Editorial Archive

Managing subway delays requires better, more timely info to customers

2/22/13 6:00 AM

Last week saw a disruption on the Yonge Line when we experienced problems near Lawrence Station.

This incident occurred just as the afternoon rush hour was building and it meant that we had to suspend train movement between Eglinton and York Mills Stations while crews accessed the tunnel to fix the problem.

Given the time of day, it was inevitable that a lot of customers would be affected so a number of TTC executives and I left our offices at Davisville Station to go and assist with crowd control and customer service.

I’m glad that I went because I saw (and heard) firsthand how frustrating such a disruption is for customers and how we, at the TTC, need to get better at providing useful, timely information about alternative services, such as buses.

When such problems occur, we normally call for a bus shuttle to be implemented. This takes time because we have to divert buses from routes that are near to where the emergency is occurring. While this is happening, the number of inconvenienced customers builds. We dispatch additional staff to the affected location(s) as soon as possible to assist and provide direction.

Many other transit networks have much higher station staffing levels than we do here and many have better aids such as station-based, closed-circuit television cameras to enable effective incident management. At the TTC, we are in the throes of making improvements in both these areas, but in the meantime we are looking at measures we can take right now to handle disruptions more effectively and to keep you better informed.

Being on-site at Eglinton, I was at least able to personally say sorry to a number of delayed customers, but to everyone else that was affected, please accept our apologies.

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