Editorial Archive

Office of the Chief Executive

Commission seal 7/20/20 11:02 AM

Recent funding announcement and Board decisions

Last week, I was happy to learn that the Federal and Provincial governments announced they had reached a deal that will see public transit receive emergency funding support for operations. As everyone knows, we have been hit especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic with a significant drop in ridership and corresponding revenues.

While we don’t have the full details yet, the Prime Minister, the Premier and the Mayor were all clear that public transit is to be one of the recipients of the $19-billion support package. As the country’s largest transit operator, my expectation is we will see our fair share. I look forward to learning more and sharing that news with you when more information is released.

Even with this good news, my continued priority will be to advocate for new funding models and opportunities for the TTC through our intergovernmental relations strategy with the City. We need to ensure we deliver on our major capital projects and State of Good Repair programs; both of which are key to growth and the economic recovery of Toronto.

As you are all aware, the plan to fast track priority bus lanes along five busy corridors across the city cleared an important hurdle at the TTC Board meeting on July 14, 2020.

After hearing numerous public deputations and receiving an extensive presentation, Commissioners unanimously approved the Bus Lane Implementation Plan that would see bus-only lanes in the Eglinton East corridor in the fall and in the Jane Street corridor as early as next spring.

The Plan is now headed to the City’s Executive Committee on July 21 and then to City Council for final approval on July 28.

Another big ticket item on the agenda was the Wheel-Trans Transformation Program that highlights our accomplishments over the past year, including:
> User-experience improvements to the self-booking website.
> New conditional trip matching that selects best mode of transport for Family of Services trips based on the customer’s medical profile.
> Enhanced customer notification.
> Back-of-house improvements to assist our scheduling staff.

As well, coming soon will be a pilot for the Wheel-Trans mobile app involving ACAT members and a group of select customers. Staff will collect feedback before extending the pilot to a larger audience. This new app will allow Wheel-Trans customers to manage and monitor their trips, and it’s fully AODA-compliant.

Board Members also approved the award of contracts worth more than $92 million for easier access elevators and second exits at Donlands and College stations. These subway stations are scheduled to become accessible Q4 2022 and Q4 2023, respectively. By the time the Board meets again in September, new elevators at Chester, Wellesley and Dupont stations will have entered service. Wilson, Runnymede and Bay stations are scheduled to become accessible by year’s end.

During the meeting, I took the opportunity to publicly acknowledge the outstanding work and co-ordination by our crews and staff in Operations as well as Infrastructure and Engineering. Accelerating state-of-good-repair and capital projects during the pandemic is a key part of our restart and recovery plan. Late last month, crews took advantage of the lower ridership levels in the subway and carried out an extended closure on Line 1 Yonge-University. The first two days of the closure (Thursday and Friday) were between Finch and Sheppard-Yonge. The closure was extended down to Eglinton for two more days over the weekend. In the four days and nights, we were able to fast track and complete a ton of infrastructure repairs and installations with minimal customer inconvenience.

Highlights of the ATC resignalling and track work included:
> Completion of 830 feet of cable sleeving at track level.
> Removal of 500 square feet of asbestos in the tunnels from Lawrence to York Mills.
> Installation of station wall panels on northbound side at Finch Station.
> Two pump installations north of Sheppard Station.
> Two switch machine replacements in the tail track at Finch Station.

This was the last meeting scheduled before the summer break so take care of yourselves. Commission meetings resume on September 24.

Thank you for all you do. Stay safe and stay well.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
July 20, 2020

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