Life as an operator for TTC has been an adventure–to put it lightly. So much is in the works to ensure growth in our city and we came into 2020 hopeful and ambitious with big plans.
Although 2020 has brought us a bigger battle–a battle that has brought the whole world to its knees and many that won’t live to tell the tale of what it’s been like to battle through COVID-19.
Working as a front line transit worker and seeing how this city has been shutdown in response to flattening the curve makes me proud to do what I do, but concerned because the battle is not over yet.
Sadly, TTC operators are often under appreciated and constantly criticized, both in the media and on social, but life as an operator is anything but easy! These last few months have proven to be even more difficult–and a constant battle to say the least.
A battle with passengers for their understanding when implementing physical distancing.
A battle with management to have them collaborate with our needs to provide us with PPE and a safe work environment during this world crisis.
And right now, our biggest battle is fighting for the right to have precautionary testing in place, especially given that several TTC employee’s have been confirmed positive for COVID-19.
We fight to be heard.
Please know that it is not easy for us to come out of our homes and put our lives, and the lives of those we love, at risk to keep the city moving. But we do. We continue to do our job, knowing that other front line workers like those in the health care and many more, rely on us to get to their jobs. To get home to their families. And many people’s only affordable option of transportation to go out and buy their bare necessities needed for their everyday life. A sad, but very REAL reality, that we see daily.
Day in and day out for months now it’s been harder and harder than ever before to remain committed, especially when you begin to feel burnt out from the stress. Coming into work is not what it used to be and going home after an 8-hour shift is definitely not easy either. But then again we know it isn’t for many other front line workers too.
Every day we take precautionary measures to try our best to prevent taking home anything to our families. Even if that means changing out of our uniforms at work and carrying an extra outfit in a gym bag, washing down any exposed body parts with warm water and soap at the end of our shift, sanitizing our cars daily or even for some a whole routine once they have arrived at home that delays them another 30-minutes to an hour more before they get to relax. But we do what needs to be done, much like many others, we know.
The difference is that many don’t sees the struggles.
we, TTC operators, each face behind closed doors. The work that is required from every one of us to ensure we remain healthy. We all are trying to remain healthy so we can show up day after day and move this city we all call home. The 6ix, as View the VIBE calls it.
It’s no secret that none of us were ready for this pandemic. We have all been doing our best given the situation, but we can do better. As an operator for TTC, I hope the public sees this and understands that all we want is to have a bit of peace of mind. Many ride our transit system even when they know they have tested positive for COVID-19, but yet they refuse help. Others innocently don’t know that they may be carriers and all of this poses a big risk to us as operators. All of the unknown makes it difficult to remain cool and collected during this time.
One of our most recent battles is that we (the TTC) are not being properly funded despite the fact that we are an essential service. Given the lack of funding, some of us front line workers have also been laid-off, again just like many other, and notices that have taken affect as of May 24, 2020 after we (TTC operators) have been so dedicated to providing the city with an essential service through all of this.
The worse part is that layoffs also put the public at risk because there will be more route cuts and more crowded buses.
Not having the funds to maintain our public transit working at a safe capacity is counteracting the efforts of others in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and the city should be doing something about that to intervene.
So please, voice your concerns and ask our city leaders, that our transportation system be provided with the funding required to continue with our services. Better yet, help us by signing this petition demanding federal law-makers take action. Let us be proactive, together. Because we truly are #StrongerTogether!
Brighter days are ahead my fellow Torontonians, but we must fight the good fight together first. By all doing our part. By staying home and standing (virtually) united, as a city. The beautiful, diverse city that we all call home, Toronto.
With a heavy heart,
A concerned TTC operator