To Carpool or Not to Carpool: That is the Question for Transit Workers in Toronto

Controversy erupts in Toronto after the TTC informed transit employees that it isn't safe to carpool to work…driving people around on transit.

2 minute read

January 13, 2021, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Toronto Coronavirus

TTC riders, pictured in March 2020, in various states of innocuousness. | Shawn Goldberg / Shutterstock

A controversy at Toronto's transit agency, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), presents more evidence of the ethical challenges facing essential workers during the pandemic—especially the essential workers upon which so many other essential workers depend.

"The TTC is directing its employees not to carpool to work, even as it assures the public its transit vehicles are safe during the pandemic," reports Ben Spurr. "The transit workers’ union is accusing the transit agency of hypocrisy. But health experts say the directive for workers not to hitch a ride together is backed by evidence."

The TTC sent the notice advising all employees to stop carpooling to work on January 5. "Starting Jan. 18, employee vehicles arriving at TTC properties carrying more than two people will be stopped and occupants will be required to provide their employee information, including name and badge number," explains Spurr of the contents of the notice.

In response, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents nearly 12,000 TTC workers, accuses the TTC of not taking steps to mitigate overcrowding on transit vehicles operating in the system.

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green is quoted in the article saying that there's no contradiction in telling workers not to carpool while their jobs require contact with the public on public transit. "There remain no links between TTC use and infections," Green is quoted saying in the article. But carpooling "has led to increased self-isolations," in Green's words, again.

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