Editorial Archive

CEO’s Report – December commentary

Commission seal 12/4/19 6:44 PM

As 2019 draws to a close and a new decade about to begin, the TTC is focused on the future – the 2020s.

The TTC’s 5-Year Service Plan & 10-Year Outlook will be before the Board this month.

The Plan advances our mission of providing reliable, efficient, integrated and accessible public transit services to the citizens of Toronto and beyond. It recommends increased services to target population and employment growth.

In many ways this is business as usual for the TTC, but producing a 5-Year Service Plan & 10-Year Outlook is unprecedented. This plan puts us in line with transit industry best practices and positions us to better link the investments we make to service outcomes.

The Plan aligns with our Five-Year Corporate Plan, Capital Investment Plan and Accessibility Plan, as well as the City’s mobility, climate change, resilience and social equity goals.

Our strategy is broken down into five pillars of opportunity with 20 action items that put the needs of our customers first by increasing travel options, reliability and comfort, while reducing journey and wait times across the network.

The benefits for customers are:
> More frequent service in high-growth areas across the city where demand has increased;
> More reliable service on bus and streetcar routes as we trend towards 90 per cent on-time departures; and
> More rapid service through various initiatives, such as Line 1 improvements, the opening of Lines 5 and 6, and the implementation of new express bus services and transit priority measures on key corridors.

Our Plan adds more service to meet the needs of our existing customers and projected new ones – in 2024 ridership will have grown by 7.3 per cent.

The GTA is one of the fastest growing regions in North America. At its core is the city of Toronto, where 85 per cent of all local transit trips across the region are taken on the TTC. Providing reliable, accessible and integrated public transit is absolutely essential in moving our great city forward.

Over the past year, the TTC’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) Operations Department has been busy getting the organization ready to integrate a new mode of transportation into our existing operation.

Preparing for LRT service brings a sense of excitement as well as a new set of challenges that come with a new business model. The stakeholders include: Metrolinx (the infrastructure owner), Crosslinx Transit Solutions (responsible for the maintenance of Line 5 Eglinton), Mosaic Transit Group (responsible for the maintenance of Line 6 Finch West) and the City of Toronto (responsible for operations and maintenance funding).

As the sole operator of the two LRT lines, the TTC is tasked with delivering numerous functions, including:
> Safe and reliable train operations;
> System-wide oversight through our Transit Control Centre;
> Station operations and supervision;
> System-wide security and fare inspection; and
> Seamless customer service.

Line 5 Eglinton is scheduled to open in September 2021. Line 6 Finch West is set to launch in September 2023.

Various activities are underway to ensure we achieve these deliverables. We are developing a TTC-LRT Operational Readiness Program to ensure we will be ready for revenue service, an Operating Agreement between the TTC and Metrolinx and an Operations Plan to provide structure during full operations. I will provide periodic updates to the Board as staff continues to work on integrating LRT into our existing transit system.

For the TTC’s Subway Infrastructure Department, key performance indicators all point to 2019 as a productive year.

The department has made continuous safety improvements with increased field audits and enhanced supervisory presence, improved employee training and engagement, and heightened the skillsets of our field technicians and engineering work groups, all drawn from industry expertise.

This area, and the workforce as a whole, experienced an increase in asset reliability, more predictive and planned restricted speed zones and a good percentage of defects addressed relative to new ones generated. This success is due to the developing asset management mindset, additional track time created as a result of early closures, and the great work done by the field crews and frontline staff to better plan and execute scheduled work.

As we move into 2020, our areas of focus will be reviewing our work planning practices, establishing a maintenance and construction quality work process, making better use of off-peak hours to extend work windows, and a program dedicated to succession planning given the large number of retirements forecasted in the next three-to-five years.

All work groups within the department have benefitted from the Project Management Office, which strives to improve state-of-good-repair project governance, yield better project estimates and schedules, risk analysis and real-time reporting, all the while arranging for technical workshops for our project managers and co-ordinators to improve their skillsets.

Despite a great year, there is still much to do in the new year. We will be focused on more employee training and developing project management governance as we work through a backlog of work programs.

As we move towards the final phase of the Automatic Train Control (ATC) construction through 2020-2022, there is a lot of planning to do to ensure all track, structures and electrical assets are performing optimally while addressing tunnels leaks, asbestos abatement and tunnel liner repairs.

Staff will continue to work closely with our unionized workforce and safety committees to ensure that safety remains paramount in everything we do.

Under the leadership of Chief Infrastructure and Engineering Officer Fort Monaco, the Subway Infrastructure team is determined to tackle the challenges of improving asset reliability in order for the TTC to provide service as advertised.

At the April 11, 2019 Board meeting we presented a report that re-baselined the completion of the ATC project to September 2022. The report takes into account the impacts of the Line 1 Extension project, sub-dividing Phase 3 (Dupont Station to Rosedale Station) into three sub-phases, the Wilson Yard implementation and the inclusion of Automatic Train Protection on additional work cars.

We have been in negotiations with Alstom, our signalling contractor, with respect to the financial impact of these changes and we will be bringing a report requesting an uplift to their contract value to the January 2020 Board meeting.

Testing of the ATC system Phase 3B (St Patrick Station to Queen Station) is at 85 per cent with more than 200 high-speed test cases completed last month, and remains on target to be commissioned in Q1 2020. The revenue software for this phase is under development and is on schedule to be ready for simulation testing in January.

ATC equipment installation of the subsequent Phase 3C (Queen Station to Rosedale Station), is completed and testing activities of the ATC assets is at 20 per cent. Construction is progressing well in Phase 4 (Rosedale Station to Eglinton Station) and is currently at about 50 per cent.

At the time of writing this commentary, 195 of the 200 hybrid-electric buses scheduled for delivery were on property, with a total of 140 available for service. The remaining vehicles are scheduled to arrive in December.

These latest generation hybrids are performing above our reliability targets. Staff has measured the vehicles to be consuming roughly 25 per cent less fuel than the most advanced clean diesel buses in our fleet. This reduction in fuel consumption produces 30 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The fuel savings for a hybrid bus is estimated at $10,000 per bus per year as compared to a clean diesel bus (or about $2.5 million annually).

On December 29, the TTC will celebrate the decommissioning of the CLRV fleet. The first CLRV streetcar arrived on property 42 years ago on December 29, 1977. We will offer free rides on the remaining cars along a portion of Queen Street on the 29th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At 3 p.m., the winners of a contest promoted on our Instagram and Facebook accounts, will take the final journey on the last car from Bathurst Street to Russell Carhouse where the CLRV era in Toronto will officially end!

For the seventh straight year, our friends at Corby Spirit and Wine will sponsor free rides on the TTC on New Year’s Eve. Transit in Toronto will be free of charge from 7 p.m. on December 31 to 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day, January 1st.

And finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our employees for their continuous commitment and dedication to the TTC, and for ensuring the ever-important job of safety, service and courtesy to our customers.

I would also like to extend thanks from the TTC’s Executive Team and senior management to our Chair and Commissioners for their support as we approach the end of the first year of the new Board’s term. The final Board meeting of 2019 will be held on Monday, December 16 when we will present our 2020 budgets.

Here’s wishing everyone a joyous holiday season and hope that time spent with family and friends is filled with good health and happiness.

Merry Christmas and a happy holidays and new year to everyone!

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
December 2019

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