Editorial Archive

TTC embracing new ways to better serve riders

1/4/13 6:00 AM

Being open to new ideas and learning from others is a key element of our refreshed TTC philosophy.

In the past, the TTC has been accused in some quarters of having a certain arrogance and a not-invented-here mindset. While there is a lot of good practice at the TTC, I am very keen that we should embrace new ways of working and that we should adopt successful practices from other operators.

I was in London, England recently and it was striking to note just how much progress has been made on delivering a more consistent level of service across a big, much older system. Of particular interest to me was the way that customer information was provided across a range of media.

It was also noticeable that the staff were very proactive in the passing of information – pretty much as soon as a delay occurred.

The TTC participates in a benchmarking group of similar-sized transit systems and this is very useful for assessing our relative performance and for seeing where we can do better. You may be surprised to learn that, contrary to general opinion, the TTC is actually one of the most efficiently run systems in terms of its cost of operations and level of subsidy per rider.

That said, there is clearly lots more for us to do. It is useful to have had the experience of working in other countries and on different systems: you do pick up good ideas that can be quickly introduced here without the need to design our own solution from scratch.

As an example, Sydney’s RailCorp is very used to dealing with huge crowds for the world-famous Harbour Bridge New Year’s Eve celebrations. Tried and tested plans safely deliver around one million revellers to and from the event, so it made sense to me to rework our major-event plans using templates that we could easily adapt. In similar vein, London Underground has highly sophisticated fire and evacuation plans that provide a very useful benchmark for ensuring that our own subway plans are fit for purpose, albeit on a much less complex system.

By learning from others, and through better use of our own expert staff, we will progressively improve all aspects of the TTC.

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