Editorial Archive

Highlights from November’s TTC Board meeting

subway train 11/19/20 6:00 PM

At the TTC Board meeting earlier this week, it was my privilege to welcome back Chair Jaye Robinson after a year away from public duties. It was also my pleasure to welcome Councillor Cynthia Lai to her first meeting as a Commissioner.

I had a chance to speak with Commissioner Lai prior to the meeting about a range of very important issues facing the TTC and this Board, and she has some great perspective to bring to us.

As well, this week’s meeting provided a timely opportunity for Commissioners and the public to hear from Marika Fraser, Manager of Outreach and Diversity in Talent Management. Marika provided a summary of the virtual information session taking place on November 24, which focuses on women interested in the role of Operator and career advancement at the TTC.

I’m excited to be joining Marika and several female colleagues from our organization as a speaker at this virtual event. Our female colleagues will be speaking at the session about upcoming job opportunities as well as their own personal career experiences here at the TTC. While this forum is geared to increasing women in our workforce, everyone is welcome to register for the event, which is promoted at ttc.ca/join.

I provided Commissioners with an update to the staff report they received last June on streetcar and track noise at the intersection of King and Sumach in the Distillery District. It outlined ongoing initiatives to address noise and vibration concerns expressed by neighbourhood residents. This is an issue I’m very familiar with and one we’ve been seeking to remedy through a variety of measures.

Over the past few years, staff and crews from Streetcar Infrastructure and Vehicle Engineering have been working diligently on a number of mitigation initiatives to reduce track and wheel noise to the greatest extent possible.

I advised Board members that we’ve had some reducing noise through rail grinding, increased lubrication from streetcars as well as testing noise dampening rings on streetcar wheels. These custom-fitted rings are on schedule for delivery beginning early in 2021.

And finally, I provided Board members with a brief update on the status of our Master Agreement with PRESTO, which expires in 2027. Although the TTC may choose to enter into its own contract with another service provider, we’re working collaboratively with PRESTO to reset the timelines of their deliverables, including open payment. Board members acknowledged the invaluable efforts of Vice-Chair De Laurentiis on this file.

A report will be presented to the Board with a thorough PRESTO and fare collection update in the new year.

Below are more highlights of Commission decisions approved on November 16.

Please stay safe and stay well.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
November 19, 2020

Commission seal

TTC Board Meeting Highlights (November 2020)

TTC Board Meeting Highlights November 16, 2020

Board welcomes back TTC Chair Robinson and welcome new Commissioner Lai

Commissioners welcomed the return of TTC Chair Jaye Robinson, who made her first appearance since announcing last year that she was taking time away from City Hall to undergo cancer treatment. Board members also welcomed Councillor Cynthia Lai to her first meeting as a TTC Commissioner. Commissioner Lai represents Ward 23 Scarborough North and was appointed to the TTC Board by City Council last month.

Consideration of TTC Operating and Capital Budgets Board members approved a motion from Chair Robinson to direct TTC staff to plan and execute a Special Meeting of the TTC Board in December for the purpose of considering the 2021 TTC Operating and Capital Budgets. The City of Toronto’s Striking Committee considered the 2021 Recommended Schedule of Meetings for the first time on November 13. The TTC’s budget timelines must interface with the City’s 2021 Budget Launch.

Public engagement is an integral part of the TTC’s budget process. In light of the unprecedented financial and logistical challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that the TTC schedules a special TTC Board budget meeting as soon as possible to ensure that members of the public are provided with ample notice and opportunity to participate.

Financial update for period ended October 3, 2020

Commissioners received for information a report updating operating and capital financial results for TTC conventional and Wheel-Trans services for the nine-month period ending on October, as well as projections to the end of 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major financial impact on the TTC, which is expected to reach $791.7 million by year-end, before applying $609.2 million in provincial relief funding and cost containment savings. The Federal-Provincial Safe Restart Agreement recognizes the financial burden of the pandemic and is designed to address financial pressures resulting from reduced revenue and new expenses resulting from COVID-19.

The Province has announced two phases of the funding agreement. Phase 1: Immediate Relief (April-September 2020) is expected to provide up to $404 million to the TTC for eligible COVID-19 financial impacts. The Phase 2: Ongoing Support (October 2020-March 2021) allocation to Toronto is to be confirmed.

TTC Audit and Risk Management Committee member appointed

The Board appointed Commissioner Julie Osborne to the TTC Audit and Risk Management Committee. The appointment fills a vacancy left by the departure of citizen Commissioner Alan Heisey Q.C., effective on November 1. Commissioner Osborne joins Board colleagues Ron Lalonde and Joanne De Laurentiis. The Committee’s next scheduled meeting is on December 15.

Accessibility of future transit stations

Board members approved the following motions from Commissioner Julie Osborne regarding the need for second elevators at interchange stations:
> Direct TTC staff to draft a letter to Metrolinx outlining expectations related to the design of future grade-separated rapid transit stations, specifying that all future TTC-operated station designs, including those with third-party entrances follow current TTC accessibility standards; and all interchange and terminus stations must have two accessible paths to platform, elevators located at different locations, and providing two separate paths to platform and all customer serving levels, including street level.
> Direct TTC staff to request the budget for the design and construction of second elevators at Finch West and Kennedy station in a future capital budget submission.

New members named to ACAT

The TTC Board named five new members to the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT): Gwyneth Danzell, Jonathan Marriott, Craig Nicol, Laurie Sue Robertson and Janice Shachter. They begin their three-year terms on January 1, 2021.

Members completing their terms at the end of the year are: Mazin Aribi (Chair), Anita Dressler, Jessica Geboers, Marian McDonell and Bobbi Moore.

ACAT is comprised of Toronto citizens who advise members of the TTC on difficulties faced by people with disabilities and seniors, and recommends the elimination of barriers to accessible public transit.

TTC Board approves decision to proceed with extended subway closure in December

The TTC Board approved the State of Good Repair: Decision to Proceed with Work report that recommends a 10-day closure of Line 1 Yonge-University, between Finch and SheppardYonge, to accelerate asbestos removal in the tunnel. The closure would begin at approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, December 4 and run through until 4 a.m. Monday, December 14. Full subway service resumes as per regular schedule on December 14.

As a result of the decision, the TTC can finalize arrangements with a third-party contractor to perform large-scale asbestos removal in the tunnels during a period of decreased subway ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A shuttle bus service will run along Yonge Street based on current ridership levels while respecting social distancing wherever possible to do so. The TTC will take advantage of the extended closure to advance ATC signaling installation. TTC staff estimate this extended closure is the equivalent of about 11 weeks of early nightly closures.

Last month, the Board approved a recommendation to delegate authority to the TTC CEO to award a contract worth up to $8 million for asbestos abatement along the affected portion of Line 1 in the event the 10-day subway closure was approved.

Next meeting of the TTC Board

The next scheduled virtual TTC Board Meeting will be on Tuesday, December 15.

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