-trained more than 50 streetcar and subway operators to drive buses to get as much service out as possible and we are hiring new operators (26 currently in training),” she said.
“The bus network is a priority for us, but Toronto is a large city and re-deploying service in real-time is not always immediate and comes with the risk of impacting service in other parts of the city.”
Waldman said there are 120-140 buses each day readily available to address “unforeseen ridership spikes.”
Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, has encouraged commuters to maintain physical distance when they can, wear a mask, wash their hands, and when possible travel at less busy times.
“Everyone is uncomfortable,” Monich said.
“Everyone just wants to get to their destination and they’re hoping the next stop, or whatever it is, not a lot of people are going to get on.”
The TTC said it will continue to monitor bus passenger levels in real time and deploy service where and when it is most needed as best it can.