Message from the Executives
CEO's Report: January Commentary
Happy New Year!
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone back from holidays, and a new year of exciting opportunities as we continue to transform and modernize Toronto’s public transit system while delivering a demand-responsive service.
In 2023, diversity and inclusion, safety, cleanliness, on-time performance and customer service excellence will continue to be our main areas of focus.
We are building back our reliability and improving our on-time performance. We are setting new corporate and long-term service planning goals. And we continue to find ways to grow our capacity for the future with new streetcars on the way, improvements to Bloor-Yonge Station and with transit priority initiatives, such as RapidTO bus lanes.
The TTC is positioning itself for the future. We want to continue to be the mode of transportation people choose to take – not because they have to, but because they want to. It should also be a pleasant and comfortable experience where customers and employees feel safe and welcome and where service is reliable. This is the TTC I want people to see every day and night.
As of the week ending January 6, boardings by mode continue to be highest on the bus network at 63 per cent of pre-COVID levels while streetcar and subway boardings were at 50 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively. Overall weekday ridership stands at 55 per cent of pre-COVID levels. Ridership has declined by 18 per cent from November 2022 levels due to schools being closed for the winter break and reduced work commutes during the holiday weeks.
This time last year (week ending January 14) bus boardings were at 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, streetcar boardings at 29 per cent and subway boardings 26 per cent. We were pleased to see more riders returning to transit in 2022. The year ended with nearly 70 per cent of our weekday pre-pandemic ridership and around 80 per cent levels on weekends.
We closed out 2022 by congratulating the TTC/United Way team and volunteer canvassers on a successful fundraising campaign.
TTC employees and pensioners raised more than $630,000 for the United Way Greater Toronto last year. Together, we played an important role in raising much-needed funds for people who are most in need in our community through payroll deductions and special events.
Also with an abundance of kindness and generosity, we sent 500 cases of soup to the Veterans Association Food Bank and 350 new coats to the Learning Enrichment Foundation to help community partners deliver them to make this winter season more comfortable for kids and youth. The generosity of our employees is always impressive.
I want to add also that TTC employees collected more than 10,000 items during our 2022 Stuff-the-Bus toy drive ahead of the holiday season. My thanks to the public for their contributions, which were delivered to SickKids Hospital and several other community organizations.
Corporate Services Group
2023 TTC Budgets
I would like to thank Commissioners for their leadership and support of the TTC’s operating and capital budgets, which were approved at the special Board meeting on January 9.
As we come out of the pandemic and our ridership patterns evolve, the TTC is positioning itself to keep Toronto moving and to be there for those who need us most. The 2023 budgets balance our need to deliver safe service while contending with lower revenues and increased operating costs associated with inflation and new transit lines.
The TTC Operating and Wheel-Trans budgets total $2.38 billion and will see millions of new dollars invested in system safety and cleanliness while delivering service based on new, post-pandemic ridership patterns.
This year’s share of the $12.5-billion 2023-2032 Capital Budget Plan is approximately $1.34 billion, comprising $800 million for infrastructure and state-of-good-repair projects, $455 million for vehicle purchases and overhauls and $88 million for transit-expansion-related work.
The TTC budgets are now forwarded to the City Budget Committee and the City Manager as the official 2023 Operating Budget submission for the TTC. City Council votes on the budgets next month.
My thanks to TTC Finance staff for all their hard work on the budgets throughout the past year. The TTC also thanks Mayor John Tory and City Budget Committee Chair Gary Crawford for their continued leadership on the transit file as well as TTC Chair Jon Burnside and Vice Chair Joanne De Laurentiis.
Diversity and Culture Group
Celebrating our diversity
The TTC is very proud to be celebrating Lunar New Year this month and Black History Month in February as we continue to build an even more inclusive organization that is welcoming all customers and employees. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit and we send good wishes to all who celebrate. Our theme this year for Black History Month is MOVING LEGACIES: Celebrating Black innovation and resistance in Ontario.
At transportation divisions and workplaces across the TTC, employees volunteer their time to assemble displays and resources to help educate co-workers and celebrate significant cultural dates and events on the calendar throughout the year.
As CEO, it is important to me that diversity, equity and inclusion continue to be top priorities for the organization – not just because of the diverse customer base we serve, but also because it is the right thing to do.
Engineering, Construction and Expansion Group
Bloor-Yonge Capacity Improvements Project
The TTC welcomed our government partners to Davisville Carhouse on December 9 for the formal announcement of their funding support for the Bloor-Yonge Capacity Improvements (BYCI) project.
The TTC is modernizing Bloor-Yonge to prepare for population growth and transit expansion in the GTHA. Pre-pandemic, Bloor-Yonge was averaging 220,000 daily riders, making it the TTC’s busiest interchange station. The interchange station is projected to have more than 400,000 daily riders by 2056.
The BYCI project includes construction of a second platform on Line 2 for eastbound service, expansion of Line 1 northbound and southbound platforms, new elevators, escalators and stairs, and construction of a new accessible entrance/exit on Bloor Street East, among other works. The BYCI project is a City-building initiative, vital to enhance station safety, capacity and accessibility. The $1.5-billion project has received funding commitments from the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto. Thank you to all those who helped support the announcement.
TTC adds new accessible station
Three easier access elevators entered service at Lansdowne Station on Line 2 in December, making it the 56th accessible station on the subway network.
Elevator construction is currently underway at 14 stations: Donlands, College, Summerhill, Rosedale, Castle Frank, Glencairn, Greenwood, Lawrence, Christie, High Park, Spadina, Museum, Warden (EA component) and King.
45 years ago this month
Forty-five years ago, the Spadina subway line officially opened from St George to Wilson stations. The subway extension was launched by Ontario Premier William G. Davis on January 27, 1978, and opened to the public for free rides the following day. The Spadina line extended the Yonge-University Subway northwest into the Borough of North York.
Eight new stations, each unique in design, made this subway extension of Line 1 a showcase for customers, visitors and transit professionals. Station architecture and aesthetics were complimented by imaginative works of art especially created by nine contemporary Canadian artists.
Strategy and Customer Experience Group
New members join accessibility committee
On behalf of the Executive Team, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the new members of the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT). Starting their new terms on January 1 were: Mei Hung, Frank Lockhart, Maria Marin, Lavarnan Mehavarnan, Betty Rivington-Law and Ron Lackie. ACAT meets publicly online on the last Thursday of every month. Their first meeting of the year takes place on Thursday, January 26.
Safety and Environment Group
Safety and security on the system
We are obviously concerned about incidents of violence on the TTC and we remain committed to working with police, the City of Toronto and our union partners on ways we can all make the TTC as safe as possible for customers and employees.
I have been participating in ongoing meetings with Mayor John Tory, new Police Chief Myron Demkiw and our unions to discuss safety and security on the TTC.
The TTC moves hundreds of millions of customers every year without incident, but we cannot and do not take that for granted. We have recently added more Special Constable patrols on the subways and we are deploying even more uniformed staff around the system. We are also looking to make further changes and enhancements in the new year as part of our 2023 budget submission.
We also know that there are bigger societal and systemic issues at play when it comes to the root causes of these incidents that require a multi-pronged response. The TTC is part of a broader discussion with all community and government stakeholders about what can be done to improve safety and security on the TTC.
An education campaign in the subway system and online is reminding customers about all safety features available to them on the system, such as the SafeTTC app. The safety of customers and employees is paramount to all the TTC does. Additionally, an external campaign focusing on employee and Operator assaults will be launching in February 2023.
Look out for one another
All through the pandemic, we were there for those who relied on us to get to essential jobs and personal appointments. Our continued success is a result of a highly skilled and motivated workforce who deliver and maintain a safe, reliable, accessible and punctual service.
The next meeting of the TTC Board is scheduled for Thursday, January 19 and will be live-streamed on the Official TTC YouTube Channel, starting at 10 a.m.
Subsequent meetings will take place on the following dates approved at last month’s Commission meeting: Tuesday, February 28, Thursday, April 13, Monday, May 8, Monday, June 12, Wednesday, July 12, Tuesday, September 26, Thursday, October 26 and Thursday, December 7.
Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer