Editorial

Office of the Chief Executive

TTC train 29 July, 2021

Recognizing Emancipation Day and Month

It’s a privilege each year for the TTC to participate in the annual Underground Freedom Train Ride to commemorate Emancipation Day and the role of the underground railroad.

With the Freedom Ride being a virtual experience for the second consecutive year, Chief Diversity and Culture Officer Keisha Campbell will be representing the TTC through a recorded video message during the ninth annual event this Saturday night.

Recognizing Emancipation Day, and Emancipation Month in August, reminds us of how important it is to shed light on anti-Black racism and to stop discrimination in all its forms. Earlier this year, the House of Commons voted unanimously to designate August 1 as Emancipation Day, a national day of recognition. It marks the actual day in 1834 that the Slavery Abolition Act came into effect across the British Empire.

Last year, we committed to making the TTC a more diverse and inclusive organization for both our employees and customers with the launch of a 10-Point Action Plan for Diversity and Inclusion and the development of our Anti-Racism Strategy. We’re making progress, and there’s more work underway.

The virtual Underground Freedom Train Ride starts at 10:45 p.m. on July 31 and will be live-streamed on YouTube. Complete details are available on A Different Booklist Cultural Centre’s website at adbcc.org.

Annual Service Plan, SRT decommissioning consultations
Two public consultations that were recently published on the TTC website have just wrapped up. The first consultation involved next year’s Annual Service Plan, which closed on July 16. Here, we sought the public’s feedback to help us develop proposed surface routes to connect to the future Line 5 Eglinton, scheduled to open in 2022, as well as other service initiatives to support ridership recovery. We also worked closely with stakeholders and youth ambassadors who provided valuable insight from various communities across the city.

The second consultation asked for public feedback on future bus replacement service for when the Scarborough RT (Line 3) closes in 2023. This consultation, which ended on July 23, will help to inform and develop the bus replacement plan and the report back to the TTC Board later this year.

Links to this online survey were distributed widely via Board members, City Councillor networks, social media, and transit stakeholders. This helped to ensure that anyone impacted by the decommissioning of Line 3 had an opportunity to comment on the options being considered to keep transit routes similar to current services and to minimize additional travel time for customers.

RapidTO update
Yesterday (July 28), the City of Toronto released its first dashboard for the RapidTO program – the express bus lane network that was installed in Scarborough last fall. The results were very favourable, showing reduced trip times (an average decrease of five minutes) and service reliability improvements (an average improvement of 12 per cent or better) on bus services using priority lanes.

This is exactly what we’re hoping to see. Of course, we will continue to monitor the benefits and use our learnings to inform our planning and scheduling of bus services in the city’s east end.

More TTC customers rely on the bus network for their trips than any other mode of transit. This has been especially true during the pandemic. Giving buses exclusive use of priority lanes is important for the long-term health of the city and quality of life for its residents. It also helps with the City’s pandemic recovery efforts by making sure the TTC’s surface network remains a reliable, frequent and safe option, in particular as people start returning to work. For more information, please visit www.toronto.ca/RapidTO.

It’s shaping up to be a busy fall and I hope everyone is able to take some time this summer to relax and recharge.

Stay well and keep safe.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
July 29, 2021

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