Metrolinx has been forced to adjust train and bus services to mitigate Omicron-related staff shortages.
“Frontline teams for the transit agency are now averaging 20 to 30 per cent fewer staff each day,” spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said on the transit agency’s website. “This means there are fewer employees available to operate trains, to drive buses, to maintain and clean the vehicles, or to ensure adequate customer protection services are available when needed.”
Given the rapid transmission of this variant, the absenteeism level at Metrolinx is expected to increase over the next few weeks, so proactive mitigation measures are necessary to protect critical transit services, explained Aikins.
Metrolinx will be decreasing service across the network by approximately 15 per cent. Whenever possible, hourly frequency or better service will be maintained.
This is similar to what transit agencies – as well as many other services – are facing across the globe, Aikins noted.
According to Aikins, Metrolinx staff are being very strategic to spread out the cancellations across the system. There are no changes to the 30-minute UP Express service. However, cancelled trains will not always be able to be replaced by buses as every part of the business is affected by high absenteeism.
New schedules are available at gotransit.com/fullschedules.
Customers can stay in the know about schedule changes, cancellations and trip adjustments by signing up for On The GO Alerts or checking their bus or train line’s Twitter handle.
Metrolinx is providing N95 masks and rapid test kits for the frontline staff to keep them and the public safe.