TTC Moving Towards One-Person Operated Subway Trains

Photo by Wei/flickr

In recent news that the TTC has begun to eliminate the subway guards and has moved to one-person operated subway trains, the decision has been opposed by many people in Toronto that it will affect passenger safety, though TTC spokesperson Brad Ross guarantees that is not the case and it will be safe to ride on the subway.

Starting at the beginning of October, the TTC established one-person operated subway trains on the Sheppard Line. The public is not happy with the TTC in which a poll was done that found that 66 percent of respondents were unhappy with the elimination of the subway guards. A majority of people think that this will mean that the subway will be unsafe.

“There is technology now on the trains that prevent train doors from opening in the tunnel. That prevent train doors from opening on the offside of platforms, and these are things that happen today from time to time because frankly people aren’t paying attention and inadvertently open the doors,” Ross said.

Ross visited Centennial College at the Story Arts Centre campus on Thursday October 13th, 2016. The TTC is North Americas third largest transit system after New York and Mexico City based on ridership. Over half a billion people ride the TTC every day. The TTC has 14,000 employees including, 5,000 operators, 5,000 maintenance workers.

By moving to one-person operated subway trains, the TTC says it would save $18 million annually. The TTC hopes to adopt this model for all its subway trains eventually. These subway guards who have been relieved of their position have not been fired, but have been transferred to other positions in the TTC, according to Ross. The TTC will be able to make their subway systems work without the need of subway guards.

“Subway guards and operators do not engage in fights, they are not trained in law enforcement, they are not trained in counter terrorism or any of those things. And so one-person train operation has been operating in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Berlin, Bangkok and the Scarborough RT since 1985 so it is absolutely safe,” Ross said.

Ross also mentioned the further advancements that the TTC is taking to level with Uber. As ride sharing programs such as Uber are being introduced into many cities such as Toronto, the leading transportation agencies such as the TTC are trying to follow suit.

“Can we work with ride sharing programs to as I say, compliment transport in this city? Absolutely. And that is something our board has asked us to do through a pilot program that the design has yet to be announced but it is something we are working towards,” Ross said.

Whether it is working alongside or against Uber in the TTC’s expansion into ridesharing programs, Ross said that the TTC doesn’t find Uber as a competitor but as “complementary” to the TTC. The TTC is the major transportation service of the city of Toronto, and will stay that way through their programs to upgrade their transportation lines such as the expansion or alternation of current lines, and through their ability to improve their customer service through training programs and the movement of certain employees to other sections of the TTC to improve safety for passengers.

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