TTC Board Meeting Highlights (March 26, 2015)

The TTC Board received a report outlining the schedule and budget changes required for the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) and approved the following action.

TTC Board Meeting Highlights March 26, 2015

Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension schedule and budget change

The TTC Board received a report outlining the schedule and budget changes required for the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) and approved the following action:

  1. Endorse the end of 2017 as the earliest achievable date for the opening of the TYSSE. 
  2. That the TTC Chair, Vice-Chair and CEO be delegated the authority to retain a third-party project management firm as an incentivized project manager as per the confidential recommendation to this report, as outlined in Option 1.
  3. That, in accordance with the current funding commitments, the City of Toronto and the Regional Municipality of York share funding of the increase in project costs of $150 million (exclusive of HST). This equates to $90 million to the City of Toronto and $60 million to the Regional Municipality of York.
  4. That the City of Toronto Council consider funding its portion of costs through mechanisms such as: the TTC’s 2014 operating budget surplus, net property sales and/or potential deferral of projects. 
  5. Direct the TTC CEO to report back by Dec. 31, 2015 on a determination of construction claims costs. 
  6. Receive the confidential information as set in the Confidential Attachment and adopt the recommendation as amended.
  7. The information as set out in the Confidential Attachment will be released to the public upon execution of an agreement outlined in Recommendation 2.

Commissioners also directed that the TTC CEO provide a report by the fourth quarter of 2015 outlining the specific, substantive changes that will be made in the planning and project management for the Scarborough Subway as compared to the TYSSE. The report will be forwarded to the City of Toronto and the Regional Municipality of York. On March 31, City Council voted in favour of the necessary funding requirements.

Express bus route network study plan

The Board approved a study and schedule plan for new and improved Express bus services across Toronto. The study will be conducted in two phases: a service plan report scheduled to be presented to the Board in October and a communications and marketing plan report scheduled to be presented to the Board in early 2016.

Expansion of the Express route network was included in the Opportunities to Improve Transit Service in Toronto report approved by Commissioners last August. The TTC currently runs Express bus services on 23 routes during the peak periods, Monday to Friday, and seven routes during off-peak times.

In early 2014, the Board approved a motion by then Commissioner Josh Colle directing TTC staff to report back on the feasibility of implementing additional express bus routes across the city. In an effort to reduce congestion and provide more rapid, reliable and reasonably priced transit options, the report would consider: projected costs and revenues associated with existing express routes; an analysis of instituting peak-period express service on the top 10 busiest bus routes; and the implementation of queue jump lanes, priority signalling and dedicated lanes as ways to improve speed and reliability on existing and proposed new express routes.

TTC Board approves 2015 Accessibility Plan status report

Board Members approved a status report on the 2014-2018 Accessibility Plan. Key initiatives remaining in the plan are underway and scheduled for completion by 2018, including:

  • Completing Easier Access accessibility upgrades (i.e. elevators, automatic doors, and improved signage and wayfinding) at nine additional subway stations.
  • Installing external announcements on vehicles advising customers of route and direction prior to boarding.
  • Revising Wheel-Trans eligibility criteria to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
  • Ensuring the PRESTO fare card system on the TTC is accessible for customers with disabilities.
  • Implementing a real-time elevator/escalator monitoring system to reduce downtime due to unplanned outages.

The Board also requested staff to report back on its second quarter strategies to further improve standards related to Wheel-Trans telephone trip bookings. The status report notes that accessibility retrofits at 13 subway stations are currently not funded due to a $164-million shortfall in capital funding. The City-TTC Transit Funding Task Force continues to seek reinstatement of full funding for the TTC’s Easier Access (accessibility) program. The status report will be forwarded to the City of Toronto, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Toronto Rocket train door monitoring system

The Board authorized a change directive to Bombardier Inc. worth $2.7 million for additional engineering design work to install train door monitoring equipment and the modification and relocation of door control systems on Toronto Rocket trains that will allow one person train operation. One person train operation will be tested on Line 4 (Sheppard) with four-car Toronto Rocket trains. Upon successful completion of the pilot, one person train operation will expand to the remaining Toronto Rocket trains on Line 1 (Yonge-University) followed by T-1 trains on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth).

One person train operation is a technological change that removes the need for a Guard and makes the Operator responsible for door monitoring and operation.

Changes to TTC resignalling contract

The Board approved a contract change worth a total authorized expenditure of $81.8 million to Alstom Power Transport Canada Inc. for the design and supply of radio-based Automatic Train Control system for Line 1 (Yonge-University) and the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension. The change consolidates signalling contracts under the one supplier. The change is effective no later than March 31, 2015.

The approved budget for the replacement of the existing 60-year-old signalling system and installation of Automatic Train Control on Line 1 by 2020 is $562.8 million. Consolidating contracts will reduce construction costs, reduce testing and commissioning activities and reduce the number of subway closures required. The overall cost of the contract remains the same as savings are made through less integration required, less track-side equipment, fewer closures and cancellations of contracts with Ansaldo-STS Canada Inc.

New route performance measures tested

Commissioners received a presentation by Chief Service Officer Rick Leary outlining the results of a modernized approach to reducing the bunching and gapping of buses and streetcars. Pilots were conducted on the 512 St Clair streetcar route and 29 Dufferin and 44 Kipling South bus routes last October using new key performance indicators and strategically placed route supervision. Overall, the pilots showed an up to 30-per-cent increase in service reliability and consistency, improved arrival and departure times, significant reductions in short turns, fewer customer complaints and reduced stress on Operators. The TTC is currently reviewing more routes.

Upcoming Board meetings

The next scheduled regular TTC Board meeting will be on Wednesday, April 29 at Toronto City Hall, starting at 10 a.m., with the public session starting at 1 p.m.

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