Home Ventilation system Calgary Transit cuts service due to Omicron

Calgary Transit cuts service due to Omicron

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From Monday morning, several routes in the city will be temporarily modified to meet staffing shortages

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Calgary Transit is reducing service by about 10% and adjusting a number of routes across the city this week as dozens of transit operators are sick or in isolation due to COVID-19.

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Starting Monday morning, several routes around the city will be temporarily changed to address staffing shortages caused by the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant, a notice from Calgary Transit said.

Calgary Transit spokesman Stephen Tauro said less than 100 operators were out of service at the start of the week, but absenteeism is expected to increase further. The transit system was struggling to keep up with its schedule last week, reporting service disruptions due to understaffing.

Transit riders are encouraged to use the online bus timetable tool to double-check when their bus is expected to arrive, Tauro said in a statement Sunday.

“To minimize negative impacts on customers, the adjustments will be distributed throughout the system,” Tauro said. “Monday’s changes will not impact all routes and schedules, but for some journeys on some routes, some customers will experience longer wait times.”

The temporary changes beginning Monday will reduce service by about 10%, Tauro said, noting that ridership remains less than half of what the system accommodated before the pandemic spread to Alberta.

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Mike Mahar, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 583, said Calgary Transit is experiencing the highest level of absenteeism he’s seen during the pandemic and his years with the city.

“It’s off the charts,” Mahar said over the phone Sunday. “This is the highest we have seen during the pandemic of around 35% or more. And that’s more than double what we would see before the pandemic, even during a normal cold and flu season, which is usually when we would see the highest rate of absenteeism.

Transit workers are currently under tremendous stress, Mahar said. Between their commitment to cover overtime, the big changes to their usual weekly schedule and the overall concern over exposure to COVID-19, he said there was increasing pressure on a system that was already under strain. extreme pressure.

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“I think it’s remarkable how dedicated these employees really are, as this is the third or fourth time we’ve had major upheavals like this. The only difference this time is that it is the result of a shortage of staff versus a drop in demand,” Mahar said.

The reduction in service will also lead to some overcrowding on buses, making the small, poorly ventilated space more at risk of transmission, Mahar said.

“This variant is so contagious and they don’t have a ventilation system,” he said.

Calgary Transit encourages people to check online for the most up-to-date schedules before leaving.

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Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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