Message from the Executives

CEO Report September commentary


CEO's Report - September commentary

On September 1st, the TTC officially marked its 100th year in service. Mayor John Tory proclaimed the day as TTC Centenary Day in the city of Toronto.

Looking back at 100 years in business, and how Toronto and the TTC have grown up together, there’s no doubt that public transit has played a massive role in the development of our city. In 1921, Adult fares were set at seven cents and tickets were four for 25 cents. Ridership in the TTC’s first full year of service (1922) was 187 million.

While the past 18 months have been difficult for the TTC and other transit systems around the world, it’s important to not forget our customer numbers prior to COVID-19. Since our inception 100 years ago, the TTC has carried more than 32 billion customers. Nearly 85 per cent of all local transit trips in the GTA are made right here on the TTC. Pre-pandemic, on a typical weekday, we had 1.7 million customer journeys or nearly 530 million riders annually – one of the highest per-capita ridership rates on the continent.

We marked the official anniversary in several different ways, including at a special event held at Roncesvalles Carhouse in west end Toronto. Along with TTC Chair Jaye Robinson, Mayor Tory and other special guests, including a number of former TTC Chairs, we paid tribute to all the employees of the TTC – past and present – for their hard work and tireless dedication, and for delivering safe, reliable and efficient transit to all our customers over the past century.

On September 1, the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square and the CN Tower were both lit red in recognition of our century of service to the citizens of our great city. Later this month, that pride and dedication can be experienced in a special edition book published by the TTC. It’s titled – A Century of Moving Toronto: TTC 1921-2021. Look for it in the TTC’s Online Shop at ttc.ca. We will continue to mark our centenary throughout the year ahead and I will be sure to update you on these celebrations.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our funding partners: Government of Canada, Province of Ontario and City of Toronto. I’d also like to thank our neighbouring local and regional transit partners who we are closely connected with.

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 over the past century – we couldn’t have achieved any of this without you.

People

Mandatory vaccinations for TTC employees

On August 19, the TTC, along with the City of Toronto, announced it would be introducing a new vaccine policy making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all TTC employees, contractors and students. We released our policy on Septebmer 7. This is an important step for the TTC as we continue to move forward with recovery. The TTC has been a leader throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with respect to safety, and getting vaccinated is one more critical way we can all do our part.

Diversity and Culture

Back to school with new backpacks

I’m never disappointed in the generosity of TTC employees. For the second consecutive year, volunteer organizers gave their time and effort to support the Toronto and Region Chapter of Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) with its backpack and fundraising drive. Through the month of August, staff from across the company 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, where employees across the property donated 850 backpacks stuffed school supplies to support kids in the Jane/Emmett community in Toronto.

Introducing TTC’s Diversity Award

The TTC recognizes employees who demonstrate core values, such as safety, leadership, customer service, teamwork, innovation and creativity. Hundreds of TTC people have been celebrated for doing a great job, going above and beyond, as well as driving positive change across the company.

This summer, we introduced a new award category – Diversity. The Diversity award recognizes employees who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging. These individuals model inclusive behaviour and act as champions for diversity and inclusion. I’m looking forward to seeing all the nominations and congratulating our award recipients later this year.

Strategy and Customer Experience

Back to school service

TTC ridership analysis from the start of August recorded weekday revenue rides reaching a new peak with an average of 658,000 revenue trips daily. The week of August 3 was the second busiest week during the pandemic for customer boardings with a weekday average of 1,293,000 or 40 per cent of pre-COVID. Since the reopening of the economy in June, system-wide weekday revenue rides have increased by 30 per cent.

Starting in September and continuing into the fall season, it’s expected that ridership and boardings will increase as most secondary and some post-secondary students return to classes, and some office workers return to their workplaces, likely in a hybrid format. As students’ and office workers’ travel is during peak times of the day, the TTC forecasts most ridership growth this fall will occur in the peak hours, more so than the off-peak growth experienced earlier in the pandemic. It’s expected the evening rush hour will remain the busiest, while off-peak demand will remain relatively strong.

To accommodate anticipated increased service demand in September, the TTC has:

> Increased service system-wide to support the expected increase in ridership, including 25 per cent more subway trains on Line 1 and Line 2 at peak times on weekdays

> Increased service system-wide to support the expected increase in ridership, including 25 per cent more subway trains on Line 1 and Line 2 at peak times on weekdays

> Deployed an additional 180 special school trips to manage anticipated high school student ridership and communicating with school boards to determine hot spots, student volumes and start and dismissal times

> Deployed an additional 180 special school trips to manage anticipated high school student ridership and communicating with school boards to determine hot spots, student volumes and start and dismissal times

> Increased or restored service on nearly 30 bus routes that serve post-secondary institutions and other major transit corridors, and implementing new periods of express service on four routes

> Increased or restored service on nearly 30 bus routes that serve post-secondary institutions and other major transit corridors, and implementing new periods of express service on four routes

> Restored service on nearly all 900 series express routes and introducing new service on the 938 Highland Creek Express, adding new weekday midday and early evening service on 960 Steeles West Express, and new weekday midday express service on 941 Keele Express. Additional express routes are planned for October.

> Restored service on nearly all 900 series express routes and introducing new service on the 938 Highland Creek Express, adding new weekday midday and early evening service on 960 Steeles West Express, and new weekday midday express service on 941 Keele Express. Additional express routes are planned for October.

> Maintained service flexibility, adjusting service to meet demand and continuing to operate demand-responsive bus service to supplement scheduled service.

> Maintained service flexibility, adjusting service to meet demand and continuing to operate demand-responsive bus service to supplement scheduled service.

We’ve made certain our service is ready to for the change in demand, while ensuring customers remain safe while travelling on our vehicles.

I’d like to also note that Durham Region Transit is introducing for the first time an overnight network in the region, starting on September 7. Its Route N1 Blue Night service will connect with the TTC’s Blue Night network in Scarborough, which will provide riders with a safer and more seamless transit experience.

Update on Wi-Fi pilot on 35 Jane and 102 Markham Road buses

In late spring, 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 the first week in August. Feedback gathered indicated that customers were generally very positive about the pilot, However, it was also clear that continued education about the pilot was important as many customers were not aware that Wi-Fi was available on the two routes.

We’re 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 with you more details on the second phase of the pilot in the coming months.

Update on the TTC’s 5-Year Fare Policy and 10-Year Collection Outlook

In May 2021, we updated the Board on the 5-Year Fare Policy and 10-Year Fare Collection Outlook. Since this last update, we used the fare policy goals and findings from the first phase of the fare policy work to develop a shortlist of fare options for further consideration. This includes fare integration options between the TTC and York Region Transit, fare capping, expansion of the low-income discount, free fares and full cost recovery.

We’re now completing a technical analysis to understand customer, ridership and revenue impacts of these options to determine the preferred fare options most aligned with our fare policy goals. We’ve also reviewed the current fare collection system against the identified best practices to determine any gaps, and conducted vendor demonstrations from the Request for Information on system integrators. The findings from this work, as well as the final fare policy, will be applied to the development of the fare collection outlook to ensure modernization of the system is driven by fare policy.

We will provide a further update on this work later in the fall, which will include recommendations on the preferred fare options and fare collection options.

Engineering, Construction and Expansion

Capacity enhancement projects

Looking ahead to meetings in the fall, the Board will be requested to action a number a key reports related to the TTC’s capacity enhancement projects.

TTC staff are scheduled to bring forward progress reports on the Automatic Train Control signalling system for Lines 1 and 2, and the Bloor-Yonge Station capacity improvements project. Both programs are major, multi-phase undertakings that are critical to the TTC’s ability to provide needed system capacity for future expansion and ridership growth forecasts.

The TTC anticipates ridership projections will materialize within the upcoming 20-year planning horizon window, and that investment in subway capacity will still be required despite the current impacts to transit demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety and Environment

Vaccine clinics continue at the TTC

The TTC is continuing to work with our community partners to support vaccination efforts. Along with employee vaccination clinics held for employees and their families, the TTC has also begun working with our health partners to host vaccination clinics at our stations open to TTC employees as well as the general public.

At the end of August, we hosted clinics at Victoria Park and Main Street stations. Run by East Toronto Health Partners, hundreds of people were able to receive a shot, many of them first doses. Subsequent clinics were held again at Victoria Park Station as well as Islington and Warden Stations in early September. The TTC has also partnered with Humber River Hospital to hold vaccination clinics at Sheppard West Station.

We will continue to promote these clinics and encourage everyone to share the information with friends and family members who are still looking to get fully vaccinated. Supporting vaccine efforts is just one more way we can do our part and held put this pandemic behind us.

ACAT applications available

I’d like to remind everyone that the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) will be accepting applications for new members until September 21.

Applications will be available at ttc.ca starting on September 7 for any resident of Toronto interested in joining the advisory 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 ttc.ca/acat to learn more the committee and its responsibilities.

ACAT is a 15-member committee that advises the TTC on the difficulties faced by persons with disabilities and seniors, and makes recommendations on the elimination of barriers to accessible public transit.

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

September 2021

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