Message from the Executives
CEO's Report: September Commentary
This month, the TTC kicked off its annual fundraising campaign for the United Way Greater Toronto. Each year our organization raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to help improve the lives those in our community who are in need. And this year, the need is greater than ever.
I know I speak for all employees and pensioners when I say the TTC cares about the well-being of our fellow citizens. And this caring is reflected in our commitment to providing the best public transit service possible.
Whether on the road or in the subway, TTC employees see and understand the extraordinary times we are in and the response that is required. The challenge is there and TTC employees rise up to meet it.
The TTC supports the United Way Greater Toronto annually through voluntary payroll deductions and numerous fundraising events organized by volunteers across the property. On September 17, more than 2,000 people attended the TTC Open House at Hillcrest Complex. It was a great opportunity for the public to explore the amazing work done by our operations and maintenance crews as well as donate to a worthy cause.
Returning to in-person events is one more way the TTC is emerging from the pandemic. We can see that our customers are also starting to come back. As of the week ending September 16, boardings by mode were highest on the bus network at 75 per cent of pre-COVID levels while streetcar and subway boardings were at 55 per cent and 64 per cent, respectively. Overall system-wide boardings now sit at 68 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. The TTC experienced an 18-per-cent increase in total customer boardings since the Labour Day long weekend.
As the city continues to return to normal, the TTC is fully prepared to welcome everyone back to a safe and clean system with service that meets our customers’ needs.
Operations Training Centre (OTC) hiring update
The Operations Training Centre ramped-up training in February of this year in preparation for the September service period. We took an all-hands-on-deck approach to securing the right resources, instructors and training space. OTC trained historic numbers of new employees, with more than 600 in the seat by the end of the September board period, and many more by the end of 2022.
As we committed to in our 10-Point Plan on Diversity and Inclusion, we continue to work toward ensuring that four out of 10 of all our new Operator hires identify as women. We look forward to reporting back on how we’re doing in the coming months.
Engineering, Construction and Expansion Group
ATC installation completion
I’m proud to announce that Automatic Train Control (ATC) signalling is now fully activated and operational on the entirety of Line 1 Yonge-University. This critical infrastructure work was officially completed in late September.
I was joined by Mayor John Tory and TTC Chair Jaye Robinson at Lawrence Station on September 29 to make an official public announcement.
I’m grateful to our ATC Project team, along with staff and crews in Infrastructure and Engineering, on completing this major assignment. The modernization of our signalling system allows the TTC to provide more reliable and more frequent service for customers, which will translates into greater capacity.
Throughout many weekend subway closures over the last number of years, crews installed more than 250 signals, 2,000 beacons and other trackside equipment, performed special track work in the tunnels, and laid down more than one million feet of various cabling.
The TTC appreciates and thanks customers, businesses and the general public for their patience and understanding during the numerous closures needed to complete this critical infrastructure work.
Diversity and Culture Group
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada as well as Orange Shirt Day.
To honour the survivors of the Residential Schools and all of the children who did not return home, on September 30 all TTC buses in service will feature an orange flag with an Every Child Matters message. We’re also installing window decals with a similar message on streetcars and Wheel-Trans vehicles in service.
All TTC employees will receive an Every Child Matters pin and will be invited to wear it on the 30th. The pins will be affixed to a postcard reminding us of the importance of Truth and Reconciliation. Employees will also be allowed to wear orange shirts to acknowledge the day.
Thank you to artist Dayle Hawkins of the Mississaugas of the Credit who produced the artwork for the postcard. I’d also like to thank the United Indigenous Council and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations for providing guidance on how to best recognize this day.
TTC workers donate backpacks and school supplies
For the third year, TTC volunteer organizers are supporting the Toronto and Region Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) with its backpack and fundraising drive. The donation drive collects new backpacks filled with school supplies for children and youth in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas around Toronto.
This year employees donated more than 450 new backpacks loaded with school supplies and raised $1,950 in donations for students in the Lawrence Heights, Malvern, Shawn Blu Rose Park and Allen Gardens Park areas.
Strategy and Customer Experience Group
PRESTO reader upgrades
At the start of September, TTC customers were informed that PRESTO is replacing card readers on Wheel-Trans buses and contracted accessible minivans. The installation is scheduled for completion in November. Starting next month, the replacement of card readers will begin on TTC buses and streetcars, which is expected to continue until December.
The upgrade will accommodate debit/credit card tap payments when that option becomes available across the system in 2023. These readers are the same being used on GO Transit and at other neighbouring transit properties in the 905 region.
In the meantime, customers can continue to tap their PRESTO card or PRESTO ticket on the reader when they board a vehicle from the street or enter a station through a fare gate. We continue to remind customers that their tapped card or ticket is their proof of payment.
For more information about PRESTO use on the TTC, please visit ttc.ca/presto.
Public Forum on Accessible Transit
The TTC’s mission statement is to provide a reliable, efficient, accessible and integrated bus, streetcar and subway network.
The Public Forum on Accessible Transit updates customers about accessibility initiatives, such as the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy, Family of Services and Easier Access projects. The most recent virtual meeting took place on Thursday, September 22. TTC staff presentations began at 7 p.m. and were followed by a public question-and-answer session. The forum was live-streamed. More details are available at ttc.ca.
The feedback we receive from riders and the general public at our transit forum is essential for helping us to improve our accessible conventional and specialized services that we provide to our diverse customers.
This year’s panellists included: Chief Diversity and Culture Officer Keisha Campbell, Wheel-Trans Head (Acting) Cameron Penman, Streetcar Transportation Head Deb Lyon, Customer Policy Manager Matt Hagg, Service Planning Manager Laurence Lui and ACAT Chair Jonathan Marriott. A big thank you to all those who helped make this event happen.
Closing out TTC 100
With nearly 1,000 visitors attending at our 100th anniversary finale at Hillcrest last month, it’s evident to me that the TTC remains an integral part of our city and continues to bring great pride to Toronto. Many of the visitors had special memories of the TTC and the closing event helped to show that it holds a special place in the hearts of Toronto.
Kids from kindergarten all the way up to Grade 12 sent us their vision of public transit through artwork depicting all facets of the TTC. The response was fantastic and I’d like to extend my congratulations to the following winners:
• Robyn and Leonard Killeen from Seventh Street J.S.
• Selena Haththotuwa from Secord Elementary
• Ishraq Alam from R.H. King Academy
• Annie Clarke-Ward, Jazz Stocker-Witterick, Kailah Kilfoyle and Virgil Grant from The Linden School
• Finch Howells-Young from Shirley Street P.S.
• Alexandros Prokos from Sir John A. Macdonald C.I.
• Ayaz Ghafur from Hillmount P.S.
• Saheel Siyam from W.A. Porter C.I.
• Kevin Wang from Elkhorn P.S.
Their artwork has been developed into a mural installation that overlooks the tracks at Davisville Station for all to admire.
I hope everyone had the opportunity to share in some of the celebrations this past year. For me, it has been a great privilege to pay tribute to the TTC workforce, both past and present, for their tireless dedication to delivering safe, reliable and efficient service to 32 billion riders and counting.
Stop-and-Stay in honour of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
As Canada mourned the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, September 19, the TTC paused all service for 96 seconds at 1 p.m.
All trains were held at station platforms. Bus and streetcar Operators stopped their vehicles at a regular service stops prior to the designated hour for the moment of silence. Wheel-Trans vehicles also stopped at a safe location, and subway station announcements and social media posts were momentarily suspended. Regular service resumed immediately following the stop-and-stay order.
Our stop-and-stay event coincided with the Provincial moment of silence following Her Late Majesty’s State Funeral on the 19th, the last day of the official period of mourning in Canada.
Increases in service starting September 4
In anticipation of the traditional uptick in ridership at this time of year, the TTC increased service to meet the return to school and the workplace after Labour Day, September 5.
Starting on September 4, service was increased on all modes. Among the key service changes were:
• Restoration of three-minute train service on Lines 1 and 2;
• Increased service on more than two dozen bus routes and two streetcar routes;
• Restoration of seasonal, post-secondary services across the network; and
• Extra, unscheduled vehicles were available across all modes to help fill gaps that develop due to unplanned delays or disruptions.
Cleaning blitz at TTC stations
Through a collaborative, multi-department effort, close t0 100 summer students began work in late June to perform a cleaning blitz throughout the subway system. These students were divided into 13 teams, each spending a week at a time at an assigned station to manually scrub walls and stairs, and perform detailed cleaning of stainless steel doors, door/window frames, waste receptacles, elevators, escalators and benches.
A total of 64 stations were covered under the cleaning blitz. A total of 30 students had their employment extended by two weeks, and completed a second cleaning at 10 stations.
The Stations Department’s September Readiness Plan also ensured hand sanitizing units at all stations were inspected and any necessary repairs made to ensure all were fully operational for September. And staff continue to deliver masks to all stations and any customer who wishes can approach a Station Collector or Customer Service Agent on duty to request one.
Innovation and Sustainability Program
TTC-PowerON Principal Agreement signed
One of the primary goals of the TTC’s newly established Innovation and Sustainability Program is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from today’s fossil-fueled fleet and facilities.
The drive for greener transit in Toronto took a major step forward in August when the TTC and PowerON Energy Solutions LP, a subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation, agreed to the co-investment, ownership, delivery, maintenance and operations of electrification infrastructure needed to transition the TTC’s fleet and facilities to zero-emissions.
PowerON will manage engineering, design, procurement, construction, installation, testing and commissioning of electrification infrastructure at TTC sites over the next two decades. This signing represents a first-of-its-kind partnership between public agencies and corporations working jointly to fight climate change.
Although we’re already operating the largest fleet of battery-electric buses on the continent, our Green Bus Program remains aggressive, and includes the procurement of only eBuses starting in 2024 – one year ahead of the 2025 target. The current schedule will deliver full-fleet conversion to zero-emissions by 2037, which is three years ahead of the City’s TransformTO Net Zero Strategy target of 2040.
With the execution of the TTC-PowerON Principal Agreement, the first step is to accelerate efforts to install more than 500 chargers at eight garages between 2023 and 2025. Together through this innovative partnership, the TTC and PowerON are transforming our transit operations and fighting climate change.
Safety and Environment Group
Station vaccination clinics
Held in partnership with Toronto Public Health, the TTC hosted drop-in vaccination clinics at several subway stations this month. First, second and booster doses were administered to people aged five or older. Moderna, Pfizer and Pediatric Pfizer was available and no appointments were required. Shots were available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on each of the following days:
• September 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23: Bathurst, Islington, Union and York University stations.
• September 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25: Jane, Sheppard West, St Clair West and Warden stations.
The TTC continues to work closely with public health officials regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and although mask wearing is no longer mandatory on public transit, the TTC continues to strongly recommend that customers and employees wear masks while on the network.
The TTC reached a major milestone in its vaccination efforts earlier in the year with more than 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccinations administered at clinics held at TTC locations.
Pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics continue to take place around the city and all eligible residents are encouraged to get their vaccine shot to protect against variants.
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.