Editorial Archive

CEO’s Report – June commentary

6/6/19 12:35 PM

APTA, the American Public Transit Association, is coming to Toronto in June. As the third largest transit organization in North America – behind only Mexico City and New York City – the TTC has a leadership role in the industry. As such, we are very excited to be hosting APTA’s 2019 International Rail Conference and its 27th International Rail Rodeo from June 20 to 26.

There will be an incredible array of skill and expertise from North America and Japan represented at both the rodeo competition and conference. It will be a tremendous privilege to welcome our industry’s finest operations and maintenance people to the TTC and Toronto. The Rail Rodeo is an international skills competition for operators and maintenance workers. It will take place at Leslie Barns carhouse, our state-of-the-art streetcar facility.

The TTC will be represented at the rodeo by a very talented team and I would like to extend the best of luck to our competitors. Our operating team is comprised of Streetcar Transportation’s John Nikas and Jennine Sudeyko and Subway Transportation’s Rajan Gaind. Our maintenance team is Kin Shing Lui from Streetcar Maintenance and Peter Lawryshyn and Daniel Oppong, both from Rail Cars and Shops.

During the conference, TTC staff will present on a variety of issues ranging from system accessibility to diversity and human rights to transit planning and construction. Visiting delegates will have an opportunity to visit and inspect our Transit Control Centre and multi-modal Wilson Complex as well as take self-guided tours of the Line 1 extension to Vaughan.

APTA represents the major leagues of the transit industry. And staying in the majors means a constant effort is required to provide the very best service to our customers. One of the top priorities at the TTC is to deliver the service we advertise. Our state of good repair program is key to improving the resiliency of our aging assets, which in turn, helps to deliver the service that our riders demand and deserve.

Working to improve daily service at the TTC means constantly juggling the old and the new in terms of our equipment. Our subway system is often described as the first post-war subway built in North America. So maintaining that infrastructure in tiptop hape is critical to providing a safe and reliable service not only for the present, but also for the future. Subway assets – signals, track, cables, trains – must be continuously maintained and replaced before reaching end-of-life cycles.

Our Infrastructure and Engineering Group, under the leadership of Fort Monaco, has an extensive program underway to modernize subway infrastructure and enhance the training and work methods of our employees with the ultimate goal of providing a faster, stronger and safer system. Here are some of the initiatives underway:
> Our Signals crews have begun an in-house quality assurance audit of all equipment, starting with the Bloor-to-Eglinton corridor. The work focuses on our open-cuts and areas where our data indicates we are most susceptible to failures. Major deficiencies found are corrected quickly, and in turn, the corrective actions are used to enhance training of our apprentices, technicians and forepersons.
> Our Electrical crews have started an extensive subway station breaker maintenance rogram across the entire subway network, based on priority order (age of assets, amount of use and last maintenance cycle).
> The state of good repair program in our Signals area has crews replacing power cables etween Kennedy and Warden stations on Line 2. The plan includes replacing wayside quipment and installing new cabling to further extend the life of the line. We are scheduled to start a similar scope of work at Keele later this year.
> While we review and update existing signal maintenance work methods within our ngineering and maintenance groups, the Subway Infrastructure Department is actively pursuing a contract with Network Rail Consultants to work with our technicians and ngineers to increase our overall skillset in the field and in the office. We expect the onsultants will be on property by Q3 2019.

As discussed in the Capital Investment Plan before the Board on January 24, 2019, our aging infrastructure continues to be a challenge. Recent discoveries of deteriorated traction power cables at Greenwood Yard and in the subway stretching along the Prince Edward Viaduct will require immediate repair and long-term replacement planning. Discoveries such as these force us to re-evaluate project plans, and reschedule current and future work and the materials required. Further updates will be provided.

Project priorities and asset maintenance cycles will be constantly reviewed through new and targeted KPIs that report on asset performance. TTC staff will be supported with the assistance of specialized consultants, and working with our Operations Training Centre, we will further enhance skills development, update engineering standards and modernize our work methods and practices.

The results of the Q1 2019 Customer Satisfaction Survey are in, and I’m happy to report that 78 per cent of customers reported high levels of satisfaction with TTC services. This is consistent with the previous quarter (80 per cent) and the same time last year (79 per cent).

This year we are working to modernize the Customer Satisfaction Survey, along with our broader customer research program, to better serve the TTC and ultimately our customers. We will be running workshops across the organization and checking in with TTC’s Customer Liaison Panel to identify ways we might improve the survey and discuss new customer engagement opportunities.

Summer arrives on June 21 and with it some seasonal service increases to high-traffic destinations around Toronto. Starting on June 23, the TTC will add service at various times through the week on the 509 Harbourfront route to accommodate all of the fantastic summer activities by the waterfront. We will also increase service on all days of the week on the 900 Airport Express to support higher levels of travel to and from Toronto Pearson International Airport.

If you are taking the 35 Jane bus lately, you may find yourself riding our first battery-electric bus. On Monday, June 3, Chair Robinson and Mayor Tory joined representatives from the federal government to launch bus #3700 into revenue service and began evaluating its performance. A total of 60 eBuses will hit the road in the coming months on different routes across the city.

Bus #3700 is the first battery-electric bus that the TTC has purchased as part of our Green Procurement Plan and ultimate goal towards a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2040. The Government of Canada and the City of Toronto are investing $140 million in these vehicles thanks to the federal Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
June 2019

Published in the CEO’s Report presented at the June 12, 2019 TTC Board meeting. The full report can be found on the TTC intranet and ttc.ca.

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