Toronto's transit agencies are suffering the effects of COVID-19, too, and it's bringing TTC layoffs with it. The transit agency has seen a huge decrease in users in recent weeks as a result of the pandemic and now it's reducing costs to save money. On April 23, it announced it will be temporarily relieving 1,200 employees of their duties in the next few weeks in an effort to cut costs after experiencing an 85% decrease in ridership.

According to a news release by the TTC, the pandemic has cost it a huge drop in ridership and is resulting in monthly revenue losses of around $90 million right now.

As a result, it's had to make a tough call.

“This was not an easy decision to make and came only after reviewing all other options,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary via the agency's statement.

"We will take care of the impacted employees as best we can during this difficult time and I look forward to everyone returning to the TTC once ridership has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels."

Spokesperson Stuart Green added in a tweet: "Difficult, sad day here. 1,200 positions to be subject to temporary lay off. Impacted employees will receive benefits through fall with further review then. Service will stay where it is today so all essential trips can continue."

The TTC has also stopped salary increases for non-unionized employees and cut back on overtime throughout the organization, looking over current vacancies and stopping seasonal hires in the meantime.

But what the agency has also noticed are savings on utility, fuel, and even PRESTO commission costs. It notes that these cost-saving measures should protect up to $25 million in revenue per month.

Just last week, TTC services looked pretty busy despite social distancing measures put in place by the province, city, and even the company itself.

Buses and streetcars were even taping off seats last week to better enforce safe distancing.

Despite those safeguards, it was reported on Monday, April 20, that 21 TTC workers have contracted COVID-19 via a variety of exposures, including an outbreak at Queensway Garage.

But, although it may have looked like business as usual, there can be no doubt that fewer people are leaving their homes and taking public transit.

Meanwhile, the TTC partnered with the City of Toronto this week for a plan where some buses will be repurposed to serve as auxiliary medical vehicles.

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