Wheel-Trans users left frustrated, scrambling
TTC riders spokesperson Adam Cohoon explains the frustration of Wheel-Trans users who haven’t been able to book rides after a cyberattack.
With Wheel-Trans booking down because of a ransomware attack, private companies are trying to help users get where they need to go. Chris Fox, CP24 Web Content Writer
Published Monday, November 1, 2021 5:52PM EDT
Wheel-Trans users are being told that they can only book new trips for “emergencies only” as the TTC continues to deal with the fallout from a ransomware attack first reported last week.
The hackers were able to take down the TTC’s Vision System used to communicate with vehicle operators as well as a slate of other online systems, including the Wheel-Trans booking portal and various trip-planning apps on the TTC’s website.
While the TTC has said that service has been largely unaffected, a number of Wheel-Trans users say that they have had to cancel appointments and other obligations because they simply can no longer book new rides.
The riders want the TTC to provide them with an alternative way to book rides until the issue is revolved but they say that when they contact the call centre they are usually forced to wait on hold for hours.
“We don’t know when it will be solved. We don’t know whether to cancel the rest of our week and the TTC has just said -Oh no big deal, services are running as normal,'” Wheel-Trans user and TTC riders spokesperson Adam Cohoon told CP24 on Monday afternoon.
TTC officials have said that they are working with police and cybersecurity experts to get services back up and running but they have not provided any timeline.
In the meantime, Wheel-Trans users are being told that new rides cannot be booked “other than for life-sustaining or emergency medical purposes.”
Some regularly scheduled rides continue to be provided to Wheel-Trans users.
“You call in and you may wait two hours and then you plead your case and they sometimes take your information and they say wait and then they call you back and there is no ride,” Cohoon said. “It is very disruptive because all of the taxi services are getting booked and they are expensive and it is not easy to just call and request a ride.”
The TTC has said that it first became aware of the attack on Thursday.
The Wheel-Trans booking portal has been down since Friday.