Editorial Archive

News systems take time to bloom

5/22/15 6:00 AM

Modernizing the TTC is like constructing a large building. It takes time and significant effort to lay robust foundations for a better future, and in the beginning, nothing really seems to change. But over time, the various elements begin to come together to deliver a system that is customer-led, inherently more reliable and capable of sustained improvement.

I was down at Union Station earlier this week to greet customers entering the station to begin their journey on the subway. Our work to completely modernize this key station is virtually complete, the result being a greatly enlarged, airy space, far removed from the cramped island platform of just a few years ago. We promised we would complete this project before the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and we will meet that commitment – our contractor is putting the finishing touches to the station ready for a formal opening next month.

In the enlarged mezzanine area, customers are now able to use their PRESTO cards at virtually every gate. One of the gates features the new, enlarged reader that will become the norm across the whole TTC system as PRESTO is set to be network-wide by the end of next year.

Still in the mezzanine area, the Station Supervisor (one of the new roles in our new station management model) and his team proactively greeted customers in their smart new uniforms, while downstairs, Toronto Rocket trains and our new low-floor accessible streetcar served customers on Line 1 and the 509 Harbourfront/510 Spadina streetcar routes, respectively.

A lot of work across the organization is happening behind the scenes, too. We are putting a lot of effort into our recruitment, training and refresher programs to equip our employees with the right tools and attitude for the job. We are overhauling customer information, safety management and accounting systems to make our processes more dynamic, efficient and responsive. And we have just launched our new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which will provide significant improvements in the ways the TTC manages customer service. The new CRM system will allow us to more easily access and share customer feedback to best understand the voice of the customer – thus improving our ability to identify and implement customer-friendly changes.

Finally, we are taking care to acknowledge the efforts of those employees who consistently do a great job. Last week, I was pleased to present awards to colleagues who have demonstrated excellence in customer service, safety and leadership. While the unfortunate actions of a few will always make the news, most TTC staff set out every day to do a great job. We intend to make their excellence the norm.

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