Message from the Executives

CEO's Report August Commentary

Major League Baseball is back in Toronto – is there a better way to start the month of August than with a Blue Jays home stand at the Rogers Centre? With the team having been away for nearly two years, it is a welcome sight to see Jays fans streaming through our downtown again.

At the Blue Jays first home game on July 30, the TTC was very pleased to see Kyron Lewis, a bus Operator from Malvern Division, throw the first pitch. Kyron served as a representative of all our frontline employees who have done tremendous work keeping Toronto moving through the pandemic. On July 31, Nelson Rodrigues, a bus Operator from Mount Dennis Division, also threw the first pitch as part of the Blue Jays efforts to honour frontline workers.

With fans also back at BMO Field to watch Toronto FC on the pitch, these are important indicators that the city and province are in recovery mode. As Toronto continues to open up and we look ahead to the fall, we’re anticipating more customers will be using the TTC.

The TTC has provided safe and reliable transit to its customers throughout the Greater Toronto Area during the varying stages of the pandemic. While the province was under its most recent stay-at-home order through April and May, we continued to provide approximately 2.7 million to three million revenue rides per week. As the province entered Step 2 of its reopening plan at the end of June, that number jumped to 3.8 million revenue rides per week.

Revenue rides reached just over four million per week as the province entered Step 3 of its reopening plan. In terms of ridership by individual mode of transportation, our bus boardings continue to lead the way. In the week ending July 30, bus boardings were at 46 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Streetcar boardings and subway boardings are moving in the right direction at 37 per cent and 31 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, respectively.

This fall, we’re anticipating more customers will be using the TTC for everything from getting to and from school, work, shopping and leisure travel.

At the time of writing this commentary, TTC staff are expecting slightly higher demand on all modes compared to September 2020 service due to the likely increase of in-class learning at Toronto schools and additional activities at post-secondary campuses.

I’m looking forward to updating you on many of these activities come the fall. Along with welcoming back our customers, we have a number of other initiatives underway that are aimed at improving the TTC experience. These include capacity improvements across the system and sharing successes related to our 10-Point Action Plan on Diversity and Inclusion. Highlights include updates on the culture change underway in our Fare Inspector and Special Constables departments as well as some of the results in our efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce.

People/Diversity and Culture

First all-female transit Operator class
On July 14, the TTC welcomed its first all-female transit Operator class. This class includes six women who were recruited through our targeted efforts in November and December of last year when we held two outreach events aimed at women. These outreach events were commitments that formed a part of our 10-Point Action Plan on Diversity and Inclusion, which was launched in 2020. In that plan, we reimagined our outreach and recruitment efforts in order to attract more diverse talent.

One of the key objectives for the TTC is to have women make up 40 per cent of all Operators hired. We’re in the process of taking a holistic view of our policies and programs to support this objective. We know in order to attract more women and have them flourish, the TTC will have to do more to make them feel welcomed – and it’s work we are prepared to do.

We hope this class is the first of many all-female classes and I look forward to updating you on their successes in the months to come.

Donation drives
In July, TTC Special Constables and Fare Inspectors teamed up with Toronto Police Services as part of 53 Division’s Project Breezy to donate bicycles to families in the Thorncliffe Park area. Our employees and pensioners brought in 53 bikes to various work locations. The TTC also donated 90 containers of disinfectant wipes, 10,000 adult masks and 8,000 child masks. Thank you to everyone who contributed their time and effort.

In the lead up to a new school year, TTC employees are supporting the Toronto and Region Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) with its second annual backpack and school supplies drive. Last year, employees across the Commission donated more than 850 backpacks stuffed with school supplies to support kids in the Jane and Emmett community in Toronto. This year, COMTO Toronto and Region is looking to donate backpacks with supplies to children in the Jane and Finch, Rexdale and Malvern areas.

I’m looking forward to personally getting out and meeting some of these great families in the communities we serve.

Strategy and Customer Experience

Welcoming more customers back
The TTC is preparing to welcome back more customers with marketing campaigns, letting those who have been away during the pandemic know that the TTC is safe and the best way to get around Toronto to enjoy all the great venues and attractions the city has to offer. We’re ready to serve our customers when they’re ready to return to us.

Our safety campaign kicked off this month to inform customers about all the safety measures we’ve put in place since the start of the pandemic. It’s targeted to customers not currently travelling on the system. The campaign is appearing on our vehicles, transit shelters across the city, promoted on Spotify and English and ethnic digital media. Along with English, this safety campaign is also running in Chinese, Italian, Farsi, Tamil and Spanish. Also, ads will appear on various apps and will be promoted through our social media channels.

In September, we’re rolling out our Welcome Back campaign. This is part two of our readiness and recovery plan.

Through this campaign, we showcase many great places in the city people can visit by taking the TTC. It will be available across our system and promoted in the same far-reaching manner as the safety campaign.

TTC 100
The TTC is less than a month away from marking 100 years in service. As part of commemorating a century of public service, we’re thrilled to tell you that on September 1, the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square and the CN Tower will both be lit red in honour of our anniversary.

We’re doing a lot of great things to mark the occasion on all of our vehicles, in our stations and on our social media channels. We’re going to be taking people on a trip down memory lane as we look back on our history of moving Toronto over the last 100 years. Our campaign includes fascinating historic images and street banner ads, including giant banners on display outside Union Station on Front Street from September 1 to October 1.

Along with a special 100th anniversary website, which will include more amazing historical photos and descriptions about the TTC’s story, we’re looking forward to unveiling a commemorative anniversary book for purchase at our online TTC Shop in the weeks following the anniversary date.

More announcements to come so please stay tuned.

Update on RapidTO
On July 28, the City of Toronto and the TTC released their first dashboard for the RapidTO program – the priority bus lanes that were installed last fall along parts of Eglinton Avenue East, Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue.

Early results are promising and show an average travel time savings of up to six minutes compared to October 2019, and up to five minutes compared to just before the installation of the lanes in the p.m. peak period. Headway reliability, which was measured in the eastbound direction at Markham Road during the busiest hour of the p.m. peak period, improved by an average of 12 per cent, with the 116 Morningside service improving by 19 per cent.

As more TTC customers rely on the bus network for their trips than any other mode of transit, giving buses exclusive use of priority lanes is important for the long-term health of the city and quality of life for its residents.

With promising results from the first dashboard, we’re continuing to work with the city on studying measures to improve speed and reliability on Jane Street, and on other key corridors as identified in our 5-Year Service Plan and the City’s ongoing Surface Transit Network Plan.

Annual Service Plan (ASP) implementation
Annual Service Plan initiatives identified and approved for this year will be implemented, starting with the following Express route changes starting in September:

• New Saturday express service on 929 Dufferin Express.

• New weekday midday express service on 941 Keele Express.

• New weekday midday and early evening service on 960 Steeles West Express.

Additional ASP initiatives are planned for October and November, including route changes and more Express services, such as:

• 121 Fort York-Esplanade will change and be renamed, with service removed from Fort York, but new service on River Street in Regent Park.

• A new route, 128 Stanley Greene, will provide new peak service between Wilson Station and new neighbourhoods in Downsview Park.

• New weekday peak Express services on Kennedy (943 Kennedy Express) and Warden (968 Warden Express).

• New off-peak periods of Express service on Steeles East (953) and Steeles West (960).

Public consultations
I’d like to thank everyone who participated in two consultations that were recently published on the TTC website. The first consultation was regarding next year’s ASP, where we were seeking feedback to help us develop proposed surface routes to connect to the future Line 5 Eglinton, scheduled to open in 2022, and other service initiatives to support ridership recovery. This consultation closed on July 16.

I’d like to express our gratitude to stakeholders and youth ambassadors who provided valuable feedback from various communities across the city. We took full advantage of our social media platforms, digital advertising, station platforms screens and public address announcements to promote the survey.

The second consultation asked for public feedback on future bus replacement service needed for when the Scarborough RT (Line 3) closes in 2023. This consultation, which ended on July 23, will help to inform and develop the bus replacement plan and the report back to the TTC Board later this year.

Links to the consultation were distributed widely via the Board, City Councillor networks, social media and transit stakeholders to help ensure that anyone impacted by decommissioning of Line 3 had an opportunity to comment on the options being considered to keep transit routes similar to current services and minimize additional travel time for customers.


Free Warriors’ Day rides for military and vets
Also celebrating a 100-year anniversary this year is the Warriors’ Day Parade Council, which was established in 1921. Although the Warriors’ Day Parade at the CNE has been cancelled because of the pandemic, the TTC will continue to honour current and former members of Canada’s military by providing them, and one companion, with free service on Warriors’ Day on Saturday, August 21.

It’s a great honour for the TTC to salute all those who serve, or have served, with Canada’s forces by providing free travel every year on Warriors’ Day and on Remembrance Day.

Wheel-Trans sedan taxis serve bus platforms
Starting on August 21, authorized Wheel-Trans sedan taxis will begin servicing all accessible subway stations on the system. Customers will start seeing clearly marked sedan taxis using both aboveground and underground bus platforms to give Wheel-Trans customers a more direct connection into the subway. Only authorized sedan taxis with the affixed Wheel-Trans decal are permitted to enter these stations.

Infrastructure and Engineering

Ten-day closure – Queen Street East (Leslie Street to Woodbine Avenue)
Starting on August 21, authorized Wheel-Trans sedan taxis will begin servicing all accessible subway stations on the system. Customers will start seeing clearly marked sedan taxis using both aboveground and underground bus platforms to give Wheel-Trans customers a more direct connection into the subway. Only authorized sedan taxis with the affixed Wheel-Trans decal are permitted to enter these stations.

As part of our State of Good Repair Program, the TTC completed work to replace rail at the westbound streetcar stop on Queen Street East at Glen Manor Drive from July 26 to August 5. This work coincided with track renewal work currently underway at the King/Queen/Roncesvalles intersection, and a track renewal project on Queen Street West between Bay Street to Fennings Street, as well as rail repairs at various locations along Queen Street East.

Safety and Environment

Vaccination clinics
We’ve been very pleased with the pop-up vaccination clinics that have been held at various TTC properties. In addition to those who got their shots through community clinics and pharmacies, more than 3,000 TTC workers, contractors and consultants have received their first or second dose at nearly 20 workplace clinics. Many of these clinics also extended an invitation to the family members of employees. We’re all very grateful for the close collaboration staff have developed with hospitals, health providers and community partners who put on these clinics, and we’re continually looking for more opportunities for pop-up clinics.

ACAT applications available
And finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) will be accepting applications for new members from September 7 to 21. ACAT is a 15-member committee that advises the TTC on the difficulties faced by persons with disabilities as well as seniors, and makes recommendations on the elimination of barriers to accessible public transit.

ACAT is also committed to providing opportunities for diverse voices to influence Accessibility in Transit. We welcome members from all communities, including racialized, Indigenous, Military, LGBTQ2+ and other groups to apply.

Applications will be available at starting on September 7 for any resident of Toronto interested in joining the committee. Applications can also be requested by phone at 416-393-3030 or 1-800-855-0511 (relay service for people who are deaf or hearing impaired), and mailed to Wheel-Trans – ACAT applications c/o Customer Service, 580 Commissioners St., Toronto ON, M4M 1A7. They can also be faxed to 416-338-0126. All applications must be received no later than 4 p.m. on September 21. Please visit to learn more about the committee and its responsibilities.

I want to wish everyone a safe and happy summer. No doubt it will be a busy fall and I hope everyone is getting some time to relax and recharge. The next TTC Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 15 and will be live-streamed on the Official TTC YouTube Channel, starting at 10 a.m.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
August 2021

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