Editorial Archive

Fresh thinking drives continuous improvement

10/10/14 6:00 AM

In previous columns, I described the various initiatives that are underway to renew our streetcar fleet, replace worn out track and signals and to introduce a new smartcard. These programs are well underway and are all part of our five-year plan to modernize the TTC from top to bottom.

But TTC modernization needs to be much more than shiny new vehicles and renewed assets. For the TTC to deliver on its vision of A transit system that makes Toronto proud, the way we do things and the prevailing culture at the TTC has to change. For that reason, our plan also addresses renewal of processes and culture.

These two elements are closely interlinked. In order to engender fresh thinking and to kick start a customer-led culture, new people have been brought in to improve the calibre of management and to bring best practice from other successful companies.

A good example of such fresh thinking has resulted in recently announced plans to change the way we schedule the subway so that we can run more trains at the busiest times. Starting on Tue., Oct. 14, two trains will be added to both Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) and Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) in the peak hours. When combined with a moratorium on non-essential track inspections at those times and a renewed focus on minimizing delays at terminus stations, these changes will deliver additional capacity and a better peak-hour service.

On our surface routes, additional Route Supervisors have been deployed to tackle bunching and gapping of buses and streetcars. At our subway stations, customers will soon be able to purchase a far greater range of tickets and tokens using debit/credit facilities than is currently the case – and all before the roll-out of our new smartcard on our new Spadina streetcars.

Some tough decisions need to be made. One reason that buses get short-turned is to fill a gap caused by the breakdown of another bus. So we are increasing the amount of maintenance that each vehicle receives, even though this temporarily reduces the number of vehicles on the road.

It all adds up to a fundamental overhaul of everything that we do, and while much remains to be delivered, I feel confident that we are laying solid foundations for sustainable improvement and for a better TTC.

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