TTC customer service advisory panel named

The chair of the Toronto Transit Commission’s advisory panel on customer service, Steve O’Brien, today announced the full panel that will join him to review and make recommendations on customer service at the TTC.

The panel’s final report is expected at the end of June. O’Brien, the General Manager of One King West Hotel and Residence, was appointed panel chair on Feb. 17.

The panelists are:

Matthew Blackett, Publisher and Founder, Spacing Magazine

Matthew Blackett is the publisher and founder of Spacing magazine and has been a regular TTC rider since 1994. Since 2003, his magazine has become an integral voice on a variety of city and urban issues including public transit. As publisher of Spacing, Blackett has helped shape the magazine into one of Canada’s top small magazines. Blackett was named Editor of the Year for 2007 by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors and Spacing was named Canadian Small Magazine of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2009. He was awarded a 2007 Canadian Urban Leadership Award for “City Soul” by the Canadian Urban Institute for his part in creating Spacing. In 2004, Blackett created a series of TTC buttons, reflecting various TTC subway stations, selling more than 120,000 of them, demonstrating that Torontonians have a deep affinity for their transit system.

Robert Culling, Transit Operator, Toronto Transit Commission

Robert Culling is a professional transit operator for the TTC and is proud to serve the people of Toronto. His expertise in customer service comes from working as a C.A.A representative in the towing industry. From 2000 he has received numerous commendations for his service and professionalism. In 2008 he was hired by the TTC as a transit operator and successfully completed his training program as well as the required 10 month probationary period. In 2009, he received three commendations for outstanding service.

Yves Devin, CEO, Société de Transport de Montréal (STM)

Yves Devin has been STM’s CEO since May 2006 and is widely acknowledged for his strong leadership and consensus-building abilities. Under his leadership, STM recorded more than 382.5 million trips in 2008, a record for ridership in Montreal transit’s modern history. As a prime motivator for change, he believes that communication plays a major role in successfully engaging employees. Devin has a Bachelor’s degree from Université Laval in industrial relations and later attended the University of Philadelphia, studying strategic planning, and at Boston’s Levinson Institute where he studied work organization.

Tyson Matheson, Vice President of People Relations & Culture, WestJet

Tyson Matheson is WestJet’s Vice President of People Relations and Culture. His escalation within the organization since joining WestJet at its 1996 inception, through various human resource related positions has contributed to the airline’s highly admired culture evolution. Thanks to a strong campaign led by Matheson WestJet has recently been ranked sixth place in Canada’s Top 50 Best Companies in 2010 by Hewitt Associates and the Globe and Mail. With a solid operational understanding and an influential position within the airline industry, Matheson is in an ideal position to bring insight and leadership to the TTC.

Dr. Roy Morley, Professor of Marketing, Ryerson University

Dr. Roy Morley is a Professor of Marketing in the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.  He holds a BSc(Hons) in Civil Engineering, an MBA from York University, and a PhD from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. A TTC user for the past 35 years, his primary area of interest is services organizations, particularly services marketing, services management, service quality, customer/client satisfaction, and the design and operation of effective service organizations. Morley’s business experience includes engineering design and construction, project management of large, complex projects, business planning, consulting, marketing, and operations management. 

Sue Motahedin, Manager, Loyalty & Retention, and TELUS Community Ambassador - President, Toronto East

Sue Motahedin, of TELUS Communications Inc., manages both a union and management team within the Loyalty & Retention Department at TELUS. With more than 15 years of management experience, Motahedin is focused on creating a world-class client experience for all of her customers through a team of engaged employees. A daily TTC commuter, Motahedin is looking forward to helping create a better TTC by balancing the customer perspective with a realistic understanding and appreciation of the demands on TTC’s workforce and infrastructure. She brings experience in creating and delivering training, developing and implementing quality/satisfaction measurement programs, and supporting emerging and changing technologies to help drive positive impacts to the end user.

Krisna Saravanamuttu, President, York Federation of Students

Krisna Saravanamuttu is a fourth year Criminology major at York University and an aspiring law school candidate. Growing up in a poverty-stricken area of Toronto, he, among many others, depended upon affordable and accessible public transit to get around the city. As the current President of the York Federation of Students (Local 68 of the Canadian Federation of Students), Saravanamuttu represents 50,000 undergraduates with 60 per cent of the membership being commuter students. In November 2009, he had the pleasure of delivering a deputation on behalf of York students to lobby the TTC for the $99 discounted Metropass. Building on that success, he looks forward to working with the panel to share the perspective of student riders and holistically working towards making the TTC one of the best public transit systems in North America.

Kripa Sekhar, Executive Director, South Asian Women’s Centre

Kripa Sekhar is the Executive Director of the South Asian Women’s Centre and arrived in Canada as an immigrant in 1990, and has made it her mission to advocate for the needs of the most vulnerable women. A regular TTC user, Sekhar has been on many advisory committees and boards at the local, national and international level and has worked closely with marginalized communities in Saskatchewan and Toronto. A results oriented professional with an extensive background in public relations, public policy and administration, community networking and program development; Sekhar continues to work with a broad diversity of women, women's groups and other social justice organizations locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.

Julie Tyios, CEO, Red Juice Media

Julie Tyios is the CEO of Red Juice Media, an online marketing firm, and successful Twitter candidate (@JulieTyios). She is also the Marketing and Community Manager of, a Canadian start-up. She is a regular TTC rider and avid mentor, writer, and philanthropist, donating her time to help not-for-profit organizations raise money for various causes. Heading into her seventh successful year of being an entrepreneur, customer service has always been a top priority for Tyios. Through the panel, Tyios aims to generate key user feedback that can be used to improve the daily TTC experience for riders and TTC employees.

The panel’s first order of business will be a review of the scope of work, which includes:

  • A review of Operator, Collector and other frontline employee initial training, as well as recertification training;
  • A review of the commendation/complaint process;
  • A review of the selection and hiring criteria for frontline employees;
  • The introduction of a customer Bill of Rights that would include employee as well as customer expectations;
  • A review of current TTC plans to address customer service;
  • Conducting public consultations/meetings/focus groups;
  • Conducting employee consultations/meetings/focus groups;
  • A public report on recommendations; and
  • Advising on expertise/resources needed to achieve success, e.g. external consultants, organizational changes that could include members of the Commission, members of management, as well as private citizens to address specific areas of interest.

In addition to public consultations, the public can provide immediate feedback to the customer service advisory panel by email at

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