Message from the Executives
CEO's Report: December Commentary
As 2021 comes to close I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the TTC’s key achievements from this past year as well as thank the Board for their support and guidance. As always, we have worked hard to keep the city moving and I would like to recognize all of the TTC’s employees for their hard work this year – navigating through the global COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy and I continue to be impressed with the dedication displayed by everyone.
This December marks two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many aspects of the TTC that have been changed by this virus. Early on, we saw are our ridership numbers plummet as a strict lockdown was imposed. Since that point, we have seen our customers start to return. Today, we are at 50 per cent of pre-pandemic ridership and our bus network continues to be the workhorse of the fleet with 57 per cent of pre-COVID ridership levels. Streetcar and subway are both increasing as well with 48 per cent and 42 per cent of pre-COVID numbers, respectively.
This year was also memorable for the TTC as we celebrated our 100th anniversary. On September 1st, the TTC officially marked its 100th year in service with a special event at Roncesvalles Carhouse along with TTC Chair Jaye Robinson, Mayor Tory and other special guests, including a number of former TTC Chairs. Since 1921, Toronto’s transit system has carried more than 32 billion customers, and has grown into the third largest carrier in North America. The TTC has become one of the most visible and vital public service organizations in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
The TTC is a proud company filled with people who are committed to delivering the best service to meet our customers’ evolving needs. Thank you to all our employees, past and present, over the past century – we could not have achieved any of this without you.
TTC establishes a dedicated Innovation and Sustainability Program
As announced by TTC Chair Jaye Robinson at the Annual Smart Rail Technology Conference, the TTC is pleased to be establishing a dedicated, organization-wide Innovation and Sustainability Program (ISP). Its mandate will be to advance planning, integration, delivery, and reporting of innovation initiatives, while incorporating a climate and resiliency lens.
The ISP team will build on excellent work done to date and continue to help us prepare for the future. That means more creative solutions available sooner to better serve our customers, reduce our environmental impact, and make our operations more resilient to the effects of climate change.
The ISP team will help deliver on our commitments under the TTC’s Corporate Plan, Critical Path 5: Innovate for the Long-Term and the City’s TransformTO Climate Action Plan, which targets net zero emissions by 2050, or sooner. To note, the TTC has committed to 100-per-cent zero emissions from buses by 2040.
Mandatory Vaccination Policy update
Safety is a core value at the TTC. Our priority during the pandemic continues to be making sure everyone working at the TTC is kept as safe as possible. At the end of November, we moved forward with the next phase of our Mandatory Vaccine Policy. At the time of writing this commentary, 95 per cent of our employees have shared their vaccination status with us and 93 per cent of all active employees are fully vaccinated.
I want to thank everyone who has gotten vaccinated and disclosed their status. This is an important step in putting the pandemic behind us and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to keep our family, friends and communities healthy.
First all-female class at the TTC
This past summer, the TTC welcomed its first all-female transit Operator class. This class includes 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 a part of our 10-Point Action Plan on Diversity and Inclusion, which was launched in 2020.
In that plan we committed to rethinking our outreach and recruitment efforts in order to attract more diverse talent and ensuring that women should make up 40 per cent of all new Operators hired at the TTC. In Q3 2021, we hired 121 Operators (107 women, 14 men), with women representing 88 per cent of that total. Year to date, we have hired 265 Operators, 131 of them women.
We continue to review our policies and programs to support this objective and we look forward to updating the Board more formally on our progress in the new year.
Diversity and Culture Group
The TTC celebrates diversity and inclusion
The TTC is committed to ensuring that all its customers feel welcome on the TTC. This year, the TTC recognized both Black History Month and National Indigenous History Month in internal and external campaigns.
In February, the TTC designed a campaign that showcased the accomplishments of prominent Black Canadians who were “firsts” in their respective fields, and who played a critical role in shaping our great city and country. Images of individuals like William Peyton Hubbard, Jean Augustine, Lincoln Alexander and Rosemary Brown appeared on number of wrapped buses, streetcars and trains, as well as featured on station posters, video screens and online.
To recognize the history of Indigenous Peoples, for the month of June, the TTC created an educational poster campaign showcasing various locations across Toronto that highlighted the cultural teachings and traditions of Indigenous Peoples. One of those stops was our very own Spadina Station. Stoic Totem Poles, Owl, Wolf and Hawk (artwork by Gitxsan First Nation from Hazelton, B.C.) have greeted hundreds of millions of bus and subway riders since 1979. Our thanks again to the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and Indigenous Young Elder, Philip Cote, for assisting us in creating an awareness campaign that we shared with customers and employees online, in stations as well as on vehicles across the network.
Recognizing both these months are small, but significant parts of what we need to do as a company to make sure we are creating real, lasting and meaningful change, and to ensure that the TTC is a safe and welcoming place for customers as well as employees.
COMTO Toronto and Region Chapter recognized
In September, the Toronto and Region Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) received the Best Emerging Chapter Award from COMTO National. Employees from the TTC were instrumental in founding the Toronto and Region Chapter.
The Toronto and Region Chapter has had many successes in its inaugural year, including holding 10 speaker events aimed at educating audience members on diversity and inclusion. Some of the topics covered this year include, “Addressing the Rise in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes” for Asian Heritage Month and as well as hearing from Chief R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
COMTO Toronto and Region also held its annual backpack and fundraising drive. Throughout August, staff from across the organization donated more than 1,000 new backpacks filled with school supplies for children and youth in the Jane/Finch, Rexdale and Malvern communities.
The backpacks were distributed through community centres and directly to students as well as families in time for the new school year. This is an increase from last year when employees across the property donated 850 backpacks stuffed school supplies to support kids in the Jane/Emmett community in Toronto.
Strategy and Customer Experience Group
The TTC has been working with the City on the RapidTO Bus and Streetcar Priority program, which is currently developing a plan to guide the study, evaluation and delivery of bus and streetcar transit priority measures in Toronto.
Phase 1 of consultation, which focused on the criteria used to determine which roads to prioritize, wrapped-up on November 28. It included a survey, a marketing and outreach campaign, and a series of virtual public meetings. The project team is currently working towards Phase 2 of public consultation, which is expected in early 2022. The second phase will identify the roadways and their respective year for the study of transit priority measures.
While the overall plan for RapidTO: Bus and Streetcar Priority is under consultation, the City and the TTC are proceeding with studying the transit priority measures on Jane Street. Public consultation is expected to begin in early 2022 and outreach will target the Jane area and include users of all modes of transportation.
TTC launches its new accessible website
In October, the TTC launched the new ttc.ca. The website is a seamless, responsive and more accessible user experience that will help customers better navigate our transit system. The website was designed with the customer in mind, with a focus on mobile. Some key features include a simple layout a live service alert widget, as well as better search options in Routes and Schedules section. The TTC also wants to thank ACAT and Chair Igor Samardzic for their leadership and support. The website will continue to evolve with regular content updates and upgrades moving forward to best serve customers.
Bus passenger volume available on apps
This past spring, the TTC introduced a new function to help customers plan their trips. Riders using the Rocketman and Transit mobile apps now have access to real-time bus passenger count information to help them better plan trips. Working in partnership with those app developers, the TTC provided them with secure data streams that were translated into an easy-to-read, three-tier notification system using one, two or three ‘person’ icons. The notifications are based on actual passenger volume as a percentage of vehicle capacity.
For the time being, the feature is only available for TTC buses as it is the only fleet fully equipped with the passenger count technology. We know our bus network is unique in the challenges it faces at this time – in particular, serving high-density parts of the city where many people are working in essential frontline jobs. These apps are one more way the TTC is giving customers valuable information as they plan and take their trips.
Wi-Fi pilot on 35 Jane and 102 Markham Road buses
Earlier this year, the TTC began testing free Wi-Fi on the 35 Jane and 102 Markham Road bus routes. This pilot is part of a phased proof-of-concept trial aimed at improving the TTC’s service offering, and is specifically targeted towards priority neighbourhoods in Toronto.
To better understand customer awareness of this pilot, as well as the need for Wi-Fi in these neighbourhoods, the TTC conducted intercept surveys on the two bus routes and found that customers were generally very positive about the pilot. We are in the process of doing a fulsome evaluation of this phase of the pilot to inform the expansion of Wi-Fi in buses across the system. We look forward to sharing more details on the second phase of the pilot in the new year.
McNicoll Garage opens
In March, the TTC opened a new bus facility. McNicoll, located in north Scarborough, is the TTC’s ninth bus facility (includes Lakeshore-Wheel-Trans). The facility is about 29,000 square metres in size and is home to nearly 100 maintenance employees and 400 Operators.
A total of 15 services operate out of McNicoll. They are: 10 Van Horne, 17 Birchmount, 39 Finch East, 42 Cummer, 43 Kennedy, 51 Leslie, 53 Steeles East, 57 Midland, 68 Warden, 115 Silver Hills, 122 Graydon Hall, 129 McCowan North, 167 Pharmacy North, 939 Finch East Express and 953 Steeles East Express.
The garage has capacity for up to 250 accessible, 12-metre buses, and will provide the TTC much-needed maintenance and storage space to help address overcapacity issues at existing garages.
60 new streetcars coming to the TTC
This year, the Board and City Council approved the purchase of 60 accessible streetcars and upgrades to Hillcrest Complex.
The funding commitments by Federal, Provincial and City partners enabled the TTC to secure the additional vehicles, as well as much-needed investments at Hillcrest, to accommodate an expanded fleet. Our Streetcar Program gives us the ability to provide reliable and accessible service for decades to come.
Investment in public infrastructure, transit especially, is critical to local and national economies as we begin to put the pandemic behind us and welcome customers back to the system. These new streetcars will contribute to a reduction in gridlock and provide faster, more frequent and environmentally friendly TTC service.
Effective transit is an important contributor to the city’s prosperity, and this investment recognizes how important it is for Torontonians to be able to get to places efficiently. The first deliveries are scheduled to start in late 2023. This purchase will bring the total fleet size to 264 by 2025.
Engineering, Construction and Expansion Group
TTC completes three extended subway closures on Line 1
In May, we completed three extended subway closures on Line 1 Yonge-University, between St George and St Andrew stations. This stretch of track was closed for 10 days on three occasions this year to perform a variety of essential maintenance and state-of-good-repair work. Some of the major work finished by crews included:
• Completion of 44,000 square feet of asbestos abatement at St Patrick and Queen’s Park platforms, saving about two years of platform closures/trains bypassing at each station.
• Installation of new, high-capacity traction power cables.
Accelerating this work during a period of reduced ridership has spared our customers between 75 and 100 weekend closures over the next few years.
During the pandemic, our engineering and infrastructure teams have taken a different and innovative approach to some of our most critical state-of-good-repair work, and we have made significant progress. Surveys have shown that customers are supportive of this approach, and we truly appreciate their patience and understanding.
Safety and Environment Group
Vaccination clinics update
The TTC has always been a leader with respect to safety. To date, the TTC has held 61 vaccination clinics for its employees and customers and our health partners have administered roughly 9,500 shots – many of them first doses.
We remain incredibly proud of this and we are continuing to support the City’s ongoing vaccination efforts.
Holiday donation drives at the TTC
The generosity of TTC employees never ceases to impress – this holiday season is no different. Many of the TTC’s volunteer groups are sharing holiday cheer across the city with holiday food, clothes and toy drives to help local community organizations. Employees and customers are encouraged to join in and help those in need. These efforts include a food drive for veterans, a coat drive for children and youth as well as Stuff-the-Bus initiatives for Sick Kids, Abuse Hurts and LAMP Community Health Centre. Other employee-led initiatives will support the Malvern Community Centre, the Shelley Cares Foundation and a women’s shelter in the GTA.
Thank you to all employees and community partners involved in co-ordinating these events, including: Arrow Road, Birchmount, Eglinton, Mount Dennis, Danforth, Malvern and McNicoll divisions as well as COMTO Toronto and Region Chapter.
Please note that due to the timing of the November and December Board meetings, the December CEO’s Report reflects the same information as November, with the exception of the CEO’s Commentary.
The next TTC Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 8 and will be live-streamed on the Official TTC YouTube Channel, starting at 10 a.m.
Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer