The faces of Metrolinx – Part two of photo feature exploring transit workers keeping systems moving amid COVID

This year has been so big, we couldn’t fit it into just one photo-feature. We recently brought you a series of images, focusing in on transit staff who have continued to toil daily, to keep GO Transit vehicles, as well as Metrolinx locations and projects, moving along. Here’s the second part of that report.

For those who usually travel on GO Transit or UP Express, but have been working from home, there may be the usual faces you are now missing.

And even if you are daily still jumping on buses or trains, chances are you aren’t seeing many people you used to sit near.

Revenue Protection Officer Shawn Miller checks the PRESTO card of a Lakeshore West customer on their way to Union Station. Fare inspectors look a little different as a result of COVID-19, equipped with face coverings, goggles, rubber nitrile gloves and hand sanitizer for everyone’s added safety. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Revenue Protection Officer Shawn Miller checks the PRESTO card of a Lakeshore West customer on their way to Union Station. Fare inspectors look a little different as a result of COVID-19, equipped with face coverings, goggles, rubber nitrile gloves and hand sanitizer for everyone’s added safety. (Matt Llewellyn photo)

We recently launched the first part in a photo project to capture some of the transit staff who have never stopped working to keep GO, UP, PRESTO and the many transit expansion and building projects in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region moving forward.

In this second part, we have more faces – many wearing safety coverings – to introduce you to.

You may be missing many people you don’t get to see lately, but these individuals are very much working to keep our lifeline services moving – and getting essential travellers where they need to be.

Inside an UP vehicle.
An UP Express train on its way to Pearson International Airport. As part of Metrolinx commitment to safety, it has taken advantage of the low ridership as a result of COVID-19 to innovate and find new ways to make its customers’ journey even safer and more enjoyable. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image is of a train at night.
A GO train sits idle at the Milton layover yard on a cool morning in September. As a result of ridership dropping by as much as 90 per cent as a result of COVID-19, there is much more equipment parked around the network than at any other time in GO’s 50 plus year history. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A man sits at the controls of a GO train.
Jerome Goncalves, a Bombardier train engineer (Qualified Commuter Train Operator) looks out at the tracks on the Milton line, owned by Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The GO rail network traditionally operated on tracks owned primarily by Canada’s two major commercial railways: Canadian National Railway (CN) and CPR. However, Metrolinx now owns 69 per cent of the GO Train corridor network, and work is already underway to prepare the infrastructure for more passenger rail service in the coming years. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A man works on a train door.
Bombardier Customer Service Ambassador, Paul Stanway checks the doors on the GO train coaches to make sure they’re performing properly before heading out on the rails during the morning rush. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Men sit inside an office.
Commuter Train Operator Daniel Arnott (left), and Customer Service Ambassador Iqbal Singh Sandhu (right) sit inside the Bombardier crew area at the Milton layover yard. They’re performing a job briefing at the start of their shift before heading out for the morning. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image shows a train.
Bombardier Rail Equipment Operator Mike Landry warms up a MotivePower built locomotive in the Milton layover yard. These massive machines are a staggering 129,000 kilograms – that’s equal to the weight of about 71 average cars – and stand an imposing 4.7 meters from rail to roof. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A man sits inside a train.
Bombardier Rail Equipment Operator Mike Landry performs a system check on a GO locomotive before it goes into service. On the dashboard in front is the lever that controls the throttle controls the roughly 5,000 horsepower these locomotives are capable of producing. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
The view outside a moving train.
A GO train pulls into Milton GO in the “push” configuration with cab-car leading and the locomotive at the back pushing the train in to the station. The first Milton line trains rolled into this station back on October 25, 1981. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A man poses from under a bus.
Werner Valnion, GO Transit bus mechanic does an oil change on an MCI GO bus at the Streetsville garage and maintenance facility. GO mechanics replaces an average of 175,000 litres of oil every year. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image shows a man working on an engine.
Werner Valnion, GO Transit bus mechanic, looks into the engine bay of an MCI GO bus at the Streetsville garage and maintenance facility after performing an oil change. GO Transit replaces approximately 2,870 oil filters annually for Cummins ISL, ISX, ISM and Detroit diesel engines. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image shows a man working on a bus.
A GO bus mechanic does some preventative maintenance on an Alexander Dennis Enviro 500 double-decker bus at the Streetsville bus maintenance facility. Among the fluids that will be topped up is windshield cleaner. GO buses used approximately 24,000 liters in the last 12 months. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image shows three buses.
All three generations of GO bus sit parked in a row inside the Streetsville bus garage and maintenance facility. Far right is the Alexander Dennis Enviro500 ‘SuperLo’; in the middle is the the Alexander Dennis Enviro500 which is half a foot taller than its SuperLo counterpart; on the far right is the MCI D4500CT. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A man works at a bench.
GO bus mechanic Navitharan [Navi] Nadarajah prepares his workstation for a brake replacement on an older MCI single level GO bus. Each year, these mechanics replace roughly 575 sets of brakes on the GO bus fleet. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A bag sits on a work bench.
A Metrolinx care package sits on the work bench of a GO bus mechanic inside the Streetsville bus garage and maintenance facility. The provincial transit agency has handed out more than 5,000 of these packages in the first few months of the pandemic, which include face-coverings, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A man works on a bus.
GO Transit bus mechanic, Richard DeMello works on the suspension of an MCI GO bus. Each vehicle in the fleet is inspected at least every 20,000 km. For buses that have been in service more than 11 years, they’re inspected at least every 12,000 km. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Men talk among themselves.
Ed Pavlovic (left), mechanic David Madio (centre) and Dennis Campbell (right) chat at the parts desk inside the GO bus facility in Streetsville. Just the parts desk at your local car dealership, these workers are responsible for ordering and inventory of the parts needed to keep the GO bus fleet operating safely. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A woman sits at the driver's seat of a bus.
GO bus driver Sherry William buckles up her seatbelts and begins the starting sequence of her double-decker bus in Mississauga. Prior to COVID-19, GO buses logged more than 50 million kilometres annually. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A worker scrubs the inside of a bus.
Linburg James wipes down the grab rail inside a GO bus at the Streetsville Maintenance Facility. While Metrolinx has always disinfected vehicles and stations daily, it has stepped up the frequency to ensure all high touch surfaces are cleaned regularly throughout the day. (Matt Llewellyn photo)  
A man rolls a tire along.
Zoran Stanojevic works in the tire shop at the Streetsville bus garage and maintenance facility. This shop replaces and retreads a combination of 305, 315 and 355 sized all-season commercial tires. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A man works on a tire.
Zoran Stanojevic prepares a tire to be placed on a rim inside the tire shop at the Streetsville GO bus garage and maintenance facility. On average, the GO bus fleet goes through roughly 4,500 tires a year. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A woman stares at a bus.
GO bus driver Kim McDonald does a pre-trip inspection inside a bus facility in Streetsville, Mississauga. In addition to prechecks and strict scheduled maintenance schedules, MTO inspections are also completed every six months. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A woman checks out a bus.
Driver Kim McDonald checks the tires and wheel wells of a GO bus during a pre-check inspection. Before COVID-19, the GO bus fleet logged more than 50 million kilometres annually, and since 1990 on average, reported fewer than two collisions per month. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A man sits behind the wheel of a bus.
Hamilton GO bus driver Casimir D’Souza sits in the driver seat of a double-decker bus. GO Transit has some of the highest safety standards in North America. All drivers go through a rigorous seven-and-a-half week accredited bus driver training program. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
People wait inside a room.
GO bus drivers wait to be deployed inside the Streetsville bus maintenance and storage facility. As a result of COVID-19, Metrolinx conducted a massive safety assessment of every space where customers visit and staff work to determine how many people can safely gather in a single area. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
The scene inside Hamilton GO station.
In order to promote physical distancing and to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Metrolinx took the extraordinary step of closing off seating areas and removing benches from many stations around the GO Transit network. In Hamilton, what is usually the bustling centre of the station is now completely blocked off to customers. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image shows an empty bench.
Burlington GO station along the Lakeshore West line during an eerily quiet weekday morning rush hour in September 2020. During COVID-19, ridership dropped by as much as 90 per cent. Pre-pandemic, GO Transit carried more than 70 million riders annually. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image shows a pedestrian tunnel.
A customer walks through a tunnel at Burlington GO station along the Lakeshore West line. As part of its COVID-19 education efforts, Metrolinx launched a “Safety Never Stops” campaign. The transit agency says “Safety Never Stops” isn’t a slogan for its team – it’s a commitment: Every day. Every train. Every bus. Every trip. Everyone. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image shows customers on the platform.
Customers depart from a Lakeshore East train at Union Station. Throughout the pandemic, Metrolinx has been closely monitoring ridership and is making every effort to adjust services, giving customers space to spread out. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A couple walks along a platform.
A couple walks along a Union Station platform during a weekday rush hour on a September afternoon. Before COVID-19, at least 91 per cent of train ridership was to and from Union Station, while about 33 per cent of all bus passengers travelled to and from the City of Toronto. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A man cleans on a platform.
Jalal Lazer cleans a handrail at platform level inside Union Station. Metrolinx has always disinfected its vehicles and stations daily, but they have stepped-up the frequency to ensure all high touch surfaces are cleaned regularly throughout the day. (Matt Llewellyn photo)  
Two men clean hand rails.
William Wells (left) and Jalal Lazer (right) clean handrails inside Union Station. Wearing a face covering is essential to stopping the spread of germs, and one of the best ways that GO customers can help keep each other safe, especially in areas where physical distancing is not always possible. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image shows two men cleaning.
William Wells (left) and Jalal Lazer (right) wipe down high touch surfaces along platforms inside the Union Station train shed. In addition to the daily disinfecting of trains, buses and stations and all surfaces customers commonly touch – such as handles, buttons, railings, armrests and fare devices - are being given extra attention and cleaned throughout the day. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A man secures a support line onto his belt.
Farzad Amirrajab ensures his safety harness is properly secured and connected before ascending into the rafters of York West Teamway. As Union Station prepares for a significant new section to be redeveloped and upgraded, there’s still plenty of day-to-day maintenance that needs to be completed. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Customers are served at a window.
Guest Services Representative, Phyllis Helbert, serves a customer at a ticket window inside Union Station’s York Concourse. Back in March, Metrolinx stopped collecting cash payment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers can still use their debit and credit cards to purchase their tickets, as well as top-up their PRESTO cards. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A customer is served at a window.
Guest Services Representative, Phyllis Helbert, speaks to a GO train customer inside York Concourse at Union Station. Metrolinx has implemented dozens of safety changes to cope with the new COVID-19 reality, including a new policy mandating customers and staff wear face coverings at all times. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image shows a man holding a mask that is wrapped up.
Bombardier Guest Services Representative Ismail Bhikha sells GO and Metrolinx branded face-coverings at the UP Express ticket counter. Within four weeks of launching the sale of these reusable face covering, Metrolinx, sold approximately 1,000 of them, raising very close to $2,000 for the United Way. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A worker cleans on the UP platform.
Barbara Verge wipes down a handrail inside the UP Express terminal inside Union Station. This past summer, Metrolinx moved station ambassadors out from behind the ticket window to help keep stations clean by frequently wiping down high-traffic touch points, including door handles, handrails, fare devices and countertops. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
A woman sits at a desk.
Comfort Osei-Yeboah, Guest Services Representative [GSR] at UP Express, waits to greet customers at the Pearson Airport terminal. While there are fewer international travellers these days, the entire GSR team can communicate effectively in three or more languages – with a total of 23 languages combined. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
The inside of the UP terminal is shown.
The UP Express terminal at Pearson International Airport. To help keep everyone healthy and safe, Metrolinx has identified more than 50 strategies, most of which are permanent actions that customers will see when they return to the service. (Matt Llewellyn photo)
Image shows the UP platform.
UP Express customers on the platform at Bloor Station. Since launching back on June 6, 2015, UP Express moved more than 15-million people. To be exact, there were 15,147,132 fares purchased as of the beginning of April 2020. (Matt Llewellyn photo)