Editorial Archive

CEO’s Report – May commentary

Commission seal 5/8/20 7:49 PM

On May 13, the TTC Board will hold its first-ever virtual Board meeting. The special meeting is scheduled to begin online at 1 p.m. and streamed live on the Official TTC YouTube Channel as usual.

During the COVID-19 State of Emergency, TTC Board meetings are being conducted by electronic means. Commissioners, TTC staff and the public will be required to participate remotely. These measures are necessary to comply with the need for physical distancing and a Provincial Order that limits public gatherings.

Commissioners will have a full agenda. And the public will of course be able to make deputations by contacting the TTC in the usual manner. Under the circumstances, deputations during the virtual meeting will be by written correspondence or by telephone only.

One key item on the May agenda will be an update on the TTC’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Since the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, the TTC has remained a resilient and reliable option for our riders, and continues to move hundreds of thousands of customers as safely and effectively as possible.

And as the pandemic evolved, the TTC has quickly modified its operations in close collaboration with Toronto Public Health to ensure that we are maintaining a healthy and safe system, preventing the transmission of the virus, managing incidents of worker illness and protecting our most vulnerable riders.

To highlight a few examples, Wheel-Trans is working with the City’s Shelter, Support and Housing Administration and Emergency Medical Services to offer special transport for customers in the shelter system to COVID-19 testing facilities and isolation locations or shelters. Wheel-Trans has also trained 39 dedicated Operators to transport patients who tested positive for COVID-19.

The TTC has partnered with Toronto Paramedic Services to repurpose five decommissioned buses to safely transport both ambulatory and stretcher-bound patients, including those on ventilators. These modified buses can transport three stretcher-bound patients, up to 10 ambulatory patients, plus three paramedics and one driver.

And TTC Special Constables have been working closely with the City’s Streets to Homes program to support those living on the streets and guide the most vulnerable to the best available support facilities.

Our customers have reached out to the TTC in regards to monthly pass refunds. The provincial emergency measures enacted to help flatten the COVID-19 curve effectively changed the travel plans of many customers who had already purchased a monthly pass for March and/or April. We are currently assessing the feasibility of a number of options. As we rely on PRESTO for processing, we are working collaboratively to understand the technical, financial, resourcing and customer impacts. TTC staff is scheduled to report back with a recommendation at the June Board meeting.

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank our employees who participated in a brilliant expression of care and support for GTA healthcare workers on April 30.

Dozens of frontline TTC and GO Transit workers in specially decorated transit vehicles expressed their gratitude in a tribute parade along hospital row on University Avenue.

This was an inspired effort started at the frontline level at the two transit agencies. To enhance the show of appreciation, employees even called upon their family members to paint colourful signs and messages of support that were plastered across the line of buses for all to see and cheer.

The parade was absolutely heart-warming. These are challenging and stressful times that we are working through and transit employees overall have done a tremendous job serving their communities during the pandemic.

And finally, it is my pleasure to salute the TTC Supervisory Honour Guard on reaching their 25th anniversary.

Over the past 25 years, the Honour Guard has proudly carried the TTC’s colours in times of celebration and in times of sorrow. Since forming back in May 1995, they’ve shown tremendous pride in their volunteer duties, and upheld our unwavering traditions of safety, service and courtesy.

The Honour Guard has represented the TTC with absolute dignity by marching in countless ceremonies and parades, including last month’s tribute to healthcare workers. They’ve marched in lock-step with the City’s finest Honour Guards – fire, paramedics and police. They’ve also stood silently and stoically at the funerals of our TTC colleagues.

We can all draw inspiration by their commitment to co-workers and to the public we serve. Their leadership and the example they set as Honour Guard members is what makes the TTC one of the most visible and vital public service organizations in the GTA.

On behalf of the Board, the Executive Team and all employees, I’d like to extend our sincerest gratitude and wish the Honour Guard continued success in the future.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
May 2020

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