“TTC Culture” : 1 Queen Car : 0 (Updated June 25)

Updated June 25:

Jonathan Goldsbie has an article about the Queen car forum on the Eye Weekly site.

Updated June 18:

First, apologies to Gary Welsh of City Transportation Services whose name I misspelled in the original post.  I’m used to the many permutations possible with “Stephen Munro” and don’t like to screw up other people’s names myself.

Today I deputed on the subject of the Queen report and forum, and the thrust of my remarks was:

  • I agree that some of the proposals for traffic-related improvements on Queen will be good for the route.  This and other operational changes have been under discussion for some time and were part of the reason I started my analyses of CIS data in 2007.
  • There are many items on the “to do” list including detailed evaluation of alternate route structures, monitoring and management of the existing service, and bringing reports on traffic changes to Community Council for discussion and approval.  They’re worthwhile and we mustn’t lose the momentum.
  • The monthly update on cancelled service and short turns is missing, and we have no idea of how effective any new practices might be since late April.
  • At the Queen Car Forum, the same May report was presented without updates, but the big problem was the issue of “TTC Culture” as an explanation for the slowness of change.  I made the point that this is hard to believe given enthusiastic celebration of TTC employees’ skills and dedication at the 40-year service presentations that opened the meeting, and the extensive review and recommendations for immediate change in the report on the Lytton Boulevard subway fatality.  Both of these show a culture that celebrates skill and dedication.  I made it clear that my remarks were aimed at corporate culture, not at any individual who happened to be the bearer of the message.
  • My own view is that problems on Queen are disproportionate to those on other routes and this is a function of the length and challenges posed by the 501, not just any “cultural” issues.
  • When the report with a recommended strategy for dealing with the 501 comes forward in October, I hope that it will have more substance and a positive outlook about what can be done.
  • Commissioner Bussin (who attended the Forum) replied that she felt the “culture” reference was only to short-term problems with introduction of change and asked how I took the impression I did.  I replied that the sense was not just mine, but that of others I had talked to and responses to the original post here.
  • TTC staff argued that they only intended the “cultural” reference as a short-term problem to be overcome, that years of line management style can’t be changed overnight.  They haven’t given up on the system.  Also, the problem with a lack of updated info appears to be a staff resource issue (for which read they’re too busy with other things), but the information will be incorporated in the monthly Chief General Manager’s Report.

I have managed to cheese off a number of folks at the TTC and City Hall, but feel it’s not my job to be a cheerleader.  I report what I hear and what I see.  Possibly my comments influence how others see the same events, but such is the problem of any media (the “it’s in the Sun so it must be true” syndrome).

Some of you have already written with your own reflections on Tuesday’s meeting, and if there are others reading this, I would be interested in your take on what was said.  This blog exists not just for my opinions, but as a forum for many others to let those interested in transit matters see a variety of positions whether I agree with them or not.

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