Message from the Executives
CEO's Report June Commentary
With Toronto’s COVID-19 emergency declaration officially lifted last month, and with so many of our favourite venues, restaurants and attractions fully opened for business, the TTC continues to see gradual ridership increases across the network.
I am pleased to let you know that this month we are once again recognizing both Indigenous Heritage Month and Pride Month at the TTC with employee as well as customer campaigns. The TTC has made equity, diversity and inclusion organizational priorities. The campaigns are important opportunities for us as we continue building an organization where employees feel like they belong and our customers feel welcome.
With advice and guidance from the Indigenous Council, made up of TTC employees, we will recognize June as Indigenous Heritage Month across all our properties. For the first time, Indigenous employees will share the beauty of their culture with us by holding a Pow Wow on June 25 at Mount Dennis Division. As we did last year, we have wrapped several buses and streetcars to recognize National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. The wrapped buses will go into service on June 19.
On June 1, we kicked off Pride Month with a flag raising ceremony at our Hillcrest Complex. For the first time, the Progress Pride Flag will be flying all month both at Hillcrest and at 1900 Yonge Street. As in previous years, you will be able to see one of our wrapped buses on the 94 Wellesley route with Pride-themed artwork to celebrate the history, courage and diversity of Toronto’s 2SLGBTQ+ communities. This year we have taken it one step further and we have wrapped a second bus as well as a Wheel-Trans vehicle. If you spot one of the Pride-themed vehicles, be sure to take a photo and share it on social media using #TTCPride.
I want to thank all our employees who have participated in or supported these campaigns. Together, we will continue to build a more inclusive TTC.
Diversity and Culture Group
TTC conducting employee demographics survey
At the beginning of June, the TTC launched a short, multiple-choice employee demographic survey. This completely confidential survey is led by the Diversity and Culture Group, which is collecting data to gain greater insight into the diverse identities that make up our workforce. With this information, we can continue to build TTC programs and policies that better serve our employees.
The Count Me In survey is aligned with our 10-Point Action Plan on Diversity and Inclusion and is another important step to identify and address barriers and gaps to building a more inclusive company. The TTC is encouraging all employees to participate this month. A third-party research company, Urban Dimensions Group (UDG), will have access to the data and will be saved on a secure, external server located in Canada.
UDG will provide the TTC with high-level trends in a final report to inform future programs, policies and decision making. The TTC will share the results with all employees once the survey findings are completed.
Strategy and Customer Experience Group
Subway musicians make their return
The soothing sounds of music is back on the TTC. In another sign of things returning to normal, it was wonderful to have subway musicians back on the system on May 20. The TTC’s popular Subway Musicians’ Program was suspended at the start of the pandemic.
Subway buskers resumed playing at all their previous underground locations. The licensed players will be following COVID-19 protocols during their performances. The TTC extended licenses to perform underground until November 2023 and has scheduled the next round of auditions to take place during summer of 2023.
Bay Lower opened its doors to Toronto
Bay Lower, long considered one of the city’s hidden treasures, opened to the public on Saturday, May 28 as part of Toronto’s Doors Open event. The TTC welcomed more than 7,000 visitors to the station below Bay Station.
Although closed to the public since 1966, the station below Bay has appeared in numerous features films, music videos and television commercials over the years. Visitors also enjoyed displays highlighting the 100th anniversary of the TTC and followed the pictorial history of public transit in Toronto on car cards posted inside two subway trains parked in the station. Complimentary souvenirs were also available for the taking.
The TTC continues to restore service
As of the week ending June 4, and as was the case throughout the pandemic, bus boardings lead the way at 65 per cent of pre-COVID levels with streetcar and subway boardings at 53 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively. We are expecting the upwards trend to continue through the remainder of spring as we restore service levels to routes across the city. Additional service improvements are planned for the June Service Board Period, which starts on Sunday, June 19.
The TTC remains focused on restoring services to pre-pandemic levels in 2022. On June 19, numerous service adjustments will begin to increase frequency and reintroduce seasonal service on various routes and/or match capacity to demand on several routes around the city. We are also introducing a new seasonal service on the 30 High Park (30B) bus route to connect High Park Station into High Park on weekends until the Labour Day weekend in September.
Providing safe, reliable service is our top priority, and customers can be confident that the TTC remains the best way to get around the city this spring and summer.
Wheel-Trans service update
In another sign of a return to normal, Wheel-Trans reintroduced shared customer rides on its larger contracted accessible taxis on June 5. Over the next few months, Wheel-Trans and TTC Safety staff, in consultation with Toronto Public Health, will continue to monitor conditions to permit the return of shared rides on the remaining contracted sedan taxi service. Solo rides on Wheel-Trans buses ceased on March 20.
Safety and Environment Group
Provincial mask mandate expires
Earlier this month, the provincial mask mandate expired for indoor settings that were deemed to be higher risk. The Government of Ontario first introduced a mandatory mask mandate in October 2020 to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, the mandatory mask mandate expired in most settings, however, the Province extended the mandate in several settings, including public transit.
Masks and face coverings have been mandatory on the TTC since July 2020, making the TTC one of the first transit agencies to adopt a mandatory mask mandate.
The expiry of the mask mandate on June 11 means customers will no longer need to wear a mask while indoors on TTC property and the requirements for employees to wear a mask will be limited to: in classrooms, in conference rooms or board rooms, in Transit Control rooms and when travelling in non-revenue vehicles with others.
It is still mandatory for Wheel-Trans Operators and customers to wear masks while travelling in Wheel-Trans vehicles. This decision was made in consultation with the TTC’s Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) due to the close proximity and to protect vulnerable customers that travel on Wheel-Trans.
Safety remains a core priority for the TTC and there are a number of other measures that are in place:
• Vehicle filtration has been upgraded to the highest standards.
• Enhanced cleaning on stations and vehicles is ongoing.
• Windows on TTC buses will continue to be opened when the bus goes into service to enhance the air flow on the vehicle. Decals have been affixed to the windows of every bus, encouraging customers to leave them open for fresh air.
• Customers can view real-time bus arrival and occupancy levels by route on TTC.ca to plan ahead before boarding.
The TTC continues to work closely with public health officials and is still strongly recommending that customers and employees wear masks while on the TTC.
The next TTC Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 23 and will be live-streamed on the Official TTC YouTube Channel, starting at 10 a.m.
Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer