Message from the Executives
CEO's Report April Commentary
We’re very pleased to see our customers returning to the system, and their safety as well as the safety of our employees remains the top priority for us. Last month, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer announced that mask mandates for many indoor settings would be lifted on March 21. While public transit wasn’t included in this change, Dr. Moore did say that remaining mask mandates could be lifted on April 27.
With that in mind, the TTC’s mask mandate for those travelling on the TTC will remain in place until at least that date. The mandate was first approved by our Board on June 17, 2020, and gave us the flexibility to lift the mandate in consultation with Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. So for the time being, it’s status quo with respect to our mask policy. I look forward to providing further updates as we get closer to the end of the month.
As we continue to move forward with reopening, the TTC continues to see ridership increases across all modes. Bus boardings continue to lead at 60 per cent of pre-COVID levels with streetcar and subway boardings at 49 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively. We expect to see more of our customers returning throughout the spring.
Nothing says spring like Toronto Blue Jays baseball. The TTC wishes the Blue Jays all the best this season as they prepare for a highly anticipated home opener against the Texas Rangers on April 8. There’s no better way to get downtown to cheer on the Jays than on the TTC. This baseball season holds a lot of promise and we’re looking forward to welcoming Jays fans through our doors all year long. Go Jays!
TTC’s return to office
On April 4, we were excited to welcome back to the office employees who had been working remotely since the start of the pandemic. At this time, these employees will return for two-to-three days a week.
We’ll continue to be flexible in our approach to meet the needs of staff from various departments across the organization while supporting the overall business of the TTC. Each step of the way during this transition, the safety and well-being of our employees continues to be the top priority. While staff remains highly productive working remotely, it’s a pleasure to see our hallways and offices more active once again. Welcome back!
Diversity and Culture Group
Earth Day at the TTC
Innovation and sustainability are key priorities for the TTC, and that’s just one of the reasons we’re looking forward to celebrating Earth Day this year. Throughout the week of April 18-22, the TTC will be sharing a number of interesting facts and behind-the-scenes videos to remind customers why we’re the greener way. This information will also be shared with employees so they all know how we’re working together to help the planet.
Many of our employees are also passionate about giving back to the communities we serve. On April 23, our Mount Dennis Recreation Committee is spearheading clean-up efforts in the surrounding neighbourhood, with many TTC volunteers and family members chipping in.
Next TTC Connects virtual session
On April 28, the TTC’s Talent Management team is hosting a virtual information session focused on women interested in the role of Operator and career advancement at the TTC. This is the third such event that we’ve conducted to attract and develop diverse, qualified candidates for this position. I will be joining several women colleagues to talk about our career experiences and opportunities that come with working at the TTC, and the satisfaction that comes with serving our communities.
Similar to previous events, we will be working with community organizations focused on supporting women. This time, we will also be reaching out to Neighbourhood Improvement Areas in Toronto. As always, the event will be advertised widely and everyone is once again welcome to register to join at ttc.ca/join.
COMTO Toronto and Region Launches a new website
As the Toronto and Region Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) enters its second year, I’m pleased to see the Chapter launch a new website: www.comtotorontoandregion.ca, which will continue to feature information about upcoming events and initiatives, and most importantly how you can get involved.
COMTO is an advocacy organization whose mission is to eliminate barriers for maximum participation for equity-seeking groups across the entire transportation sector. The Toronto and Region Chapter of COMTO is the first chapter of the organization outside the United States, and many TTC employees were among its founding members.
Strategy and Customer Experience Group
Service planning: Increases to service
We continue to restore service across the city, which saw temporary reductions last November. Starting on Sunday, May 8, the TTC begins increasing service on the following bus and streetcar routes: 29 Dufferin, 41 Keele, 43 Kennedy, 68 Warden, 929 Dufferin Express, 939 Finch Express, 941 Keele Express, 943 Kennedy Express, 968 Warden Express, 985 Sheppard East Express, 512 St Clair, 365 Parliament, 16 McCowan, 17 Birchmount, 36 Finch West, 81 Thorncliffe Park, 83 Woodbine, 927 Hwy 27 Express, 996 Wilson Express and 509 Harbourfront.
The TTC is also introducing new schedules for the following routes to improve service reliability: 29 Dufferin, 30 High Park, 33 Forest Hill, 52 Lawrence West, 60 Steeles West, 62 Mortimer, 68 Warden, 73 Royal York, 76 Royal York South, 77 Swansea, 93 Parkview Hills, 101 Downsview Park, 929 Dufferin Express, 952 Lawrence West Express and 960 Steeles West Express.
Along with seasonal increases on the 86 Scarborough, 92 Woodbine South and 175 Bluffer’s Park services, we’re also introducing two new seasonal routes next month: 172 Cherry Beach and 174 Ontario Place-Exhibition.
The 172 will run between Union Station and Cherry Beach, connecting Union with the Waterfront East, Distillery District and Cherry Beach. This new service will replace the previous service operated on the 121D Fort York-Esplanade branch. The 172 will operate seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Friday and Sunday. On Saturdays, service will run from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.
The 174 will run between Exhibition Loop and Ontario Place, connecting 509 Harbourfront and 511 Bathurst streetcar routes to Ontario Place. This new service will replace the previous service operated on the 121D Fort York-Esplanade branch. The 174 will operate seven days a week, from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily.
Ongoing TTC100 celebrations
If you’re rediscovering the city’s great attractions all over again, the Toronto Archives, in partnership with the TTC, has opened its public exhibit, The TTC –100 Years of Moving Toronto. The display of artifacts and archival photographs is a continuation of our 100th anniversary celebrations.
The exhibit is free to attend in person, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Archives is located at 255 Spadina Rd., steps from Dupont Station on Line 1 Yonge-University.
On April 4, we launched our TTC100 contest, in partnership with the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the STEPS Initiative. The contest invites students of all ages to submit their ideas for the future of the TTC. We’re eager to see what these creative, young minds come up with and look forward to helping bring their ideas to life. The contest will culminate with an event at Nathan Phillips Square in August and an opportunity for winners to show off their mock-ups to our great city.
Infrastructure and Engineering Group
Crews from our Infrastructure and Engineering Group have another ambitious year of essential state-of-good-repair and modernization work set for 2022. Subway and surface teams plan to carry out complex installations and testing of track, signals and other safety-critical equipment across most of the subway and streetcar networks this year; this also includes supporting critical expansion efforts at Eglinton Station as part of the Line 5 Eglinton (Crosstown LRT) work. Below is a schedule of planned nightly, full-day, late-opening and weekend-long closures this month:
For Line 5 Eglinton (Crosstown) work
• Weekend closure, April 2-3, St Clair to Lawrence
• Weekend closure, April 9-10, St Clair to Lawrence
• Weekend closure, April 16-17, St Clair to Lawrence
• Weekend closure, April 23-24, St Clair to Lawrence
• Single day closure, April 30, St Clair to Lawrence
For State of Good Repair work
• Late opening (noon) for structure maintenance/bridge beam replacement, April 3, St George to Broadview
• Early access (11 p.m.) for track maintenance, April 4-7, Spadina to King
• Early access (11 p.m.) for track maintenance, April 11-14, Spadina to King
• Early access (11 p.m.) for structure maintenance, April 18-21, King to Osgoode
For Scarborough Subway Extension work
• Weekend closure for Kennedy enabling work, April 16-17, Kennedy to Warden
For Automatic Train Control work
• Early access (11 p.m.) for ATC resignalling work, April 25-28, Finch West to Lawrence West
For overhead maintenance work
• Nightly, 12-4 a.m., April 5-7, on Spadina from Queen’s Quay to Bloor
• Nightly, April 19-21, Neville Loop
• Nightly, April 26-28, St Clair West Station
For streetcar track maintenance work
• Weekend closure, 11 p.m. April 22 to 5 a.m. April 25, Harbourfront Tunnel
• Weekend closure, 8 p.m. April 29 to 5 a.m. May 2, Gerrard West of Sackville (eastbound)
• Nightly, April 4-7, Spadina and College
• Nightly, April 11-14, Broadview and Dundas
Dates are subject to change, but it’s important to remember that a full-day closure is equal to generally about five weeks of nightly wayside work.
Opening of Track and Structure Training Centre
This month, the Track and Structure Training Centre will open for training at our Wilson Complex. The Training Centre offers employees the unique opportunity for hands-on training without any interruptions to service. The Training Centre also allows employees to learn new skills without time constraints.
Canadian Content requirement for streetcar order
On May 28, 2021, the TTC successfully executed a contract amendment with Alstom SA (Alstom), increasing our streetcar fleet to 264 from 204 vehicles by the end of 2024. All of Alstom’s major parts suppliers have been contracted and are currently on track to deliver on-schedule. Production at Alstom’s facilities continues to ramp-up and TTC staff are providing oversight to design, quality and commercial performance.
One key commercial performance requirement is to ensure that the minimum Canadian Content requirement is achieved. The contract requires a minimum of 25 per cent Canadian Content, which is the highest minimum that can be specified according to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. On the base order of 204 streetcars, the TTC contracted an independent auditor who found that the Canadian Content achieved by Alstom was slightly higher than 50 per cent.
For the production of the 60 additional streetcars, Alstom has reported a reduction in local engineering design hours compared to the base order, a few changes to its supply chain, and the transfer of production of some of its own major components from Sahagun, Mexico to its facility in La Pocatière, Quebec. While Alstom has not undertaken a detailed assessment of the impact of these changes on Canadian Content, they expect that the net impact will be relatively neutral, and that the complete 264-streetcar order will once again achieve a Canadian Content of approximately double the requirement. However, Alstom also reports that there are roughly 175 more full-time Canadian jobs working on the current options order for 60 streetcars as the result of the transfer of production for truck frames, roof and side wall structures, articulations and end portals from Mexico to Canada.
As a measure of due diligence, the TTC has once again contracted an independent audit to be undertaken to validate Alstom’s report, thereby ensuring the benefits to local jobs and the Canadian economy.
Alstom is nearing the completion of its Major Repair Program (MRP) on the TTC’s accessible streetcar fleet. As of March 31, a total of 51 streetcars out of 67 in the MRP have been completed for weld repairs. This work was originally scheduled to be completed by late-2023, but as a result of reduced ridership caused by the pandemic, the program was accelerated and is now scheduled for completion this summer.
As part of the MRP, Alstom was also able to complete modifications to other vehicle components that will improve overall reliability of our fleet to coincide with ridership increases that we’re beginning to see, and a return to the office in many workplaces across the city. The availability of additional streetcars will assist us with new Operator training and certification.
TTC Garage of the Year
Every year, staff from our bus garages compare a number of key performance indicators, such as bus performance, safety audit results and employee attendance, in order to assess the best performing facility across the property. I’m pleased to announce that Birchmount Garage in the east end was selected as TTC Bus Garage of the Year, followed closely by Queensway Garage in the west end as most improved garage in 2021.
Safety and Environment Group
Vax and Ride clinics in the subway
Team Toronto, in partnership with the TTC, recently hosted a total of 75 vaccine clinics at 10 stations across the system. The Vax and Ride campaign kicked off on March 28 at Dufferin Station. Other stations in the two-week effort include: Sheppard West, Islington, Jane, Sheppard-Yonge, St Clair West, Bathurst, Kennedy, Warden and York University. These clinics were offering first, second, third and pediatric doses, with no appointment necessary or TTC fare required.
As the city reopens, we’re excited to welcome customers back and offer an easily accessible way to get vaccinated during their commute, or if someone is simply dropping by their local station. With more than 10,000 doses already given out on TTC sites, we’ll keep on working with our city and health partners to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to receive their vaccine at a convenient place and time. We’re proud of the part the we’re playing in getting this pandemic behind us.
National Day of Mourning
Thursday, April 28 is the National Day of Mourning. It’s an annual tradition at the TTC to lower flags to half-mast as a tribute to those in our workplace who lost their life or suffered a serious injury or illness.
Our most important job at the TTC is to ensure the safety and security of our employees, customers and the communities we serve. On April 28, we encourage our workforce to reflect on the importance of safety at the TTC.
I’d also like to thank our joint management and union Health and Safety Committees for the important work they do. They perform a vital role by allowing workers and managers to equally participate in resolving health and safety matters, as well as promote workplace safety on a continual basis.
The next TTC Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 14 and will be live-streamed on the Official TTC YouTube Channel, starting at 10 a.m.
Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
This commentary is published in the CEO’s Report, which can be found on the TTC Intranet and ttc.ca.