If you're a regular TTC commuter, you're probably well aware of the frustration of having no cell service while riding the subway.
A 16-year-old was fatally stabbed in an "unprovoked" attack at Keele Station last weekend, leading to public outcry for more to be done to improve safety on the transit system.
So, why is it that after all these years we still don't have reliable cell service on the TTC?
The issue dates back to a decade ago when BAI Communications Inc. built (and still owns) the service infrastructure to enable underground service but Bell, Rogers, and Telus refused to sign a deal with them.
This is according to an online petition from BAI Communications Canada, which also says that Toronto is the only "major" city in Canada that doesn't offer cell service underground.
The lack of a deal has led to limited cell service options for commuters, with many underground subway stations still without any coverage for big provider customers.
According to the TTC's website, Freedom Mobile "became the first wireless service provider to activate its service on our network" in 2015, and their customers have access to cell service in "many TTC stations."
\u201cReminder: Subway riders can call 911, regardless of your carrier in tunnels through the downtown U on Line 1, between Downsview & Vaughan Metropolitan Centre stations, and in open cut areas. We're working to expand 911 coverage to all tunneled sections with carriers.\u201d— TTC Media Relations \ud83d\udcf0\ud83d\ude8c\ud83d\ude8b\ud83d\ude88 (@TTC Media Relations \ud83d\udcf0\ud83d\ude8c\ud83d\ude8b\ud83d\ude88) 1680101822
The TTC also wrote on their Twitter account on Wednesday that subway rides still have access to 911 on many stations on Line 1 and that they're "working to expand 911 coverage to all tunnelled sections with carriers."
Many people, including politicians, took to Twitter and Reddit to express their concerns about the limited options available to stay connected while commuting.
Toronto Mayoral candidate Ana Bailão denounced the issue on her Twitter account on Thursday.
"We need cell service on the TTC, and we needed it yesterday," she wrote. "If elected mayor, I will move city cell phone contracts with Bell, TELUS and Rogers to companies that offer reliable mobile service on the TTC."
\u201cWe need cell service on the TTC and we needed it yesterday. If elected Mayor, I will move City cell phone contracts with @Bell, @TELUS and @Rogers to companies that offer reliable mobile service on the TTC.\u00a0#TOPoli #TTC @TTChelps\u201d— Ana Bail\u00e3o (@Ana Bail\u00e3o) 1680187268
"The regulators need to hammer these companies into compliance on this. Every other major 'world-class' city has cell service in their subways," a Reddit user wrote on a thread discussing the issue.
"This is a public safety issue now and not a nice-to-have."
"It would be great if something did happen that you could call for help for yourself or someone else, or let your loved ones know you are safe when something does happen," another wrote.
One person, who said they moved from Vancouver, was surprised by the limited cell coverage.
"Vancouver has had that for some time," they wrote.
TTC has recently issued a reminder on its Instagram to make use of its "yellow strips" on trains in emergency situations.
"This is the quickest and most effective way to alert us in an emergency," they wrote.
Narcity reached out to representatives from Bell, Rogers and Telus but did not hear back in time for publication.