The TTC has implemented its latest step to combat rising case counts in Toronto, vehicles going into service with their windows open as of this past weekend to improve ventilation on increasingly packed routes.
Some are welcoming the move to make public transit a little bit safer in the face of the new Omicron threat, but not everyone is happy about having to wait for the TTC in sub-zero temperatures only to board a frigid bus or streetcar.
Passengers tonight pic.twitter.com/XZ7uM5x5iT
— Anees WAHLA (@AnisWahla) December 20, 2021
Twitter has been lit up with a flood of complaints, many passengers seemingly more worried about their own comfort than health or safety.
Do TTC and John Tory lost their minds? With minus-12 outside, inside a bus is worse. Do they know hypothermia can get you frosbite and endanger your life in less than 5 minutes even with layers. Get back 2,200 drivers fired, more buses. You’ll kill us before Covid
— Juan Carlos Cordero (@jccordero28) December 20, 2021
Of course, there are some more valid concerns, including heightened risks for people who can’t afford warm clothing.
I can’t even begin to grasp how a panel sat down to discuss this idea and actually agreed to implement it.
Do they realize some ppl don’t own a warm jacket? Getting on a warm bus is a relief. People with wet hair. Add pneumonia to the list of things you can catch.
— Don (@TypeToSnipe) December 20, 2021
One commenter points out that people with existing illness and respiratory issues may not react well to prolonged cold.
@TTChelps @ttcriders @cityoftoronto TTc should not leave the bus and trains windows open to help the ventilation of air in cars.
This makes riders sick and escalates flue and respiratory problem in this very cold weather.
TTC should install antiviral disinfectant active filters.
— B. Mansouri (@BMansouri6) December 20, 2021
Stuart Green, Senior Communications Specialist for the TTC, recognizes that passengers will always have the option to close windows, and hopes that vehicles’ heating systems will be able to close some of the comfort gap.
No. Although customers may make those decisions on their own and close windows.HVAC will hopefully compensate as best it can. This is not our normal practice. But obviously these are not normal times.
— TTCStuart 🚈🗣️ (@TTCStuart) December 18, 2021
The TTC has been facing pressure from union members and leaders throughout the pandemic, and these same voices are painting this as another misstep.
Like with just about every other public move the transit agency makes, union leaders are using the open windows measure as a springboard to put the heat on TTC executives.
The TTC Board, Rick Leary, and @JohnTory should all be held accountable for their absolute reckless and irresponsible approach to this pandemic. Opening windows on over crowed buses will reduce the spread of OMICRON???? @blogTO @CBCNews @CTVNews @CP24 @TorontoStar @globalnews
— Manny Sforza (@MannySforza) December 19, 2021
Some riders seem to think little of the latest move, instead pressuring the TTC to focus on enforcing its mask policy.
How about stop letting customers on who aren’t wearing masks, if you can’t wear one then you probably shouldn’t be on a crowded public transit during a global pandemic
— Daymon4u (@thebigguy86) December 20, 2021
It may seem tolerable for transit riders on these milder December days, but complaints could get a whole lot louder the next time temperatures dip into the negative double digits.