Message from the Executives
CEO Report: May Commentary
Subway wireless update
At the last Board meeting (April 13), we heard from our new partners at Rogers regarding the acquisition of BAI Canada, making Rogers the supplier of record for the TTC’s subway wireless program.
I’m pleased to advise that on April 24 we finalized a separate agreement with Rogers with respect to the future of this important initiative. The agreement is in keeping with the terms of reference approved by the TTC Board in 2022.
The plan is for the entire TTC subway system to have a modern 5G network and full 9-1-1 access in approximately two years regardless of mobile carrier. Rogers has committed to working with the other Canadian telecommunications companies to provide access for everyone.
This is already done in multiple other transit agencies and other public places (office towers, shopping centres, etc.) across Canada and we don’t see the TTC as being any different.
As part of this new agreement, Rogers will be our partner until at least 2042 with a net benefit to the TTC of at least $49 million, plus other financial and in-kind benefits – almost double the guaranteed revenue of the original 20-year contract.
We continue to work with Rogers to plan their build in conjunction with our own subway infrastructure work.
TTC Green Fleet update
The TTC has committed to transition our bus fleet to be 50 per cent zero emissions by 2028-2032 and our entire bus fleet to 100 per cent zero emissions technology by 2040 or sooner. In celebration of Earth Day this year, the TTC made two significant announcements that will help us achieve this objective.
The TTC received the first of 336 additional hybrid-electric buses. These new buses, which began arriving in April, helps the TTC move toward a completely zero-emissions fleet. The buses will enter service this month after undergoing inspection and testing. This process will be ongoing as buses continue to arrive through to early next year.
All of these vehicles will replace existing buses that have reached the end of their useful life. The 68 1.83-metre (60-foot) hybrid-electric buses will replace older (40-foot) buses, adding significant capacity to the fleet and reducing travel times. These buses will be based out of the TTC’s Mount Dennis and Wilson divisions and will serve routes in midtown, downtown, North York and Etobicoke.
The TTC also unveiled 10 newly commissioned battery-electric bus (ebus) charging pantographs as part of a pilot project at Birchmount Garage, expanding the TTC’s charging capacity. The new pantographs will support overhead charging, allowing electricity to be delivered from a centralized power source to chargers mounted on top of battery-electric buses.
This innovative transit charging system represents the first phase of a 20-year agreement between TTC and Ontario Power Generation subsidiary, PowerON. Under the agreement, PowerON designs, builds, co-invests in, and operates charging as well as related infrastructure to electrify the TTC’s bus fleet and facilities. This initial Birchmount pilot is funded by the City of Toronto. The TTC will use the system to gather and evaluate reliability and operations data prior to broader deployment.
We continue to share this good news with our customers – many of whom are continuing to take transit as our ridership numbers remain steady. As of the week ending March 31, the TTC’s average weekday boardings stand at 71 per cent of pre-COVID levels at 2.28 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 58 per cent and 63 per cent, respectively. Wheel-Trans ridership is at about 71 per cent of pre-COVID.
As post-secondary schools transition into examination weeks in April, overall customer demand is expected to subside throughout the month due to a reduction in post-secondary travel.
Although more office employees are expected to return to the office at least two-to-three days per week through the year, demand we currently experience is not expected to return until after summer.
Diversity and Culture Group
TTC celebrates Asian Heritage Month
For a second year, the TTC is proud to highlight Asian Heritage Month in May as a time to showcase the transformative work of Asian Canadians, including TTC employees. Within the organization, we will once again be celebrating this rich culture by sharing stories from our employees who are of Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian heritage.
Recognizing Asian Heritage Month is an important part of our broader commitment to a more equitable and inclusive transit system for everyone. We have achieved a lot of good work through our 10-Point Action Plan and Five-Year Diversity and Human Rights Plan, but we know there is still more work ahead as we continue building programs and initiatives to address racism and discrimination.
Diversity and inclusion remain priorities for this organization, and the TTC needs to reflect the city and communities that it serves. We are striving to do all we can to ensure the TTC is a welcoming place for everyone.
Earth Day clean-up in Mount Dennis neighbourhood
I want to thank and commend our volunteers from Mount Dennis Division for organizing an Earth Day clean-up on April 22.
This annual event brought together employees, their friends and family members. Equipped with rakes and shovels, the group spent the day litter picking and tidying the Mount Dennis community where they work. The day was made complete with a barbecue put on by the division’s recreation committee. Great job by everyone!
Strategy and Customer Experience Group
Video explainers available for TTC customers
The TTC recently created and posted two informational videos to help customers understand the employee resources that are available in stations should they need assistance. The first is called, In Case of Emergency. This short video explains the variety of features found throughout our subway system to provide assistance, safety and security for our customers on their journey if they should need it. The video highlights where to find these safety features and how they function.
The second video is titled, Who’s Who in TTC Stations. This one tells customers about the trained employees in uniform who are prepared to help when approached by anyone in need of assistance, emergency or otherwise.
For example, if the station has a Fare Collector, they can be found at the main entrance of a subway station, near the fare gates on all subway lines. Customer Services Agents, on the other hand, are available beside the fare gates at Line 1 stations from Vaughan Metropolitan Centre to Lawrence West. They and other uniformed personnel, including Operators, Supervisors and Maintenance staff, can help answer questions, provide customer service and deal with issues that may arise throughout the day or night.
For more information about safety on the TTC, and to view the videos, please visit ttc.ca/ridingtheTTC.
Operations and Infrastructure Group
Dufferin Gate Loop back in service ahead of schedule
I am pleased to report that the 504 King and 29/929 Dufferin services resumed service to the Dufferin Gate Loop one month ahead of schedule after a sewer collapsed in the area.
Last January, bus and streetcar service was diverted from the Dufferin Gate Loop after the emergency closure on Dufferin Street at Springhurst Avenue. Emergency work by City crews required the complete excavation of streetcar tracks and removal of overhead cabling.
Once sewer and road repairs were completed in March, a dedicated team from our Streetcar Infrastructure Department began the urgent and complex work of track reconstruction and installation of new overhead cables. Although this work was scheduled for completion in early May, crews worked diligently and around-the-clock so TTC services through Dufferin Gate Loop could resume by April 1.
I am very proud of our incredible team of engineers and repair crews. They completely rebuilt the loop and streetcar tracks, re-established and aligned new overhead cables, and tested and commissioned the work for the successful resumption of service for the benefit of our riders.
Cleaning blitz at all TTC stations
The spring station-cleaning blitz gets underway in May. To achieve this task, the TTC is once again hiring 100 post-secondary summer students to join the Stations Department. This year, all 75 stations will be covered under the cleaning blitz, which runs through to the end of August. Tasks undertaken by our student janitors include: cleaning ceilings, walls, floors and all metal surfaces and touchpoints.
Last year, the blitz team of summer students were divided into 13 groups, 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.
Transportation and Vehicles Group
May service changes
Starting Sunday, May 7, we will be implementing a number of service changes across the city to align service to ridership while improving reliability and on-time performance. These adjustments also take into consideration construction as well as seasonal adjustments.
There will be 13 routes with service adjustments to projected or observed ridership, with some of the resources reallocated to invest in improved services on the system, including: new express service on Markham Road between Sheppard Avenue and Steeles Avenue; improved overnight service on Finch, Jane and Wilson; and better weekend daytime service on The Queensway and Lawrence Avenue East.
We will also be bringing back our popular Bluffer’s Park seasonal services as part of a system-wide seasonal service refresh. Look for routes 200 Toronto Zoo (new service from Rouge Hill GO), 201 Bluffer’s Park (formerly 175) and 202 Cherry Beach (formerly 172) starting on May 7.
TTC continues to look at new safety measures
As you know, the safety of our employees and our customers remains our top priority. In April, customers riding T1 trains on Line 2 Bloor-Danforth began to see a barrier installed onboard to provide additional space for Operators and Guards to perform their duties in a safe manner.
The use of this barrier is intended to keep the guarding areas adjacent to the cab clear of passengers during revenue service. Although not mandatory, its use is highly recommended to provide a clear and consistent indicator to riders about the restricted seating area. This new procedure is part of the larger review of safety and security measures underway at the TTC.
Innovation and Sustainability Program
Innovation challenge for young transit employees
The TTC is excited to be an inaugural participant in the International Youth Alliance for Innovation (IYAI) Innovation Challenge. The IYAI Challenge is a competition among transit agencies throughout North America designed to encourage young people aged 18 to 25 to develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. This has been a great opportunity to engage the youth within the TTC to help drive innovation.
The theme of the challenge this year is Sustainable Mobility. The TTC formed two volunteer teams of five youth innovators. Mentors from the Innovation and Sustainability Group provide weekly guidance throughout the challenge. The teams are each developing an innovation to advance sustainable mobility.
In mid-May, the teams will be presenting their ideas to TTC Executives and one team will be selected to represent the TTC at the North American competition in June. Both teams will be featured along with their sustainable mobility innovations in an upcoming CEO’s Report.
Engineering, Construction and Expansion Group
New Community Office coming soon
A new community office for the Bloor-Yonge Capacity Improvements project is scheduled to open to the public in May. The accessible office is located at 25 Hayden St., directly across the street from Bloor-Yonge Station’s Hayden exit.
In keeping with the TTC’s renewed commitment to modernization, proactive community engagement and communications, the community office will serve downtown neighbourhood residents and businesses throughout the construction process to ensure any concerns that may arise are addressed directly by TTC staff on the ground.
The TTC has already mailed letters to impacted property owners to inform them of the early works at Bloor-Yonge Station and demolition of some buildings in the area. Thousands of flyers will also be distributed in the surrounding neighbourhood.
Advanced construction for the expansion of Bloor-Yonge Station began in March on Bloor Street East, between Yonge Street and Park Road, adjacent to Sherlock Holmes Walkway. Major construction is scheduled to begin in Q4 2024, which includes the construction of a new eastbound Line 2 passenger platform and the expansion of both Line 1 platforms, enhancements to the concourse level, entrances, exits and improved accessibility features.
The TTC recognizes that construction of this magnitude can be challenging for residents and local businesses. Before preliminary construction begins, the TTC wants to reach out to ensure that businesses and residents are aware of this project, and how to get in contact with the project team should they have questions or concerns to discuss. A preliminary overview of the plans is posted on the project website at www.ttc.ca/blooryonge.
Safety and Environment Group
Ongoing approach to safety on the TTC
It simply cannot be overstated: the safety of our customers and employees is our top priority. Over the past several months, the TTC has enacted and implemented numerous measures and initiatives to enhance our safety and security practices and policies.
We know the challenges facing us are complex and cannot be solved overnight. That is why we continue to work with our City colleagues, our union partners as well as our frontline employees and customers on ways that we can make the TTC as safe as possible for everyone.
The TTC and its partners continue efforts to make the TTC as safe as possible and achieve the following objectives:
• Increase community safety and sense of safety throughout the network for customers and employees.
• Provide alternative resources to persons experiencing homelessness and individuals with complex needs using TTC spaces for shelter.
• Leverage multidisciplinary, community-focused and data-driven approaches.
I want to commend everyone doing their part, especially TTC staff. The past few months have been challenging and our employees have gone above and beyond their normal duties.
The next scheduled TTC Board meeting will be on Monday, May 8. The public meeting will be live-streamed on the Official TTC 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.