Editorial Archive

Office of the Chief Executive

Commission seal 5/14/21 6:00 PM

Board decisions this week

The May 12 Board meeting began with Chair Robinson and I both expressing appreciation to our federal, provincial and municipal funding partners for their support and commitment to improving public transit in Toronto and the surrounding region. It was announced that we will receive funding for 60 new streetcars as well as necessary upgrades to Hillcrest Complex to support the expansion.

A day earlier, the Federal and Provincial governments announced investments of more than $10 billion dedicated to four transit expansion priority projects in the city. These programs are getting the funding they need to move ahead thanks to the vision and support of our Board and the hard work of TTC staff.

On another bright note, at the Board meeting, I took the opportunity to let Commissioners know that the TTC has partnered with local hospitals to set up pop-up vaccination clinics for employees.

The first pop-up took place yesterday morning at McNicoll Garage and Division in partnership with Scarborough Health Network. Following that, Women’s College Hospital will run two pop-up clinics for Mount Dennis employees on May 14 and 15. On May 18, Wilson Complex will host a clinic for all TTC employees, run by North York General Hospital and North York Toronto Health Partners. This clinic is by appointment only – more details, including the booking link, will be shared with staff shortly. The TTC is currently working with other hospitals to set up more pop-up clinics; locations will be informed as soon as the details are confirmed.

COVID-19 Response and Recovery
Commissioners were provided with the latest status report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with respect to revenues and ridership, as well as the status of our ongoing discussions with other levels of government.

It continues to be a challenging time for all of us, and additional challenges lie ahead in two particular areas. First, there are many questions about whether people will return to the workplace, especially in the downtown core, which we estimate accounts for 26 per cent of regular demand. Second is the increased use of alternative travel modes that some people have turned to during the lockdowns. We estimate this has resulted in a further 12 per cent drop in ridership.

These are issues we’re focused on as we rebuild our ridership. We’ve been working with Chair Robinson on two awareness campaigns. One will promote all of the safety elements we introduced over the past year. The other will showcase the importance of the TTC to the city and how we will be there for people –  whether they are returning to work, heading to the Royal Ontario Museum or High Park, visiting friends and family or stepping out for a night on the town.

Both campaigns will be previewed at an upcoming Board meeting, so stay tuned. In the meantime, please find below more highlights of Commission decisions approved on May 12. The meeting can be viewed on the Official TTC YouTube Channel. The next regular scheduled virtual Board meeting is set for Wednesday, June 16.

Stay safe.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
May 14, 2021

TTC Board Highlights (May 2021)

TTC Board Meeting May 12, 2021

COVID-19 Response and Recovery update
The TTC Board approved a status report outlining the TTC’s ongoing COVID-19 Response and Recovery activities, with the following recommendations:
> Request the provincial and federal governments to continue providing ongoing operating funding support for public transit to address the impact of COVID-19.
> Request that staff forward the report to the Ministry of Transportation for information.

The status update covers four key areas:
> COVID-19 Effects on Ridership – current and projected ridership to year end on conventional and Wheel-Trans services.
> TTC’s COVID-19 Response – health and safety measures being undertaken, including helping residents as they travel to and from their vaccination appointments.
> Towards Recovery – key policy initiatives that advance the Corporate Plan (also outlined in the Phase 2 Safe Restart Agreement).
> Financial Update – incurred and anticipated financial impacts of COVID-19 to the end of 2021, including the $1.3 billion in available relief funding and the remaining $126 million estimated funding gap.

2021 Accessibility Plan status report
Board members received the 2021 Accessibility Plan Status Update. The report highlights the objectives of the 2019-2023 TTC Multi-Year Accessibility Plan that identified 47 specific objectives to improve the accessibility of TTC services and facilities by 2023.

Commissioners approved a motion by Chair Jaye Robinson directing staff to bring back an Easier Access Update report on a semi-annual basis. This report would outline a program for each station, including:
> Major milestones through to project completion;
> Interdependencies with the City’s planning and permit approvals process; and
> A high-level program risk register.

Some of the TTC’s significant accessibility accomplishments since 2019 include:
> Operating all streetcar routes with accessible, low-floor vehicles.
> Upgrading seven subway stations with elevators, power-operated doors and modern wayfinding signage at: Royal York, Wellesley, Chester, Dupont, Runnymede, Wilson and Bay.
> Beginning Easier Access construction at: Keele, Lansdowne, Sherbourne, Donlands and College.
> Installing upgraded platform edge tiles to reduce the gap between subway trains and platforms at: St George, Eglinton, St Clair, Finch, Queen and Dundas.
> Opening 16 Wheel-Trans Access Hubs across the city.

Major accessibility initiatives planned by the end of 2021 include:
> Completing Easier Access accessibility upgrades at three additional subway stations.
> Continuing platform edge tile upgrades at up to 11 additional stations.
> Launching a new Wheel-Trans mobile app.

5-Year Fare Policy and 10-Year Fare Collection Outlook update
Commissioners approved a status report outlining emerging insights from Phase 1 of the Fare Policy work stream and the proposed policy goals that will guide the development of a modernized fare collection system for the TTC and York Region Transit. The following staff recommendations were approved:
> Endorse the proposed fare policy goals and objectives (in Attachment 1 of the report) to inform the development of fare options to be presented to the Board in July 2021;
> Receive the results of the Request for Information (RFI) and peer agency reviews (in Attachments 2 and 3 of the report) to inform the development of viable fare collection models to be presented to the Board in July 2021; and
> Proceed with demonstrations from RFI respondents beginning with System Integrator vendors to present their solutions to the TTC prior to the July Board meeting.

The status update also provides key learnings from stakeholder engagement, peer transit agency reviews and the TTC’s Automated Fare Collection Technology RFI, which closed on February 5, 2021. The key learnings from both the Fare Policy and Collection Strategy work streams will provide the basis for testing and modelling fare structures and viable fare collection options in the next phase of work.

Next meeting of the TTC Board
The next regular scheduled virtual TTC Board Meeting will be on Wednesday, June 16.

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In Memoriam

Bugala, Chinnery, Coombs, Dailous, Gannon, Genno, Hlynsky, Keefer, Lima, Macedo, Manera, Mattaroccia, Reilly, Simpson, Stantic, Straw, Sunday, Tanashi, Voteary, Zarovski.

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TTC 1921-2021. On September 1, 1921, the Toronto Transportation Commission began serving the citizens of a rapidly growing Toronto when it took over a mix of private and municipal street railways within the city.

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