At least 35 TTC subway stations will be taken over by transit advocates this morning, protesting Ontario's TTC subway upload. As part of a silent protest against Premier Doug Ford's proposal to seize control of the TTC subway system, frontline TTC employees will be wearing shirts reading "Keep our Transit Public" on top of their uniforms this morning.
Advocates are expected to be assigned to protest at all major stations, including Bloor-Yonge, Finch and Kipling during Friday morning's commute. Between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM, members of TTC Riders (a grassroots, membership-based transit advocacy organization), Toronto's Labour Council, and NDP MPPs are expected to be protesting at nearly half of Toronto's 75 subway stations on all 4 subway lines.
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, the TTC's largest workers union, will also be involved in the takeover. Carlos Santos, President of ATU Local 113, has confirmed that the protest is in response to the ongoing contemplation of the province's upload of the subway. The advocates will likely be handing out flyers that express the message "Don't steal our subway."
“We have 11,500 members serving the City of Toronto and our members serve the City of Toronto better than any other transit agency in North America. We believe the subway being uploaded will lead to privatization and will reduce service and increase fares,” Santos said.
According to Santos, workers will not be "disrupting service", but rather, engaging in a "silent protest in solidarity with the citizens of Toronto," specifically those of whom are worried about the upload of the subway system.
He was unable to provide a comment on whether any future protests are planned, however, he did remark that union members “know transit best” and have earned the right to have their voices heard. “We have been trying to get a meeting with the province and they have refused to meet with us,” he said.
Early in February, an announcement was made to the public revealing the province's and the city's plans to evaluate a potential deal that could include transferring TTC's ownership.
Two other options are being considered: the transfer of all future subway protects to the province and an alternative in which the province would assume responsibility for the delivery of future subway projects, but would not be held responsible for the TTC's assets or infrastructure.