TTC ridership down by as much as 60 per cent as Toronto grapples with COVID-19
A commuter shows a mostly empty TTC train during rush hour Friday morning. (Twitter/@peterdwhitmore)
TORONTO -- As many Torontonians work from home and practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, some residents are taking to social media to showcase how empty their commutes on the TTC have become.
Commuters posted photos to Twitter showing TTC trains almost empty at peak times in the day, departing from high-traffic hubs like Union Station.
“The TTC at Union Station at the start of Rush Hour. Just amazing,” said one rider. Another quiet day on the #TTC subway at 10 a.m.,” said another.
On Friday, the transit agency confirmed that ridership is in fact down by as much as 60 per cent.
“As of March 17, weekly ridership down ~50-60% from 10.4M rides ($24M) to 4.5 million rides ($10M) not including recent changes around store/workplace closures,” a TTC spokesperson said in a tweet published Friday.
The COVID-19 outbreak in Toronto is showing no signs of slowing down. On Friday, Toronto public health officials confirmed there are at least 161 cases in the city, three of which include a paramedic, a member of the city’s homeless population and a case at a city-run long-term care facility.
Despite that, a scheduled subway closure on Toronto’s Line 1 will go ahead as planned this weekend amid worries over the COVID-19 pandemic and recommendations by the city to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.
“Since January we’ve been performing significant additional cleaning and disinfection of all vehicles. Our shuttle buses are no exception,” a spokesperson said on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the TTC announced it will be implementing a number of operational changes amid the COVID-19 outbreak, including allowing employees to wear their own masks at work and instructing operators to implement all-door boarding on all vehicles to avoid creating “pinch points” at single door entrances and allow for further social distancing.