Editorial Archive

Office of the Chief Executive

Commission seal 12/10/20 6:00 PM

2020 in review

Safety. Service. Courtesy. The TTC’s motto has never been more relevant than it has in 2020.

From the beginning of the global pandemic, the TTC has been participating in conference calls with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health to receive the most up-to-date coronavirus data available. Staff has been embedded in the City’s Emergency Operations Centre and actively reporting on several key metrics, including ridership, service delivered and the status of our workforce.

In January, we were one of the first systems in North America, if not the first, to significantly boost cleaning and disinfecting of our public spaces and touch points. And we’ve continually enhanced efforts to keep our system safe and resilient.

Up until March we were carrying our typical 1.7 million riders daily until it became abundantly clear that COVID-19 would change everything. By mid-March, in response to rising positive cases, the Province and City declared a state of emergency and implemented measures to protect the health and well-being of citizens.

Ridership declined by more than 70 per cent, we resorted to rear-door boarding only, stopped accepting cash, tickets and tokens and ceased handing out transfers, among other things.

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our business. At the height of the pandemic we were at our lowest point in ridership, carrying only 15-to-20 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

But we achieved a lot of great things:
> At the start of July, face coverings became mandatory on the TTC, and since July, in partnership with the City's Poverty Reduction Office, we have distributed more than one million masks;
> By the end of September, we had the largest fleet of eBuses in North America and the only property with vehicles from all three builders of long-range electric buses;
> In early October, we launched RapidTO priority bus lanes in the Eglinton East corridor;
> In November, we advanced ATC from Vaughan Metropolitan Centre to Rosedale, completing Phase 3 of the resignalling project; and
> Through the year, we opened four accessible subway stations: Chester, Wellesley, Dupont and Runnymede.

Board meetings went virtual. The Accessible Transit Forum went virtual. The CUTA Conference was virtual. And most recently, two Women as Transit Operators information sessions were held virtually, reaching thousands of potential job candidates.

Today, Toronto and Peel are in the midst of a second lockdown.

While ridership continues to be less than 50 per cent of normal, we continue to move hundreds of thousands of customers around the city on a daily basis. And we’ll continue to run a demand-responsive service plan for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 to get people where they need to be.

Along with its many efforts assisting first responders with COVID-19 relief, the Operations Training Centre has been busy re-training streetcar and subway Operators to prepare for even more bus service early in the New Year.

The 2020 list of accomplishments and challenges is lengthy and the year isn’t over just yet.

Commissioners will meet next week to discuss and vote on a number of major items, including: the TTC’s Plan for Diversity, the Annual Service Plan for 2021 and a review of 2020 subway closures and 2021 forecast.

The following week has Board members gathering again for a special meeting on December 21 to review next year’s budgets.

Stay tuned, stay safe and stay well.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
December 10, 2020

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