Editorial Archive

CEO Update for the week of January 28, 2013

2/4/13 9:58 AM

Andy’s TTCast – February 1, 2013

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Hi everyone, this is Andy Byford with an update on what’s going on in our company.

Time flies and it’s already February in what is already shaping up to be a very busy year. As ever, the TTC has been in the news virtually every day, not always for the right reasons, but also for positive stories like the installation of luggage racks onto our 192 Airport Rocket bus service and for the changes we have made on a trial basis to one of our Rocket trains to increase the provision of hand holds and the audibility of door close chimes.

In similar vein, we are nearly ready to launch our inaugural Customer Charter, which will be our commitment to customers to deliver a suite of improvements this year to enhance the travelling experience. Many other transit properties across the world have such charters, and this is something I have wanted to have for some time as visible evidence of a new customer-led approach.

It is important that we are all clear on the future direction of the company to deliver our vision of A transit system that makes Toronto proud. The Executive recently spent a day-and-a-half reviewing our progress over the past year and mapping out what we need to do over the next four years of our Five-Year Plan to deliver Our Vision.

We began by undertaking an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing our business, as well as considering external factors that influence us, and the decisions we take. After that, we reviewed the first draft of a roadmap of what needs to be delivered in terms of projects, process and culture change, and we discussed the resources that this whole-scale change program will require. Key to this work program is the need for an overarching strategy document and clearly defined business goals to provide context and direction for what needs to be done.

What is clear is that there is a huge amount of change needed if we are to truly modernize the TTC and equally, we must overhaul our culture and people performance if we are to succeed. It’s also vital that all staff know what our plan looks like, the part that they will play in its delivery and what’s in it for them, so we are planning a series of roadshows round the property in spring to brief everyone and answer questions.

One thing I’m committed to do this year is to resume my monthly Back to the Floor days in which I shadow a member of staff or division for a shift to see things through the employee’s perspective and so that I better understand the challenges you face. 

Last year, I spent time on Wheel-Trans, a shift with a Collector, a day with the janitorial division, a ride along with Transit Enforcement Officers and time with a Chief Supervisor, to cite just a few examples. My first event this year will be to spend a night out on the network riding with Operators on our streetcars and all-night bus routes, which can be very challenging for our staff.

It is good to note how smoothly the new organization is settling in. Our new Service Delivery Group is up and running, and action is already being taken to review our procedures to make them as customer-friendly as possible while still maintaining standards.

In parallel, a whole raft of projects continue to make progress, including work on the Spadina Extension, PRESTO and preparations for the beginning of testing of our low-floor streetcar test vehicle.

So while we have had the odd setback with bad headlines and political controversies, I am very confident that we are making progress, and that this is being noticed by customers and stakeholders alike. I actually like the fact that people hold such strong views about the TTC because it strengthens our hand to continue to press for sustainable, long-term funding and a fairer deal for Toronto.

As I said in a recent Metro article, TTC staff are our greatest asset, and I know that we will not be able to transform the TTC without your efforts and professionalism.  Fortunately, we start from a position of having many great staff and managers, a strength that was one of the first to be listed in the Exec’s analysis of the company that I referred to at the beginning of this podcast.

Take care, be safe and see you out on the network soon.

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