Message from the Executives

CEO Report February Commentary

The safety of our employees and customers remains the top priority for the TTC. We remain committed to working with our City of Toronto partners, our unions and other stakeholders on ways to enhance safety on the TTC.

Earlier this month, the City committed to providing additional community safety measures to support the TTC, including access to Community Safety Teams. Community Safety Teams work directly with people experiencing homelessness and liaise with the City’s Streets to Homes workers to provide outreach services. This is on top of the additional 80 police officers that have been deployed by Toronto Police Service to support the TTC. We have already taken a number of other significant steps to enhance safety on the system, including:

• Increasing the presence of Special Constables as well as hiring additional Special Constables;

• Adding more Station Supervisors, Chief and Mobile Supervisors as well as Assistant Managers in subway stations to audit station security on a regular basis;

• Deploying more uniformed TTC employees throughout the system who can contact Transit Control directly to assist customers;

• Our Transit Control Centre has a direct line to 9-1-1 to respond to emergencies.

• Increasing Streets to Homes workers in hotspots in the system to help individuals in need find supports;

• Improving and adding cameras in all stations and on all vehicles; and

• Having Designated Waiting Areas on every subway platform with recently upgraded and easier-to-use, two-way communications systems that link directly to TTC staff.

• Plus, the SafeTTC app is available to report suspicious incidents in real time.

The external support is focused on subways and allows the TTC to strategically deploy Transit Special Constables across the entire network where and when they are needed. The TTC has added more uniformed staff around the system so they are highly visible and an added resource. We are also looking to make further changes and enhancements this year as part of our 2023 budget, which was finalized by Toronto City Council on February 15.

Despite some of the ongoing concerns, we see that our customers are continuing to return to the system. As of the week ending February 10, overall weekday boardings stand at 68 per cent of pre-COVID levels at 2.20 million, which is a record since the pandemic.

Boardings by mode continue to be highest on the bus network at 78 per cent of pre-COVID levels while streetcar and subway boardings were at 53 per cent and 63 per cent, respectively. Wheel-Trans ridership is at about 67 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.

We know there are a lot of complex issues facing the TTC and the City of Toronto – and we are happy to be a part of these ongoing conversations. Only by working together will we be able to find solutions to these complex societal challenges. They require creative, comprehensive and outside-the-box solutions.

I have been visiting frontline staff across the Commission to get a better understanding of their concerns and any potential solutions. I want to express my gratitude for all our employees for the work they do.

Diversity and Culture Group

Recognizing Black History Month at the TTC
For the third year, the TTC is recognizing Black History Month this February with customer and employee campaigns throughout the system and in workplaces. The theme for this year’s campaign is Moving legacies: Celebrating Black innovation and resistance in Ontario.

The TTC has partnered with AstroSankofa Arts Initiatives, a not-for-profit organization that brings forward opportunities for Black artists and youth to be more visible through public art projects. Artists have reimagined Black leaders in politics, education and transit, among others. Some of the people being featured – like Frederick Hubbard who was the first Black general manager at the Toronto Street Railway – are also part of our history here at the TTC.

Specially wrapped buses and streetcars featuring the artwork have been criss-crossing Toronto on the following routes this month: 501 Queen, 505 Dundas, 32 Eglinton West, 35 Jane, 36 Finch West, 54 Lawrence West and 102 Markham Rd. This year, we have also wrapped our first Wheel-Trans vehicle to recognize the month. My thanks to the artists for their great works: Adeyemi Yung Yem Adegbesan, Autumn Beals, Danilo “Deluxo” McCallum, Kanisha Dabreo, Komi Olaf, Meighan Morson, Quentin VerCetty and Troydell Wallace.

The artwork is also displayed on subway trains, on posters in stations and shown across TTC social media channels. Our diversity campaign also includes an internal component with posters featuring Black employees, as well as videos on in-house TV screens featuring active and retired Black employees sharing their thoughts and experiences.

Strategy and Customer Experience Group

TTC welcomes new ACAT Chair, Vice-Chairs
The Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) met last month, led by its new Chair and Vice-Chairs. I want to take this opportunity to offer my congratulations and a TTC welcome to Chair Anita Dressler and her Vice-Chairs, Erica Tanny and Gwyneth Dalzell.

Ms. Dressler has been on numerous boards, tribunals, appeal panels and committees throughout her career, and most recently served as ACAT Vice-Chair. She is very passionate about her work and the positive impacts her work has had on improving the lives of seniors and persons with disabilities.

ACAT has been a strong and guiding voice on issues of accessibility, eligibility and new technology for more than three decades. I am looking forward to working with the entire committee throughout the year.

ACAT generally meets on the last Thursday of every month.

Update on new PRESTO readers, end of token sales to third-party retailers
In February, the TTC informed our customers and third-party retail partners that the final day customers will be able to purchase TTC tokens at shops across the city will be March 24, 2023. TTC customers should switch to PRESTO after this date.

The TTC ended the sale of tickets at third-party retailers last July, and stopped selling tickets and tokens at stations at the end of 2019 in our continued progress towards a modernized fare payment system. New PRESTO card readers are being installed across the system that will support open payment when it is introduced on the TTC later this year. As more payment options become available on PRESTO, there is less of a need to continue to sell legacy fare products.

The rollout of the new PRESTO card readers is well underway. The Wheel-Trans fleet was equipped with new readers at the end of last year. The remaining fleet of buses and streetcars is scheduled to be completed by the end of March. All fare gates will also be updated with new card readers to enable open payment by June.

TTC customers are still able to pay their fare with any unused tokens or tickets they have as no end date has been set for their acceptance by the TTC. Customers can switch to PRESTO at any time by purchasing and loading a card with money or a monthly pass at fare vending machines at all TTC stations; Shoppers Drug Mart locations; online at; on the PRESTO app or at the TTC’s Customer Service Centre at 1900 Yonge St., above Davisville Station.

Transportation and Vehicles Group

Bus pilot improving on-time performance
One of the TTC’s main areas of focus in 2023 is continuously improving our on-time performance.

Last November, the Bus Transportation Department began a pilot to improve on-time performance on the 54 Lawrence West, 89 Weston, 84 Sheppard West/984 Sheppard West Express and 102 Markham Rd routes. Specifically, an on street Supervisor was added at end locations on these routes over the last three months. All five routes performed at 90 per cent on-time during January 2023.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts between Operators, Route Supervisors and divisional staff, the on-time performance has been noticeable and consistent since the start of this initiative.

Starting on February 11, Bus Transportation expanded the pilot to the following routes: 29 Dufferin/929 Dufferin Express, 45 Kipling/945 Kipling Express, 53 Steeles/953 Steeles Express and 95 York Mills/995 York Mills Express.

We will continue to update the Board on the findings from the expanded pilot in the coming months.

Innovation and Sustainability Program

TTC streetcar fleet set to grow to 264
On May 28, 2021, the TTC successfully executed a contract amendment with Alstom SA for the procurement of 60 additional accessible streetcars, increasing the fleet to 264 from 204 vehicles by 2025. One key contract requirement of this procurement is to ensure that a minimum Canadian Content value of 25 per cent is achieved. The Canadian Content value is calculated based on expenses related to domestic materials items, components, sub-components, systems, sub-systems, assemblies, direct labour and services.

Based on the most recent Canadian Content Audit conducted by an independent auditor in Q3 2022, a total Canadian Content value is estimated to be approximately 46 per cent. The audit report also identified the procurement of the 60 streetcars is anticipated to have a net positive job creation impact (roughly 150-plus more full-time Canadian jobs) within the Canadian economy over the base contract.

As a measure of due diligence, the TTC will continue to work with the independent auditor and conduct annual Canadian Content audits throughout the delivery of the new vehicles. We will continue to update the Board on the TTC’s progress.

Innovation challenge for young transit employees
For the first time ever, the TTC is participating in an annual North American innovation challenge: Introducing Youth to North American Infrastructure+ (Iyai+).

TTC employees between the ages of 18 and 25 are invited to compete in teams to propose solutions to big challenges faced by the transit industry. Topics for consideration range from improving public safety to improving environmental sustainability to enhancing mobility and social equity. This unique competition is a great opportunity to grow their professional network and learn more about careers in transit infrastructure.

In May, participating teams will present their creative ideas to the TTC Executive. The top team and idea will then go on to compete against other young people in North America for a cash prize and bragging rights. Good luck to all the participants.

Engineering, Construction and Expansion Group

Celebrating 60 years of the University Subway
Sixty years ago, the University Subway officially opened from Union to St George stations. The new line stretched 3.9 kilometres and included six stations: St Andrew, Osgoode, St Patrick, Queen’s Park, Museum and St George.

The new line was officially opened by Ontario Premier John P. Robarts and J. Keiller Mackay, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, on February 28, 1963. The University Subway was an extension of the Yonge line from its southerly terminus at Union Station. It winds westerly along Front Street to University Avenue and north to Bloor Street. It was built at a cost of $45 million.

The next scheduled TTC Board meeting will be on Tuesday, February 28.

Stay safe.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
February 2023

This commentary is published in the CEO’s Report, which can be found on the TTC Intranet and

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