The TTC says it’s being pressured to cancel scheduled weekend subway closures after the transit employees’ union ended an settlement permitting members to work extra time.
TTC spokesperson Brad Ross confirmed Wednesday the closure between St. Clair and Lawrence stations on Line 1 (Yonge-College-Spadina) deliberate for the upcoming weekend of Might 19 and 20 has been delay. Final weekend the company additionally postponed a deliberate service suspension between Sheppard West and Lawrence West on the identical line.
Transit riders might welcome the News that they received’t be inconvenienced by the shutdowns, however the TTC says the closures are vital to permit for work on main tasks, together with the set up of a brand new signalling system designed to extend capability on Line 1, and the development of the $5.3-billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
“There are … long-term prices if we let these closures slide any extra. It may have an effect on tasks,” Ross mentioned.
Final month, Amalgamated Transit Union Native 113, which represents greater than 10,000 transit employees, introduced it wouldn’t renew an settlement that permits members to work 64 hours every week, as a substitute of the 48 hours spelled out within the Employment Requirements Act. The settlement expired on the finish of April.
With out the extra time authorization, the TTC doesn’t have sufficient employees to function the shuttle buses required to exchange subway service throughout a closure.
The union and the TTC are within the midst of contract negotiations, which have gone to arbitration after the 2 sides couldn’t attain an settlement.
However Native 113 says the extra time choice has nothing to do with the deadlock. Kevin Morton, secretary-treasurer for the union, mentioned it didn’t renew the settlement as a result of it believes the TTC has been utilizing extra time provisions to go away some positions vacant, with the last word aim of contracting out the work.
“We imagine it’s because they’ve an agenda to denationalise, and have shunned hiring the correct staffing ranges over the previous few years,” Morton mentioned.
The TTC has described the extra time settlement as mutually helpful for the transit company and its employees, as a result of permits workers to earn further revenue.
Ross mentioned the TTC plans to rent not less than 100 new operators on prime of its present complement of about 5,000, and by July the company ought to have sufficient employees to function shuttle buses.
However “each closure between now and after we get the brand new hires are in danger,” Ross mentioned, including that the company is making choices in regards to the deliberate shutdowns on “a week-by-week foundation.”
Not counting this weekend’s cancelled closure, there are six extra shutdowns deliberate between now and July 1, and two late subway openings that additionally require shuttle buses.
Ross mentioned the TTC should work out methods to reschedule any cancelled closures, which may contain doubling up on some weekend suspensions, or including a closure to a weekend when one wasn’t beforehand deliberate.
The subway closure deliberate for this weekend was one in every of 24 service suspensions scheduled this 12 months to allow work on a brand new station for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT beneath the present Eglinton TTC station.
The Crosstown work can’t be finished safely whereas subways are operating, in accordance with Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins, and should be rescheduled.
Metrolinx, the provincial transit company in command of the Crosstown, had been engaged on a plan to make use of GO Transit buses for shuttle service, however “we couldn’t get it collectively in time for this weekend,” Aikins mentioned.
“It’s actually vital that we hold (the Crosstown) on schedule,” she mentioned.
“We’re very decided to determine an answer for this and hold it shifting.”
The LRT line is schedule to open by 2021.