Message from the Executives
CEO's Report: April Commentary
On March 25, a tragic murder took place at Keele Station. Like all Torontonians, I am deeply saddened by the passing of Gabriel Magalhaes. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.
I want to be clear how seriously the entire TTC is taking this.
The safety of customers and employees is paramount to everything we do at the TTC. We remain committed to working with the City of Toronto, the police, our union partners as well as our frontline employees and customers on ways that we can all make the TTC as safe as possible.
For the past few months, we have been clear that the TTC is a transit agency and that we need help solving the issues our system is facing. We know that the challenges before us are complex and won’t be solved over night.
As the weather improves, people will no longer need to take shelter in the TTC. We know this will be an issue come winter and we want to start the work now in order to find solutions on how to find shelter and support for these individuals. I am hoping that working with the City of Toronto and all our partners we can make sure we do not face the same issues again.
From our end, we have been adjusting our operations to better address what is happening since late last year. Some of the additional staff and resources we have added are:
• Streets to Homes workers to help individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness access immediate supports like water, warm clothing and referrals to indoor space.
• Community Safety Ambassadors bolstering the work of Streets to Homes teams in addressing immediate needs of individuals experiencing homelessness.
• Security guards trained in mental health first aid, overdose prevention wand nonviolent intervention to assist people in crisis.
• De-escalation training for all TTC Chief and Mobile Supervisors and scheduling adjustments to ensure these specialized skills are where they are needed most.
We have also added more TTC employees throughout the system as high-visibility support for both our employees and customers. If you see something, say something – these individuals are here to help.
We will keep these resources in the transit system as long as they are needed.
Everyone needs to feel safe riding the TTC and everyone needs to be safe riding the TTC.
Strategy and Customer Experience Group
TTC customer numbers remain steady
The TTC’s average weekday boardings remained at around 2.2 million in February as a result of inclement weather and closed post-secondary schools for reading weeks. As of the week ending March 10, overall weekday boardings stand at 70 per cent of pre-COVID levels at 2.27 million.
Boardings by mode continue to be highest on the bus network at 82 per cent of pre-COVID levels while streetcar and subway boardings were at 55 per cent and 64 per cent, respectively. Wheel-Trans ridership is at about 70 per cent of pre-COVID. Customer demand is expected to further increase through the year as more office employees are expected to be in-office three days per week.
Resumption of ticketing for fare evasion
On March 27, the TTC resumed ticketing for fare evasion in selected stations and streetcar routes. Ticketing is focused on those customers who can pay their fares and choose not to.
Initially, TTC Fare Inspectors will focus their efforts on busy streetcar routes in the downtown core. Ticketing will also resume on subways, many of which have multiple entry points. As ticketing resumes, the TTC will be monitoring fare compliance rates and ticketing rates as well as any other key observations. Our station staff will also be on hand to help answer questions and make sure that our customers know to pay their fares.
Over the past two years, the TTC has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve diversity and customer-focused operations in its Revenue Protection Department. This has included working with prominent experts and academics in the fields of unconscious bias awareness and race-based data collection to modernize its practices. These experts include Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah and Dr. Scot Wortley from the University of Toronto who authored the Toronto Transit Commission Racial Equity Impact Assessment: Interim Report. The result of this work is new training, ticketing and data collection practices that will allow the TTC to review and evaluate its progress.
In future CEO’s Reports, we will include metrics related to the resumption of ticketing and we will continue to report back to the Board on any trends.
ACAT applications available
I would like to remind everyone that the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) will be accepting applications for new members until 4 p.m. on August 14, 2023.
Applications will be available at ttc.ca starting on April 24, 2023 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).
Applications can be mailed to: Wheel-Trans – ACAT applications c/o Customer Service, 580 Commissioners St., Toronto ON, M4M 1A7; e-mailed to email@example.com; or faxed to 416-338-0126, and must be received no later than 4 p.m. on August 14, 2023. Please visit ttc.ca/acat to learn more about 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.
Free rides to Blue Jays home opener!
I want to thank our friends at Polar Ice Vodka for going to bat for TTC riders by sponsoring free service on the 510 Spadina streetcar route on Tuesday, April 11 – the Blue Jays home opener versus the Detroit Tigers at the newly renovated Rogers Centre. This is the second straight year we have teamed up with a sponsor to deliver free rides to the home opener. Free service runs from 5 p.m. to midnight.
The TTC wishes the Blue Jays all the best this year. The season holds a lot of promise and we are looking forward to welcoming Jays fans through our doors all year long. Go Jays!
Operations and Infrastructure Group
Long-term diversion ahead for 501/301 Queen streetcars
A major, long-term diversion on the Queen streetcar route is scheduled to begin next month in preparation for Ontario Line construction.
With the closure of Queen Street at Yonge Street for new station construction, 501 Queen streetcars will begin the first stage of a multi-year diversion. Streetcars will be operating between Roncesvalles Avenue and Neville Park Loop via Queen Street West, McCaul Street, Dundas Street West and East, Broadview Avenue and Queen Street East.
Replacement buses will run between Bathurst Street and Broadview Avenue, diverting via Bay Street, Richmond/King Street East and West and Church Street.
Service will be changed on weekends as schedules are aligned with ridership demand. Streetcars and replacement buses will continue to arrive every 10 minutes or sooner.
301 Queen overnight service will continue to be replaced with buses, diverting via Bay Street, Richmond/King Street East and West, and Church Street. Buses will arrive every 30 minutes.
The diversion is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 1.
The TTC will keep customers informed about this and other diversions, and provide information on alternate routes, through various means, such as station information screens, new releases, social media channels and ttc.ca. For the most up-to-date information, follow @TTCNotices on Twitter or sign up for eAlerts.
Transportation and Vehicles Group
Wheel-Trans bus procurement update
The Wheel-Trans Fleet Plan currently consists of nine-metre-long, diesel-powered buses and newer six-metre and seven-metre gasoline-powered buses. This fleet provides a safe, reliable and accessible transit option for people in Toronto living with disabilities.
The TTC’s commitments to innovation and sustainably include a strategy to transition to a zero-emissions Wheel-Trans fleet in line with the City of Toronto’s TransformTO Net Zero Strategy, which defines a pathway to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions city-wide by 2040.
Next month, TTC staff will be providing an update to the TTC Board on the Wheel Trans Fleet Plan, including the upcoming joint procurement of 52 new, six-metre buses with Metrolinx, our strategy for transitioning the fleet to all-electric, and our immediate next steps to initiate a pilot through our first public procurement of battery-electric Wheel-Trans buses.
Spring vehicle maintenance checks well underway
At this time of year, thousands of vehicles in our fleets undergo an extensive spring maintenance checklist involving critical components ranging from air filters to wiper blades to bicycle racks on buses. Crews are busy conducting a full inspection of HVAC systems to provide optimal interior cooling performance.
Service inspections include air filter changes, bicycle rack repairs, as well as overall cleaning of vehicle walls, floors, windows, ledges and seats.
The spring check program is scheduled to be completed by the end of May in advance of summer. All our vehicles undergo a similar spring checklist.
TTC Garage of the Year
It is my pleasure to extend public congratulations to staff and crews at Eglinton Garage – winners of the Garage of the Year award for 2022. Each 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 organization. Congratulations to Eglinton for achieving top spot. Congratulations also to crews at Lakeshore Garage (Wheel Trans) for finishing second in the rankings.
Innovation and Sustainability Program
Celebrating Earth Day in April
The TTC is proud to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. It is a reminder of the importance of public transportation as one of the most environmentally sustainable, affordable and accessible modes of travel in the city. When you are thinking about how to get around the city, consider the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions you create. Your decision to travel using the TTC reduces GHG emissions by 79 per cent when taking one of our oldest buses and almost 100 per cent when travelling by electric bus (eBus), streetcar or subway.
As a transit leader, we are committing to doing our part, too. Through our Innovation and Sustainability Program, we are transitioning our diesel fleet to low-emissions and zero-emissions hybrid-electric and fully electric buses over the short term. By 2040, our fleet will be 100 per cent zero-emissions. Additionally, our new Environmental Sustainability Policy commits us to decarbonize our facilities, increase biodiversity on the land we care for, and reduce our consumption and waste.
We acknowledge and appreciate all that our customers and employees do to contribute towards a greener future for our city and our planet. At the TTC, we pledge to continue doing all we can to fight climate change and we will continue to keep everyone updated on our progress.
Birchmount pantograph proof-of-concept
The Birchmount Charging proof-of-concept is an exciting new project that keeps the TTC at the forefront of zero-emissions bus technology. This is the largest outdoor depot charging system with overhead pantographs in North America, and s one of the first globally to use cutting-edge centralized charging technology.
The pantographs are important to test because our storage facilities are so tightly packed that in many areas there is no space between buses for plug-in chargers. The centralized charging technology reduces the area required for chargers by half, leaving more space at our garages for the buses. This installation provides us with an opportunity to thoroughly test these future-proofing technologies before scaling-up for full-fleet electrification.
Within just two months, this now fully operational proof-of-concept will also allow for eBus operation out of Birchmount. Ten of 25 buses at Arrow Road will be moved to Birchmount for testing. As a result, for the first time, customers in the Downtown East, East York and Eastern Scarborough, including 14 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas, will begin to see the benefits of zero emissions bus operations. Customers and residents in these areas will experience a quieter and cleaner service that will be nearly 100-per-cent emissions free.
Safety and Environment Group
City’s Multi-Disciplinary Outreach Team expands on the TTC
On March 20, I attended an announcement at Davisville Station with Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie and Councillor Shelley Carroll, who is also Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee. Together, we announced that through LOFT (Leap of Faith Together) Community Services and the City’s Multi-Disciplinary Outreach Team (MDOT) program, individuals in the transit system requiring more complex and longer-term supports will have access to case workers and health-care professionals, including registered nurses.
Through the City of Toronto’s budget process, an additional $500,000 was put forward in support of a one-year pilot for expanding MDOT teams across the TTC. We know the issues faced by people experiencing homelessness are complex and access to the services provided by LOFT are an important step in helping them in the right direction.
National Day of Mourning
Friday, April 28 is National Day of Mourning. On this day, the TTC will 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 take a personal moment to reflect on the importance of safety at the TTC.
I am grateful for the hundreds of dedicated employees that serve on more than 50 of our joint management/union Health and Safety Committees. These committees allow workers and managers to equally participate in resolving health and safety matters, as well as promote workplace safety on a continual basis.
Removing barriers to safe behaviours at the TTC is a collaborative effort between management, union and Joint Health and Safety Committees to ensure that everyone goes home safely every day.
The next scheduled TTC Board meeting will be on Thursday, April 13. The public meeting will be live-streamed on the TTC’s official 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.