Editorial Archive

Office of the Chief Executive

Commission seal 10/1/20 6:00 PM

TTC Board Meeting Highlights

It has been a troubling week for Toronto and for the province. We are firmly in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a rise in cases and this week the province recorded its single-day high reaching almost 700 new cases. I cannot emphasize enough that we need to adhere to the guidance from public health and the experts at work and at home. The safety of all our employees and customers is the most important thing for me right now.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a key item discussed at last week’s TTC Board meeting. Last week, I shared a few highlights from the meeting. You can read in more detail what happened at the meeting below. One of the updates at the meeting was the gradual increase in ridership through the global pandemic.

As of this week, daily revenue ridership stands at 37 per cent of pre-COVID levels. There also continues to be a variation in customer boardings by mode. Bus boardings have risen to 51 per cent of normal levels; streetcar boardings are at 38 per cent of normal; and subway boardings are up to 33 per cent.

While we’re still a long way from serving 1.7 million trips, which was our typical daily tally just six months ago, the call-back of remaining Operators is a huge relief to the 110 who’ve already returned, plus the more than 130 who are rejoining the ranks in early October, ahead of the next service board period starting on the 11th of October. This means the return of close to 200 buses to our network since early September.

I’m also pleased to update you on some of the TTC’s achievements with respect to accessibility. Wellesley, Chester and Dupont became our 47th, 48th and 49th accessible stations, with a couple more scheduled to become accessible by year’s end.

This week, we’re also hosting the TTC’s first virtual Forum on Accessible Transit. I’d like to encourage everyone to tune in on October 1. This is the public’s chance to voice their comments and opinions about our service. This year, the forum is virtual due to the pandemic and will be live-streamed, starting at 7 p.m. All are welcome. Details on how to participate are at ttc.ca.

Stay safe and stay well.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
October 1, 2020

TTC Board Meeting Highlights (September 2020)

TTC Board Meeting Highlights September 24, 2020

COVID-19: Restart and Recovery Update

The TTC Board approved the September COVID-19: Restart and Recovery Update report. In doing so, Commissioners adopted the following recommendations:
> Endorse the expenditures of $39.1million for COVID-19-related activities forecasted to December 31, 2020, and provide the CEO delegated authority up to $15 million in order to implement any additional measures necessary to protect health and safety.
> Request the CEO, in partnership with the City of Toronto, to continue engaging the provincial and federal governments to advocate for ongoing operating funding and the development of a sustainable funding model for public transit.

Award of Wheel-Trans Reservations Call Centre Overflow Contract

Board members approved the award of a contract worth $18.8 million to TELUS Communications Inc. for Wheel-Trans Reservations Contact Centre overflow calls. Staff recommendations adopted include a change in the service level for call wait times for the Contact Centre from an average of 15 minutes to a maximum wait time of two minutes.

The contract is for the duration of five years from notification of award, with an option to extend for an additional five years beyond the initial five-year term.

The successful proponent is required to assist the Contact Centre by accepting overflow customer calls and booking trip reservations for Wheel-Trans services. The benefit of establishing the overflow centre is to ensure that call wait times and call abandonment rates are reduced and maintained at acceptable levels set by the TTC.

The number of calls processed by the Reservations Contact Centre continues to be on the rise and the increase in Toronto’s aging population is an important factor to consider given that 74 per cent of Wheel-Trans customers are over the age of 65. In 2019, the Contact Centre received 1,178,036 calls with approximately 2,000 calls handled per day.

PRESTO Annual Update

“Thanks to the outstanding efforts of staff from both organizations, I’m pleased to tell you that this new spirit of collaboration better positions us with a relationship that ultimately will be in the best interests of our customers,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary.

The TTC Board approved the PRESTO Annual Update report. Commissioners approved the principles of an agreement with Metrolinx as well as a recommendation appointing two Board members to the TTC-Metrolinx PRESTO Joint Advisory Group to improve consultation and oversight of the PRESTO program. Board members nominated Vice-Chair Joanne De Laurentiis and Commissioner Brad Bradford to the advisory group.

Since the last PRESTO update to the TTC Board in June 2019, the TTC has made major achievements towards the full implementation of PRESTO, including:
> The discontinuation of ticket and token sales at all subway stations, including a change in the role of Station Collectors so that they now work at the fare line to better serve customers;
> PRESTO acceptance on cross boundary and downtown express routes, and on Wheel-Trans vehicles; and
> PRESTO Tickets for one ride, two ride and day pass are widely available at TTC stations and the retail network.

These achievements have contributed to the TTC’s PRESTO adoption rate increasing to as high as 95 per cent in recent months. To achieve full PRESTO adoption and discontinue all legacy fares, the TTC and Metrolinx continue to work towards key milestones to ensure all customers have multiple fare payment options, full access to PRESTO and an overall improved customer experience.
Those are: 
> Implementation of open payment and account-based technology.
> Improved system and device performance and functionality.
> Addressing the lack of PRESTO Tickets/Limited Use Media on surface vehicles as one method of expanding the usability of PRESTO on our system.

The Board also approved the following motions from Commissioners Alan Heisey and Brad Bradford:
> To ensure that the TTC achieves its vision to provide customers a modern, efficient, customer-focused fare collection system, the Board directs the TTC CEO to use the Request for Information process to determine new service providers and technologies, including open payment, being used by transit properties worldwide and how those providers and technologies could benefit the TTC and its customers. The Board directs the CEO to provide a comprehensive report back to the Board with recommendations by Q1 2021.
> TTC Board request the TTC CEO, in collaboration with Metrolinx, to provide an update to the TTC Board on the 2019 request on introducing credit and debit card fare payment methods on PRESTO machines, including an estimated timing from Metrolinx, and explore additional opportunities to advance pilot implementation.

TTC Pension Fund Society Board of Directors appointments

Commissioners approved new TTC staff appointments to the TTC Pension Fund Society Board of Directors. The following appointments fill three vacancies:
> Rick Leary, Chief Executive Officer, as a Director.
> Michelle Jones, Head of Revenue Protection as a Director.
> Anja Schiralli, Director of Employee Services and Systems, as an Observer.

Electronic meetings of TTC Board, Committees extended

Commissioners approved extending virtual Board meetings into 2021 for a period of one year following the termination of the provincial emergency and the termination of the municipal emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next meeting of the TTC Board

The next scheduled virtual TTC Board Meeting will be on Wednesday, October 21.

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