Toronto Subway Riders to Get Cell Service on Trains After String of Attacks

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September 30, 2023

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(TORONTO) — The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) will begin providing cell service on trains by Oct. 3, according to the Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Francois-Philippe Champagne. 

TTC, a vital part of Toronto’s public transit system, operates a subway network of four lines, 75 stations, and serves over 500 million riders annually. Since early  2023, there have been a number of  violent attacks on the TTC, including random assaults of passengers and violence targetingTTC employees, revealing a pressing need for improved safety measures. 

Among these, better connectivity to receive safety information and call for help. With the extension of cellular service, commuters should be able to experience uninterrupted connectivity. Since opening the TTC in 1921, this will be the first time passengers can access real-time information, including updates on service delays and any potential safety concerns. 

“I use the TTC as my primary form of daily transportation, and it has been frustrating not having access to emails or cell service during my commute,” said university student Ahamad Ashraf.

“As a Rogers customer, I already feel a lot safer knowing that my emergency contacts are readily available, and it seems promising that they plan on offering this service for all passengers.” 

In April, Rogers Communications purchased  exclusive wireless services rights for the TTC through BAI Communications, preventing passengers with any other provider, like Bell or Telus, from accessing cellular service. 

Alongside Mayor Olivia Chow, Champagne announced his devotion to completing this project, during a meeting with several Toronto parliament members, where he reinforced, “Should mobile carriers fail to meet these conditions, I will not shy away from taking further action as appropriate,” Champagne said. “This could include, if they fail to act, imposing mandatory penalties and even suspending or revoking a carrier’s spectrum license.”

Despite the assurances of seamless service, some passengers are wary.  “I take the subway every day, and I think having cell service will be a step in helping the safety issues occurring on the TTC,” said daily commuter Skylar Huibers.. “I do have my doubts because, as of right now, the reception isn’t great. I worry that once everyone starts using it, just like the TTC wifi, it’ll become slower.” 

In a matter of days, commuters will witness, firsthand the performance of the new cellular service, discovering its potential impact on safety during their daily commute. 

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