Editorial Archive

CEO’s Report – December commentary

Commission seal 12/9/20 6:00 PM

I would like to begin this month’s commentary by expressing my appreciation and thanks to the members of the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) who are completing their terms at the end of the year. My thanks to: Anita Dressler, Jessica Geboers, Marian McDonell, Bobbi Moore and Chair Mazin Aribi.

All have provided invaluable insights on the challenges faced by seniors and people with disabilities, as well as recommendations for eliminating barriers to accessible public transit.

I am pleased to welcome ACAT’s new members who will start their three-year terms on January 1. They are: Gwyneth Danzell, Jonathan Marriott, Craig Nicol, Laurie Sue Robertson and Janice Shachter.

2021 Service Plan
TTC Board members will have a full agenda at their next meeting in December. Among the action items for approval is the 2021 Annual Service Plan.

The 2021 Plan outlines our transit service vision and priorities for the upcoming year. Our goal is to continue to respond to customers’ dynamic and evolving demand for public transit service by:
> Sustaining demand-responsive service to continue providing flexibility and protection against a resurgence of COVID-19;
> Improving regular scheduled service to optimize capacity, improve reliability and address customer travel patterns; and
> Advancing key strategic initiatives, including surface transit priority measures, service integration with neighbouring transit agencies and piloting an automated shuttle service.

We are confident that the Plan will continue addressing customer demand while pushing forward with improvements that provide both immediate and long-term benefits for our customers, city and region.

The global pandemic has impacted the lives of all residents in Toronto and beyond. And while demand for public transit has decreased significantly, we recognize that safe, accessible and reliable public transit service is critical to the recovery and prosperity of our great city, and an absolute necessity to people who depend on transit for their essential trips to work, school or medical appointments.

Diversity and inclusion
As CEO, it’s my job to ensure the TTC is attracting talent and skill from all corners of the region. This includes people from groups that have, for far too long, been underrepresented in public transit in Toronto. This is essential to ensure we are promoting a culture of respect, equity and fairness within the organization.

On November 24, the TTC’s Talent Management team hosted a virtual information session focused on women interested in the role of Operator, and career advancement at the TTC.

I was proud to be on the guest speaker’s list with several women colleagues from within the company. We shared our career experiences and the TTC’s plans for attracting and developing a diverse and qualified workforce.

The event was widely advertised, and with the help of numerous community partners, 3,000 people pre-registered for the session with a hundreds of people being added to a waitlist. It was a tremendous turnout. So much so that a second information session will be held on December 10. While this second virtual session will also be geared to increasing women in our workforce, everyone is once again welcome to register for the event, which is promoted at ttc.ca/join.

Subway infrastructure
The modernization of our subway signalling system hit a big milestone in November.

With the completion of the fourth phase of installation, Automatic Train Control (ATC) signalling is now fully activated from Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station, around the downtown “U” and all the way up to Rosedale Station. ATC now covers about 75 per cent of Line 1.

Signalling system upgrades will allow the TTC to improve existing service and customer flow, resulting in tangible benefits to our riders. In addition to reducing signal-related delays, ATC increases the safety of the subway and improves travel times. The ATC project team did an incredible job co-ordinating and executing this extension, while Safety and the Operations Training Centre were highly involved in preparation activities leading up to the cutover weekend.

Taking ATC through the Yonge side of the downtown “U” is a major stepping stone for this project and for customers travelling in this area. Along with the improved reliability that modernization brings, we will also be able to take advantage of an additional track turn-back location near College Station, which provides more flexibility in the event of an operational issue on the line.

I’m also grateful for the safe and tremendous work by staff and crews in the Infrastructure and Engineering Group – and the collaboration from numerous departments and teams in Operations and Vehicles – on completing this phase of ATC construction, as scheduled.

This is a huge piece of work and it’s hard to capture and thank all the groups that made this happen – from Transit Control, Vehicles, Subway Operations, Closures and Diversions, Communications and Strategy & Customer Experience – the list is long. I’d like to thank all employees for their skill and commitment to advancing this project and our service.

And speaking of advancing projects, in December we began an extended subway closure on Line 1 starting at approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, December 4 and running through until 4 a.m. on Monday, December 14. The closure extends from Finch to Sheppard-Yonge stations to perform large-scale asbestos removal and advance ATC resignalling work.

The closure is taking place in two phases:
> The first phase will run for seven days between Finch and Sheppard-Yonge stations, ending on Friday, December 11 at the end of service.
> The second phase will see the closure extend from Finch Station to St Clair Station on the weekend of December 12-13.

Regular service will resume across the system by 6 a.m. on Monday, December 14, 2020.

The TTC is using the opportunity of reduced ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic to carry out this much-needed work, saving more than two years of early nightly closure shifts. During the closure, crews will be performing vital state-of-good-repair work, including tunnel lining repairs, track remediation, asbestos removal and station cleaning, as well as ATC signal upgrades.

Best wishes for the holidays
As a result of the pandemic, this year, for the first time in many years, the TTC will not be providing free rides on New Year’s Eve. We hope to bring back this popular tradition with the support of our fine friends and sponsor at Corby Spirit and Wine next year.

And finally, as we approach the holiday season, I would like to thank all of our employees for their steadfast commitment and dedication to the TTC, and for ensuring the ever-important job of safety, service and courtesy to our customers. I am incredibly proud of this organization and all the people who work tirelessly for the citizens of Toronto – morning, noon and night.

I would also like to extend thanks from the TTC’s Executive Team and senior management to Chair Robinson and Vice-Chair De Laurentiis and Commissioners for their support throughout this most difficult year.

The next scheduled Board meeting takes place on Tuesday, December 15. The final Board meeting of the year will be a Special meeting on Monday, December 21 when staff present the TTC’s budgets for 2021.

Season’s Greetings to everyone and I hope that time spent with loved ones in your household is cherished and filled with joy and good health.

Happy holidays and a safe new year to all!

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
December 2020

Latest News

 New Corporate Plan cover

TTC Corporate Plan 2018-2022

Advancing to the next level.

Corporate Notice

COVID-19 positive tests update.

From the TTC Chair

Special message to all employees.

In Memoriam

Alati, Fiaoni, Proietti, Pullon.

The Coupler wants to keep you connected

The Coupler invites all employees and pensioners to sign up for TTC news and headlines via our mailbox at coupler@ttc.ca. Simply send us an e-mail request from your personal e-mail address and include your full name, badge number or pensioner number and work location or home address. Note: personal information is for verification purposes only. Please call Senior Communications Advisor/Editor Mike DeToma at 416-393-3793, or e-mail mike.detoma@ttc.ca, for more information.