Editorial Archive

Modernizing also means rebuilding confidence, reputation

12/7/12 6:00 AM

The penultimate step in our 10-point plan to modernize the TTC is to rebuild stakeholder confidence.

For a number of reasons, customers, suppliers, politicians and media have lost some of their confidence in the TTC. It is my job to address this and I know this will take time and effort to achieve.

The TTC was once regarded as the envy of North America. That reputation has lost its shine over the years as funding has grown ever tighter and as system reliability has declined with age. Fleet renewal, a new smart card and expanded network capacity, such as the new Spadina Subway Extension, are all good. But rebuilding stakeholder confidence requires more than just new technology.

To truly regain the confidence of our various stakeholders we must deliver on our promises, improve our basic competence as an organization and get radically better at the way we engage and consult with the community.

In recent times, we have on occasions missed deadlines due to unforeseen problems or overly ambitious timelines for projects. Pape Station modernization is a good example of a major makeover that has overrun – there are genuine problems that have had to be overcome, but we have let the community down regardless. Similarly, there have been a run of high-profile incidents that have embarrassed the Commission and the city, which have called our basic competence into question. Finally, we have not always been good neighbours and we have, over time, developed a reputation for insensitivity and a we-know-best mentality – that has to change.

So what are we doing about this?

Firstly, large projects will be subjected to a much more rigorous program management discipline. This will ensure that projects are run to challenging, but realistic timescales with regular, plain-speaking updates to affected parties. Secondly, a back-to-basics approach is being taken to drive up standards in the service we provide, and I will describe that in part 10 of our plan next week. Finally, a dedicated team has been established to professionalize our relationship with community groups, City Councillors and other key stakeholders and to lead genuine, meaningful consultation as we expand and renew our network.

Ultimately, actions speak louder than words. You will judge us over coming months and years as to whether or not there has been sustained improvement in our service, our approach and, ultimately, our reputation.

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