The city of Toronto plays host to one of the most vibrant business hubs and service industries in the country, drawing in millions of local residents and commuters. For many of the people fueling the city’s economy, a trip on the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) is part of their daily routine.
City councillor and health board chair Joe Mihevc is calling for the TTC to back a study that will help determine the air quality of the underground portion of its services. A similar study from 2010 and 2011 revealed worrying data that “likened it to breathing the air in China’s capital, Beijing.”
The CEO of TTC, Andy Byford, dismissed those findings and claimed that the commission would conduct its own report later this year. Mihevc, however, wants the city’s medical officer to oversee an independent study.
“We need to understand what, if any, respiratory and other health impacts may result from the particles [mentioned in the 2010-11 report] for passengers on platforms and in trains,” said the councillor. He also stated the necessity for the TTC to understand the risk posed to its employees.
The need for a new study derives from upgrades the TTC has installed since the latest report, including better ventilation systems in subway cars. Despite the fact that Byford now says the TTC “is exceeding targets” related to cleanliness, the impartial oversight sought by Mihevc would add legitimacy to the findings, which frequent subway users would no doubt appreciate.