Editorial Archive

Office of the Chief Executive

8/21/14 9:00 PM

Opportunities to improve transit in Toronto

Dear Colleagues,

This past Tuesday (August 19), the TTC Board approved a staff report that laid out a suite of fundamental improvements to better the transit service we provide to our customers. These improvements, of course, come with a cost and it will be up to the next City Council to debate their merits and work with other orders of government to find funding to help pay for them.

As CEO, I felt the time was right to bring a report like this forward to our Board as we approach 2015 budget deliberations. It was also important to ensure political leaders understand that there are things the TTC can do, almost immediately, to improve our service.

As was reported by many media outlets, these improvements include accelerating proof-of-payment across the streetcar network beginning in January; approve a two-hour, time-based transfer; implement all day, every day bus service on all routes to match subway hours; enhance the express bus network; expand the Blue Night Network; and offer more frequent off-peak service across bus and streetcar routes.

As transit professionals, you and I both know what we can do today to improve the service on the street for our customers. I am confident that these sweeping, yet basic, improvements will be endorsed by the next City Council. Major mayoral candidates all spoke favourably about the improvements. The debate now becomes how to pay for them. We costed each measure, but it is the role of political leaders to make decisions on how best to pay for them.

Expansion plans and colourful maps tend to get the headlines. And while such plans are important to the future of this great city, the TTC needs to improve basic service today. The City Manager and I have begun meeting with senior public servants at Queen’s Park – Ottawa is next – to make the case for long-term, sustainable funding for the TTC.

Your continued efforts in helping transform the TTC are crucial as we argue for more funding to deliver improved bus and streetcar service, to make our stations and vehicles cleaner, and to reduce crowding as our ridership grows. In short, it is down to each of us to show customers that we’re serious about our vision of being a transit system that makes Toronto proud.

The fact that customers increasingly tell me they have seen improvements strengthens our hand immeasurably in making the case for increased funding for the TTC. Please keep up the good work.

Andy Byford
Chief Executive Officer
August 21, 2014

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