Statement by TTC CEO, Andy Byford, on transit service today

This morning saw a number of significant problems that may have affected your commute on the TTC. Allow me to explain each.

- A watermain break near the intersection of Yonge St. and Lawrence Ave. caused flooding at Lawrence Station making the platform unsafe for customers. As a result, subway trains passed through the station, but did not stop. At its height, the TTC ran 43 shuttle buses between Eglinton and York Mills stations to bridge service for those who rely on Lawrence Station. Service resumed at the station at 10:30 a.m.

- Early this morning at our Russell streetcar yard at Queen St. near Greenwood Ave., a streetcar derailed, blocking other streetcars from leaving the yard on time to meet service. As a result, some routes, like the 510 Spadina, did not have its full complement of streetcars. For those who rely on that line know, long waits and long lines at Spadina Station were the result.

- Then at the intersection of Queen St. and Broadview Ave., a streetcar broke down as it was turning south on Broadview to Queen. That problem caused significant and prolonged delays, about 90 minutes in total, to the 501 Queen and 504 King streetcar routes. It also affected streetcars that were earlier delayed at Russell Yard from getting to their routes, such as the 510 Spadina.

- At Dundas and McCaul Sts, a streetcar and automobile collision caused the 505 Dundas route to divert, further aggravating customer commuting times. That delay lasted about 55 minutes.

- Add to all of this, more minor, albeit frustrating, delays related to a track fire at Kennedy Station and a safety-related incident to do with subway doors at Donlands Station, both on the Bloor-Danforth subway line.


I fully understand the frustration multiple delays of this nature can cause, especially during morning rush hour. Getting information to you so you’re able to then make decisions about your travel is vital. More frequent and timelier information is key; and while we utilized our e-alert subscription service, Twitter feeds, platform video screens and public address announcements, we must do more. The communications system on our streetcars and buses was built in the 1970s. A capital budget request was approved by the TTC board to update and, finally, modernize that system, which will allow us to communicate more effectively, and directly, with customers on board our surface vehicles.

On-street supervision will also greatly assist when issues arise. More supervisors are being hired in 2014 to, in part, ensure customers are advised of service problems and to co-ordinate alternate service with our Transit Control Centre.

Please accept my apologies for the poor service this morning. The TTC continues to move ahead with its efforts to modernize and transform. Mornings like today are, thankfully, rare, but they do drive home the need for continued vigilance in an effort to meet and, indeed, exceed your expectations of us.

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