In a report to be presented to the board later this week, the head of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) says ridership is still just over half of what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TTC says it counted just over six million weekly rides throughout May.

In his monthly notice, CEO Rick Leary says that’s only 61 per cent of what the transit agency would have expected before the start of the pandemic.

“Ridership trends and recovery continue to be monitored closely, and we anticipate revenue rides will continue to increase across all modes,” Leary said.

“However, some uncertainty remains on whether budgeted customer revenue levels in the second half of the year will be achieved, should there be potential future COVID waves that may require employers to revise their return-to-office arrangements.”

The numbers show monthly pass sales are at roughly 40 per cent of what they were, while frequent riders, who use the system nine times a week or more, only make up 19 per cent of ridership — down from about 32 per cent before.

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Leary notes that fare box revenue through May was tracking nearly $58 million higher than expected, and ridership has steadily risen each month this year.

The CEO says recovery factors include the resumption of special events and festivals and an increase in in-person learning at colleges and universities in Toronto.

“Given the effects of the Omicron variant were not as widespread as originally considered, the province accelerated their reopening plan, gradually easing public health restrictions starting on January 31, with the majority of measures lifted by March,” the report stated.

“These actions helped drive passenger revenue each period, up to an average of 60 per cent of pre -COVID normal for (May).”

TTC updates safety precautions in midst of string of violence

Leary recently commented on various safety measures that have ramped up of late following separate notable incidents of violence at Kipling Station.

On June 17, one woman was deliberately targeted and set on fire in a brazen daytime attack. She succumbed to her injuries.

Last week, an 85-year-old woman was punched in the face and knocked unconscious by a man, who eventually fled the scene. An arrest has not yet been made.

Betty Hasserjian, Chief Safety Officer with the TTC, noted in the report that the customer injury incident rate, or CIIR, is up from last year.

“The CIIR in Q1 2022 was 2.57 injury incidents per one million vehicle boardings — an increase from Q4 2021 (1.62) and the same period last year (1.54),” Hasserjian said.

“The CIIR for Q1 was 15 per cent higher than the four-quarter average rate of 2.23 injury incidents per one million vehicle boardings. The four-quarter average shows a statistically significant upward trend in the CIIR.”

Passengers board a TTC subway at Queen station. CITYNEWS / File / Nick Westoll

According to the report, offences against customers were 1.43 per one million boardings in Q1 2022 — up 10.9 per cent compared to Q4 2021 and a two per cent decrease compared to last year.

Scott Haskill, acting Chief Strategy and Customer Officer, says the TTC continues to deploy additional special constables across its stations.

“Our Community Engagement Unit (CEU) continues to focus on the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness, mental health or addiction issues,” Haskill said.

“We are bringing sustainable solutions that benefit customers and other community stakeholders, as this is a principal factor in the safety of customers and employees during the pandemic.”

The report also highlights an increase in violent incidents against TTC employees (7.0 per 100 employees) — a 22 per cent increase from Q4 2021.