Editorial Archive

CEO’s Report – July commentary

Commission seal 7/5/19 9:27 AM

As host of the 2019 American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) International Rail Rodeo and Conference, the TTC was delighted to welcome 1,500 transit delegates to Toronto last month.

It was a great privilege and opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices with some of our industry’s finest representatives – and to showcase our region’s, indeed our country’s – best public transit system to the world.

Toronto Mayor John Tory and TTC Chair Jaye Robinson brought greetings on behalf of the City and the TTC Board. We also heard from former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm about the importance of public mobility and the changes and challenges facing public transit today.

While the TTC teams performed brilliantly in the APTA International Rail Rodeo, I would like to congratulate San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the Utah Transit Authority from Salt Lake City for finishing with top honours in the maintenance and operating categories, respectively. BART’s team took home the overall championship.

With delegates and participants visiting between June 20 and 26, the economic benefit to the city was calculated at roughly $4.6 million.

And the timing of the conference couldn’t have been better as it gave us the opportunity to remind delegates that Toronto is an NBA Championship city!

With upwards of one million spectators attending the Championship Parade for the Toronto Raptors on June 17, and 100,000 people in Nathan Phillips Square, we proved that Toronto has the best NBA fans and the best transit riders in the world.

The final ridership estimate for parade day was 2.154 million rides, reflecting a 35-per-cent increase from a normal Monday. The number of customers carried broke our all-time, single-day ridership record of two million set during 2002’s World Youth Day Papal Mass at Downsview Air Base (July 26, 2002).

The TTC carries 1.7 million rides on a typical weekday.

Downtown Toronto was a crush of people, and although we were required to close a few stations in the core as a result of overcrowding, from all accounts our staff did extraordinary work under extremely challenging circumstances. Working in partnership with the City, Toronto Police and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, the TTC delivered people where they needed to go, and we did it safely.

We were also proud participants in the festivities. Our supervisory Honour Guard marched in the parade and our vintage GM bus, carrying special guests and their family members, received many waves and cheers along the parade route.

The TTC is proud that we will once again participate in the Underground Freedom Train Ride. For the seventh consecutive year, a midnight train ride, hosted by A Different Booklist bookstore on Bathurst Street, will be held on July 31 to welcome Emancipation Day on August 1. Celebrations include singing, poetry readings and drum playing. The midnight subway ride symbolizes the important role the Underground Railroad played in Canada’s history. The event is open to the public.

The TTC continues to participate with the City of Toronto in ongoing discussions with the Province on the realignment of transit responsibilities between the parties.

As reported to the Board last month through the report, Status Update – Toronto-Ontario Transit Responsibilities Realignment Review, the Province has introduced legislation to upload subway expansion projects from the City and TTC.

Bill 107, Getting Ontario Moving Act, 2019 passed into law by the Ontario Legislature on June 6, 2019. As a result, the Province has the ability to prescribe a rapid transit project as the sole responsibility of Metrolinx. In addition, the Province has the authority to transfer assets, liabilities, rights and obligations related to the project from the City and TTC to Metrolinx, through an Order in Council.

In May 2019, a draft regulation that deems the Ontario Line (formerly the Relief Line South and Relief Line North), Line 2 East Extension and Line 1 North Extension as “sole responsibility” projects of Metrolinx, was posted to the Ontario Regulatory Registry for consultation. The draft regulation, once approved by the Lieutenant Governor through an Order in Council, will come into force once filed. Filing of the regulation is pending.

In discussions with the Province to date, I have reinforced the need to provide clarity to TTC employees and vendors who may be impacted as a result of the legislation. I will be engaging the Province over the next several weeks in order to identify potential implications and opportunities for TTC employees and vendors on the impacted project teams should the regulation take effect.

The role of the TTC in supporting the three subway expansion projects is still under discussion. Options that could be considered include a Service Agreement or other contractual arrangement with the Province, in order to leverage the unique skills, knowledge and experience of the TTC in the delivery of subway infrastructure. Ongoing and future TTC organizational resource requirements are also being assessed by the TTC Executive Team.

I will report to the Board with further information and advice once available. A town hall meeting has been organized for TTC staff who may be impacted, in order to share available information and address questions and concerns.

As previously reported, the TTC has been advised by the Province that they intend to undertake an asset condition assessment of TTC subway infrastructure as part of a third-party open book financial and technical valuation. The Province and its consultant are currently in the process of reviewing TTC documentation, in advance of undertaking on-site asset condition inspection. The on-site inspection is expected to occur over the summer months.

On June 18, 2019, the TTC and the City of Toronto received a letter from Metrolinx concerning the Discounted Double Fare (DDF) Agreement. Executed in 2017 by the TTC, the City and Metrolinx, the three-year Agreement provides discounted fares for customers transferring between GO/UP and the TTC. Under the Agreement, the revenue loss to Metrolinx and the TTC from the reduced fares is fully subsidized by the Province up to a cap of $18.4 million per year.

The purpose of the Agreement is twofold:
> To increase the use of GO/UP services within Toronto.
> To enable seamless customer journeys between the TTC and GO/UP systems, allowing for a transition period while making progress towards broader GTHA fare integration.

Metrolinx advises it now estimates that the program will exceed this financial year’s provincial funding cap by up to $10 million, and that funding may be exhausted as early as October 2019, well ahead of the Agreement’s expiration date of March 31, 2020.

Phil Verster, President and CEO at Metrolinx, is proposing a “sustainable strategy for the continuation of this fare integration initiative, one that does not use a subsidy from the provincial government.” He proposes GO Transit and TTC continue to offer the DDF reduced fare without provincial subsidy starting in October 2019.

If the TTC continues with the program, there could be unanticipated budget pressures for the remainder of 2019, and all of 2020, due to the loss of the provincial subsidy. TTC staff is in discussion with the City and Metrolinx, and will be conducting a detailed cost-benefit analysis. Staff will report to the Board in September with our analysis and seek direction on the future of the program.

In late June, the majority of the 501 Queen streetcar service, the stretch between Humber Loop and Neville Park Loop, became accessible. We are scheduled to have the full route (to Long Branch Loop in the west end) served with accessible streetcars by this fall.

Streetcars returned to the 511 Bathurst route in time for the busy summer season. When available, low-floor streetcar service will supplement our legacy streetcars on this route during the CNE, which gets underway on August 16.

As a result of our continuous monitoring of operating conditions across the network, starting on August 4, the TTC will be introducing service reliability improvements on the following routes: Line 2, 11 Bayview, 15 Evans, 24 Victoria Park, 39 Finch East, 48 Rathburn, 61 Avenue Rd North, 62 Mortimer, 63 Ossington, 64 Main, 73 Royal York, 76 Royal York South, 83 Jones, 88 South Leaside, 120 Calvington, 924 Victoria Park Express, 506 Carlton and 512 St Clair.

At last month’s Council meeting, Toronto Mayor John Tory thanked the TTC’s Transit Enforcement Unit and other first responders for their exemplary service and dedication to duty during last year’s Yonge Street and Danforth tragedies. We are grateful to our Special Constables for demonstrating courage and compassion in extreme circumstances. They were among the many first responders on scene who rushed to assist paramedics and police officers, and provided first aid to the injured.

We recently congratulated our latest group of Rewards and Recognition winners, representing Rail Cars and Shops, Stations, ATC, Plant Maintenance, Wheel-Trans, Transit Control, Subway Infrastructure, and our Bus, Streetcar and Subway transportation departments.

I’m proud to extend a personal thank you to our recipients for outstanding achievements in the categories of Leadership, Customer Service, Safety and Teamwork: Nelson Cabral, Herminio Constantino, Brendan Dean, Weldena Deflorimonte, Jamaal Dickson, Matthew Do Couto, David Freitas, Teresa Gale, Dimaz Ladak, Petronella Lock, Nickesha Luke, Elise McAdam, Tara Mercorillo, Marciano Pascucci, Jacob Passmore, Galen Roberts, Thomas Rotscholl, Trevor Stonehouse and Shari Wills.

I’d also like to publicly welcome and congratulate three new interns to our Graduate Development Intern Leadership Program. This unique program develops the next generation of TTC leaders. Merisha Arulthas is interning in the Customer Management and Service Delivery Program. Joseph Dominicis is interning in the Engineering and Operations Program. And Umair Haider is interning in the Financial Management Program.

The TTC launched the graduate development program in early 2017. The first three interns were introduced to the Board that year. I’m pleased to advise Commissioners that all three did exceptional work and were hired by the TTC. Victor Tang works in Audit, Risk and Compliance. Swasini Sudarsan joined Streetcar Maintenance and Infrastructure Department. And Anastassia Chouryguina is a member of the Customer Development team. We wish them much success in their TTC careers.

The next scheduled TTC Board meeting takes place on September 24. Have a wonderful and safe summer.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
July 2019

Published in the CEO’s Report presented at the July 10, 2019 TTC Board meeting. The full report can be found on the TTC intranet and ttc.ca.

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