Planning ahead in case of TTC strike

In the face of a strike by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Metro’s Ed Drass looks at options for making other plans.

The very idea of a transit strike can raise stress levels — we don’t like our routines threatened. And yet it’s possible to plan ahead in case the subway closes and buses stay at their garages. As of yesterday evening, there is no indication that a TTC work stoppage will occur soon. Talks continue and union leaders promise to give 48 hours warning before a strike begins. Even then, history indicates that Queen’s Park would move quickly to order employees back to work. [Update: The TTC walked off the job without warning at midnight Friday night, April 24 2008.]

Should negotiations break down and we do hear a 48-hour warning, many people will scramble to prepare alternative means of transport. If the deadline passes without the parties announcing a deal, an actual strike would trigger special traffic regulations — previously approved by Toronto city council.
Traffic could be very tough in some locations but past commuters have shown a willingness to stay off the roads — at least for a few days. Discretionary trips like entertainment and shopping can be postponed, perhaps leaving city arteries clearer than expected. Any reduction would aid those with medical and other crucial appointments.

Business ought to be good for taxi drivers during a strike, and strangers may find themselves sharing a cab. Formal ridesharing services are an option, but something that’s best investigated in advance. Check out PickupPal at pickuppal.com, not just for a possible strike but regularly scheduled events too. If you consider joining, spend some time reading the privacy and safety protocols. The site carpool
is worthwhile for commuters, but is apparently not designed for occasional trips.
If your alternative game plan involves bringing a bicycle out of the garage — skip the surprise of a flat tire or rusty chain by getting your two-wheeler serviced now. Spring can be a busy time for bike shops and repairs may require more than 48 hours. Also, waiting until the last minute to buy a helmet could leave you with something outside your price range … or colour.

Transit options would be slim during a strike. Many GO Transit vehicles as well as parking lots are already overcrowded — don’t assume you will find space for yourself, or your car. In response to the recent petition from fed-up passengers, GO has just added a feature to its website showing the average on-time performance of all its trains, plus indicating which runs typically carry “more passengers than seats.” See “Schedules” at gotransit.com.

Some employers may have already devised contingency plans, including temporary shuttles or carpooling measures. Why not inquire now?

You’ll find links and further information at the Facebook group called “TTC Disruptions: Coping.” I created this group earlier this year as a way for riders to exchange tips and advice on alternative routes around any sort of transit delay or closure.

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