Andy Byford - CEO of TTC Riding the TTC with the customer in mind

Earlier this week, I rode the 504 King streetcar to talk with operators and customers about the challenges we face serving one of the busiest and most congested roads in the city.

We are working with the City to improve the flow of the 504 service. It was good to see the new, illuminated “no left turn” signs that have been installed to reinforce turning restrictions during rush hour. This is just one of a suite of measures that is being implemented in partnership with the City.

Other initiatives include stricter parking enforcement, restrictions on times when deliveries can be made, and better on-street supervision by TTC personnel to manage bunching and gaps in service. Operators have told me that more needs to be done to prevent motorists from blocking streetcar tracks late at night – an issue that we will take up with relevant parties.

The operator I rode with is an experienced 15-year veteran of the King service so he was well placed to describe the daily challenges on that route. By 5 p.m., the streetcar was already full as we headed west through the city, this being a typical evening rush hour. So what are we doing to improve service? In addition to the measures described, we are taking another look at our fleet plan to maximize the number of higher capacity, articulated streetcars, or ALRVs, on King (and Queen) before the new streetcars enter service on these routes. We had originally intended to retire the ALRVs first as they are less reliable than the standard-sized cars, but our 2015 budget request will seek funding to extend the life of the ALRVs to maximize capacity and mitigate crowding.

Second, we are reviewing the roll-out plans for the new streetcar to see if sufficient vehicles can be delivered in time for earlier deployment onto these two major routes, rather than the current plan of 2016/17. Plans for next year also include measures such as all-door boarding across all streetcar routes for customers holding proof of payment.

As CEO, it’s important, of course, that I spend time on the network to see what more needs to be done. With continued management focus – and an increase in sustainable funding – we will progressively work to improve the quality of your journey.

TTC working to upgrade tracks and signals

On Wednesday, the TTC saw two major system failures on the subway – a signal problem on Line 1 and a train detection issue on Line 2. Signals (the red, yellow and green lights seen in subway tunnels) and train detection mechanisms are crucial for the safe operation of trains. If either system malfunctions, they resort to a “fail safe” mode, or a red light. To overcome either issue until the problem is fixed, operators reduce train speed and remain in constant communication with Transit Control. Unfortunately, the impact to customers is significant delays through the affected area and slower service across the entire subway line.

As most of our customers already know, the TTC has had weekend closures of portions of Line 1 for the past two years for signal upgrade work. The existing signal system is 60 years old in many places and should have been replaced 20 years ago. This work, though, takes time, and replacing the entire signal system with a modern, reliable system that is computer-based, and does not rely on fuses and relay switches, is about five years away from completion. Signal replacement for Line 2 is something we must also do and is part of the TTC’s 10-year capital budget program. Renewal of transit infrastructure is critical to keeping the system operating safely and effectively.

Lest We Forget
Last week, the Royal Canadian Legion launched its annual TTC Poppy Campaign. On Tuesday, Nov. 11, decorated Canadian veterans can ride TTC buses, streetcars, subway and the SRT for free. At 11 a.m., all TTC vehicles will pause for a moment of silence to commemorate those who served and continue to serve Canada.

Employee Profile

Name: Amirali Jamal
Years of Service: 33
Title: Payroll Administrator

I joined the TTC in May 1981 as a Subway Yard Operator and upgraded to Vehicle Repair Person before working as a Payroll Administrator. I take pride in my job and make sure every employee is paid correctly and on time. It is an honour and privilege to work for a company that offers plenty of opportunities and is progressing rapidly in the areas of Safety, Service and Courtesy. BRAVO TTC!!!

Weekend Line 1 Closure - Bloor to Eglinton

On Saturday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov. 9, Line 1 (Yonge-University) will be closed between Bloor and Eglinton stations for scheduled track upgrades. Davisville, St Clair and Rosedale stations will remain open for fare transactions and connecting surface routes. Summerhill Station will be closed. Frequent shuttle buses will operate on Yonge Street between Bloor and Eglinton stations, with Wheel-Trans available for customers requiring an accessible connection. Regular service resumes on Monday, Nov. 10. For more information, visit ttc.ca.

Bathurst St. and Dundas St. closed for TTC and City work

TTC and City work to improve transit and roadways on Bathurst Street is well underway, with Phase 3 resulting in the closure of the Dundas and Bathurst street intersec tion, and the diversion of the 505-305 Dundas and 511 Bathurst routes. During this final phase, the TTC will be replacing switches and tracks at the intersection, work that will result in a more reliable service for years to come.

Customers requiring an accessible connection to or from Toronto Western Hospital are advised to speak with a TTC supervisor on scene.

TTC service information:

  • 505 Dundas streetcars will divert via Spadina, College,D undas to route. No replacement buses will operate on Dundas St. W. between Spadina Ave. and Lansdowne Ave.
  • 511 Bathurst replacement buses will divert southbound via College, Spadina, Richmond to route and northbound via Adelaide, Spadina, College to route.

Customers are encouraged to support local businesses in the area, which will remain open during construction. The project is scheduled for completion on Nov. 20.

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