The post-LRT bus service change cancelled one of the bus routes Rob Maybee used to be able to take, and reduced service on another, in addition to the extra transfer and leg of train travel for which he now has to account.
—This week, this newspaper decided to spend several days during rush hour along the Confederation Line, talking to passengers and riding the rails. The following pieces profile just a few of the countless transit users with stories to tell about commuting on the Confederation Line. If you have one of your own that you’d like to share, please get in touch at email@example.com.
When Rob Maybee wakes up for his commute to work, he’s usually managed to catch about five hours of shut-eye.
The overnight shift worker rises around 2:30 p.m. to catch a Route 40 bus from Elmvale Acres to St. Laurent Station at 4 p.m. Once at St. Laurent, he takes a light-rail train to the Confederation Line’s eastern terminus at Blair Station. He and hundreds of others hop off the train and hustle down to the street-level bus platform in the hopes of claiming a spot on one of the eastbound buses that are often packed to the brim, forcing would-be passengers to wait for the next bus on their route to show up — if it does at all.
While most commuters at Blair are finishing their workday and heading home, Maybee is gearing up for a 10 to 12-hour shift as a supervisor at a Trim Road manufacturing facility. Once he manages to board a bus for the final leg of his commute, he’ll hopefully make it to work at least a half hour before his 6:30 p.m. start so he has time to prepare his staffing plan for the shift. When he finishes his workday at 5 a.m., it’s time for another 90-plus minutes in transit — if he’s lucky — to get home, sleep, and do it all over again.
“I’m out of the house upwards almost 15, 16 hours a day,” said Maybee, 43. “You run on five hours sleep — by the end of the week, I’m just exhausted. My weekend’s pretty much shot, trying to catch up.”
It wasn’t always like this. Before the September opening of the Confederation Line, Maybee said his commute took two buses and 45 minutes, even on the busiest day. The post-LRT bus service change cancelled one of the bus routes he used to be able to take, and reduced service on another, in addition to the extra transfer and leg of train travel for which he now has to account.
“It’s a huge difference,” said Maybee. And he feels it. With a job where he’s overseeing multiple people and spends most of the night on his feet, five hours of sleep isn’t really cutting it.
“I’m sure one of these days it will come to — I miss something major, or I may not even wake up for work just because I’m so tired.”
In addition to his sleep schedule, his new commuting routine is affecting his wallet. Once or twice a month, whether due to bus cancellations or LRT service outages, he has to ditch transit and call an Uber to get to work on time.
“I’ve got staff that are waiting for me,” he said. “I can’t call them like an hour before to say, ‘I’m not coming because of the trains.’ I have to go to work, I have to suck it up and pay the 20 bucks for an Uber.”
Now spending about $50 a month on ride-hailing services on top of his transit pass, Maybee said he’s compelled to consider an option he can’t really afford – buying a vehicle.
Born and raised in Ottawa, he’s mostly relied on transit since he was a teenager. But, in recent months, the prospect of ditching OC Transpo has grown increasingly tempting.
“I’m getting tired of dealing with this,” Maybee said. “It’d be a lot easier to just get a bit more sleep and be able to get to work every day.”
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U.S. health regulators said late Friday that kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appear highly effective at preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and caused no unexpected safety issues, as the country weighs beginning vaccinations in youngsters.
The Food and Drug Administration posted its analysis of Pfizer’s data ahead of a public meeting next week to debate whether the shots are ready for the nation’s roughly 28 million children ages 5 to 11. The agency will ask a panel of outside vaccine experts to vote on that question.
In their analysis, FDA scientists concluded that in almost every scenario the vaccine’s benefit for preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19 would outweigh any serious potential side effects in children. But agency reviewers stopped short of calling for Pfizer’s shot to be authorized.
The agency will put that question to its panel of independent advisers next Tuesday and weigh their advice before making its own decision.
U.S. children could begin vaccinations next month
If the FDA authorizes the shots, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make additional recommendations on who should receive them the first week of November. Children could begin vaccinations early next month — with the first youngsters in line fully protected by Christmas.
Full-strength Pfizer shots already are recommended for anyone 12 or older, but pediatricians and many parents are anxiously awaiting protection for younger children to stem infections from the extra-contagious delta variant and help keep kids in school.
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The FDA review affirmed results from Pfizer posted earlier in the day showing the two-dose shot was nearly 91 per cent effective at preventing symptomatic infection in young children. Researchers calculated the figure based on 16 COVID-19 cases in youngsters given dummy shots versus three cases among vaccinated children. There were no severe illnesses reported among any of the youngsters, but the vaccinated ones had much milder symptoms than their unvaccinated counterparts.
Most of the study data was collected in the U.S. during August and September, when the delta variant had become the dominant COVID-19 strain.
No new side effects
The FDA review found no new or unexpected side effects, which mostly consisted of sore arms, fever or achiness that teens experience.
However, FDA scientists noted that the study wasn’t large enough to detect extremely rare side effects, including myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation that occasionally occurs after the second dose.
The agency used statistical modelling to try to predict how many hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 the vaccine would prevent versus the number of potential heart side effects it might cause. In four scenarios of the pandemic, the vaccine clearly prevented more hospitalizations than would be expected from the heart side effect. Only when virus cases were extremely low would the vaccine cause more hospitalizations than it would prevent. But overall, regulators concluded that the vaccine’s protective benefits “would clearly outweigh” its risks.
While children run a lower risk of severe illness or death than older people, COVID-19 has killed more than 630 Americans 18 and under, according to the CDC. Nearly 6.2 million children have been infected with the coronavirus, more than 1.1 million in the last six weeks as the delta variant surged, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.
The Biden administration has purchased enough kid-size doses — in special orange-capped vials to distinguish them from adult vaccine — for the nation’s 5- to 11-year-olds. If the vaccine is cleared, millions of doses will be promptly shipped around the country, along with kid-size needles.
More than 25,000 pediatricians and primary care providers already have signed up to get the shots into little arms.
Edward Rogers’ role as Blue Jays chair unchanged amid changes atop RCI – Sportsnet.ca
TORONTO — Edward Rogers’ roles as chair of the Toronto Blue Jays and control person with Major League Baseball are unaffected by this week’s manoeuvrings that led to his removal as board chair of parent company Rogers Communications Inc., according to two industry sources.
Whether fallout from the power struggle atop the telecom giant, which also owns Sportsnet, might eventually reach the club is unclear. Last week, Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said the team was “about a month away” from presenting its off-season plan during a final payroll meeting with ownership, and expressed confidence that its long-term strategic objectives would remain on track.
“Every indication I’ve received and every indication that we’ve been shown … leads me to believe that we will stay on plan and the payroll will continue to rise despite the fact that we’re still lagging behind a little bit in revenues due to (the pandemic),” Shapiro said.
Those comments came before news broke that John MacDonald, a member of the Rogers Board of Directors since 2012, had assumed the chairman role in place of Edward Rogers, who according to media reports had sought to oust company CEO Joe Natale.
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At this point, the sources said the developments aren’t expected to impact a winter of opportunity for the Blue Jays, who are seeking to augment a club that missed the post-season by one game and are about to see top performers Marcus Semien, Robbie Ray and Steven Matz hit free agency.
Shapiro is close with Edward Rogers, who as chair is the top officer of the club. He is also the control person, a role each of the 30 MLB teams assigns to represent the interests of that ownership.
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