A Wakeup Call for Chairman Adam

Ed Drass has an excellent column in Metro for Thursday, December 21 (here) in which he describes a recent visit with Adam Giambrone, TTC Chair, to Finch Station.  The site is a catalog of what many TTC stations look like and the lacklustre attitude the organization takes to passenger information and convenience.

Like so many TTC stations, Finch seems as if under a permanent state of construction.  Ceiling slats are missing everywhere.  Temporary and handwritten signs adorn walls, windows and collector booths.  Wooden hoarding closes off a major portion of a corridor heading to the buses, but there are no signs describing what is going on.

I have a blunt message for Chairman Adam:  This state of affairs has nothing to do with traffic congestion.  It has little to do with whether or not additional funds come from Queen’s Park or Ottawa.  It is an indictment of sloppy project management and an inability to see beyond the limits of each job to how it affects the passengers’ experience.

That’s the sort of message we send to customers.  It doesn’t take a complicated traffic study or an EA or millions of dollars worth of consultants to fix this.  Even Howard Moscoe’s proposed “Station Managers” would be ineffective if they are little more than glorified greeters with no power to change a well-entrenched corporate culture.

It’s astounding that we have a system paying millions for an automated stop announcement system, but they can’t put up and properly maintain signs telling people what’s going on in a construction zone, or take down signs announcing service diversions that finished months ago.  

I’ve seen occasional annoncements about subway service problems running along the bottom of the subway advertising monitors.  Great if you’re on the platform near a sign.  Useless otherwise.

Maybe if we figured out a way to build a multi-million-dollar automated station signage project, the TTC might be interested, but only if Ottawa would pay for it.  Meanwhile, let’s get out those magic markers and practice really neat printing.