Editorial Archive

CEO Update for the week of December 3, 2012

12/7/12 3:54 PM

Andy’s TTCast – December 7, 2012

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Hi everyone, this is Andy Byford with an update on current issues within our company.

It’s been another very busy time. Last week saw a ceremony at which Bob Chiarelli, provincial Minister of Transportation, TTC Chair/Councillor Karen Stintz, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig and I jointly signed the Master Agreement for the operation of the four LRT lines, and the separate PRESTO agreement that will deliver a smart card for our riders.

These are both important steps in our modernization of the TTC – as not only will we move to a state-of-the-art fare system – we have also secured operation of four, brand new lines for the TTC and for TTC staff to operate. These will transform customers’ experience of our service along Eglinton, Finch, Sheppard and in Scarborough, and I am very pleased to have won the debate and the work for our company.

Another major meeting in my diary involved appearing in public before the City Council Budget Committee to present our submissions for 2013 and beyond. A lot of hard work has gone into preparing our case in what is a difficult budget round given that our subsidy has been frozen for next year. I made the case that the TTC continues to improve in terms of efficiency, and that on a subsidy-per-rider basis, we do a remarkable job for the money we receive. On balance we were given a fair hearing and I am confident that our budgets will be approved, including an additional $700 million for capital projects and fleet renewal.

The latest Meet the Exec event took us to Davisville Carhouse and the associated site offices. The Executive was able to meet the team at the carhouse, many of whom have worked at that location for years. We updated staff on the status of the facility, which will transition over time to provide storage for seven Rocket trains, minor cleaning and repairs and to provide shelter for the works trains that currently have to be stored outside.

We also visited infrastructure staff that are based at Davisville and who are engaged in the ongoing tunnel liner repair project at the north end of the Yonge line.

Of course, a lot of activity goes on at night at Davisville so a night visit is on my to-do list along with other visits to undertake late-night rides on the system to show support for our night Operators and to get a better understanding of the challenges they face.

I paid another visit to Harvey Shop this week. I never cease to be amazed by the diversity of trades and skills on display, and by the passion for the job that Harvey employees exude. It was good to nail a few myths with staff on the shop floor, in particular the facts around contracting out and a widespread misunderstanding that this will affect our pensions. This is not true for the simple fact that any impact of a small number of contracted-out positions is dwarfed by the ongoing increase in Operator and Mechanic positions that we are creating to carry ever-growing ridership.

Work to improve our reputation continues. Brad Ross (Corporate Communications Executive Director) and I went down to Queen Street to ride the 501 streetcar, and to make an explainer video about short turning, which as any Operator knows, is a highly contentious issue with our customers. The video describes what a short turn is, why we do it and the work we are doing to reduce the number of such events. It also outlines the steps we are taking to give customers the reason why we are short turning when this becomes necessary. The video will be posted on YouTube shortly, and we see it as a continuation in a series of such explainers to better inform customers about what we do and to update them on how we will improve things going forward.

Finally, a familiar face returned to the McBrien Building this week in the form of Gary Webster. Gary came in to receive the Canadian Urban Transit Association’s award for outstanding individual leadership, an accolade for which he was nominated by his former colleagues at the TTC and one that is richly deserved. Gary was honoured to receive the award and touched that his years of service to the people of Toronto and to our company should be recognized in this way.

That’s it for this week. See you out on the network soon.

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