Crowding on Thunder Bay buses puts transit workers at risk, union president says
'Non-essential transit users are crowding our Thunder Bay buses and it needs to stop', says Ken Koza
The president of the union representing workers with Thunder Bay Transit is raising concerns about the safety of his membership and feels the crowding on buses in the northwestern Ontario city is putting drivers and other employees at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Non-essential transit users are crowding our Thunder Bay buses and it needs to stop," said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 966 President Ken Koza in a written release Thursday
"We need transit users to practice social distancing as recommended by health care officials and not to ride the bus if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Transit has signage all over buses to provide the information transit users need to safely ride the bus."
Koza said he feels that transit workers are risking their health and safety as they continue to provide the city with access to transit, which is an essential service.
The city made Thunder Bay Transit rides free as of March 21 as a way of limiting person-to-person interaction on transit. Passengers are also asked to board buses from the back door, and have been asked to social distance from drivers and other riders.
'Not the time to be riding a bus for something to do'
"There are some groups of people and individuals that are taking advantage of the free rides. Free rides and other safety measures have been implemented to protect the health and safety of the public and transit workers."
Koza is reminding transit users to "do their part" to protect themselves and transit workers during this time.
"We are in unprecedented, fragile times right now and we need everyone to do their part. This is not the time to be riding a bus for something to do or hang out in. We want to be there for the ones that really, really need us."