TTC Announces a Customer Charter

With a modest fanfare (but no flourishing of trumpets), the TTC proclaimed its Customer Service Charter on February 28, 2013, at a press conference held at the busy Bloor-Yonge Station. This is a “good news” story, at least for the TTC for whom “customer service” is the new mantra. Senior management at the TTC seem to be headed in the right direction, but I couldn’t help feeling that I had been offered a banquet and found, instead, a snack.

The question of customer service reaches back into the days of the Miller/Giambrone administration. I have written at some length on this issue before.

Although the earlier exercises were well-meaning, this process has been underway for over three years.  In August 2010, an advisory panel produced a report that included more recommendations for ways TTC passengers could improve their behaviour than ways the TTC could provide better service to riders.  The effort had all the earmarks of a self-serving justification for inaction from an organization far too set in its ways.  Indeed, a panel member confirmed to me that TTC management had a large influence in the report, an obvious conflict where the customer viewpoint should be paramount.

In October 2011, TTC Chair Karen Stintz said that “it would take some time” to implement recommendations as “culture change” is not an overnight thing in an old organization.  That’s a fair comment, but this argument cannot be trotted out forever to imply that some changes will come eventually, just not now.  “TTC culture” is a phrase I have heard for years well back into Adam Giambrone’s term as chair, and it is wearing rather thin after so long.

Those of us who have a long history of TTC watching are inevitably suspicious of this process, and it is with that background I approached the announcement.

On February 28, an op-ed piece from TTC CEO Andy Byford appeared in the Toronto Star.  Byford opens with this important statement:

I’m under no illusions about the need to improve all aspects of our service. In fact, I have called for a five-year modernization of the TTC, including a culture transformation of its people, processes and equipment. I want the TTC to continue to show that it’s serious about delivering improvements for its customers.

He continues:

My culture mantra is to challenge mediocrity and to focus on delivering improvement that demonstrates that we are serious about change …

We have already achieved some quick wins …

But there remain issues that need fundamental addressing if we are to sustain this.

The TTC’s base product — the service on the street and on the rails — needs improvement …

The TTC, of course, faces capacity and funding constraints that hinder some of our ability to deliver improved, expanded service. I will continue to press the TTC’s case for much-needed sustainable funding.

This is a recognition that what we have now does not meet the city’s expectations, a call to action to regain the TTC’s status in the premier league of transit systems.

On March 1, CBC’s Metro Morning ran an interview with the TTC’s Chris Upfold.  It began by a chat with TTC riders out on the street, and their responses almost universally spoke of the need for better service.  Cleanliness and security are nice, but we need more service.  The concluding remark — “Show us” — is an essential counterpart to the TTC’s goal of being “a transit system Toronto can be proud of”.

The TTC (both Upfold and Byford), a bit touchy on this subject, have spoken of people who say “don’t waste money on cleaning up the system, give us service”.  That misrepresents the position taken by me and many others for whom the general decrepitude of the system showed a lack of care, of pride and hinted at much more serious “under the covers” problems with maintenance.

We have been here before during the reign of former Chief General Manager Al Leach and a series of budget cuts each of which was accepted by management who said, in effect, that they could make do, and nothing critical would be compromised.  Putting up with a little less every year might work for the short term as an ever popular “diet” for public service agencies, but eventually a culture of just getting by translates to just keeping the wheels on, and sometimes even that is not possible.

The question is not one of clean buses or good service, but of both.  TTC efforts and publicity must show that both are priorities.  Making the Queen car and the Dufferin bus provide reliable service should be as deserving of press conferences and photo ops as opening a refurbished washroom in the subway.

It’s About Service

To the TTC’s credit, the Charter’s first commitment relates to service:

We will deliver a reliable and punctual streetcar, bus and subway service. Our success will be measured through our daily and monthly scorecards, and our overall performance will be better in 2013 than in 2012.

Statistics that are now averaged across the system monthly will be reported at the route level and on a daily basis.  This is a good first step, and the TTC plans to fine tune the model it now uses:

In the fourth quarter, we will introduce a new and more accurate way to reflect the experience of our customers and the reliability of service …

The questions remain of whether “punctual” is measured relative to schedule or to planned headway, not to mention what the TTC will do to resolve service quality problems so that “punctuality” is meaningful over entire routes at all times of the day and night.  Fine-grained reporting should improve the visibility of “problem” routes.


  • Daily route-level reporting should appear, not just quarterly updates, and this should include weekends, not just weekdays.
  • Include a mechanism for displaying historical data, not just “yesterday” so that comparisons over time are easy to make.

Keeping Riders Informed

Several items in the Charter speak of ways that information will be made available to riders.  Screens at some station entrances will announce disruptions that might make a rider think twice about entering the subway.  NextBus information screens are now available at some major subway-surface interchanges so that riders know when their connecting vehicle might appear.  NextBus text displays at some streetcar stops let riders know when to expect a streetcar.

This is a good start, but much more, especially the stop-level displays, is needed.  In the subway, there is a gap between the information provided at entrances (where the displays have been installed) and the platform (where passengers accumulate and many arrive from connecting vehicles without ever passing the station entrance).  On platform displays are limited to the number of devices the advertising company who owns them will install, and there are holes in coverage (most amusingly at TTC head office, Davisville Station, which only recently gained a display at mezzanine level).  Information availability should not be hostage to whether an advertising company can make a profit selling space on the display.

New displays for stop poles and shelters are now in test on the 94 Wellesley route as discussed in a previous article here, and a redesigned route map will appear in late 2013.  (Of course, this map will have disappeared from transit shelters, but that’s another story.)

Absent from the Charter is any reference to the TTC’s website.  Information about routes is scattered through multiple pages, and availability differs between standard browser and mobile access.

WiFi and cellular service will be implemented as a trial at Bloor-Yonge and St. George Stations.  Once the TTC verifies that this does not interfere with any existing critical systems such as their own radios and train signals, this service will be expanded throughout the network.  (Service between stations is a separate, future project.)

By the summer, the TTC will have a new plan in place for major emergencies.  This will redeploy TTC staff into the subway for passenger assistance during periods when part of the system will be shut down for an extended period.


  • The TTC should establish a rollout plan and budget for expanding real-time information at stations and shelters system-wide together with target dates for completion of sections of the network.
  • The TTC should review the structure of information on its website and implement a single point of access for schedules, real-time performance and other stop, route and local neighbourhood information.  This should be co-ordinated with initiatives by other agencies such as the City of Toronto for a unified wayfinding and information system.

Responding to Riders

The TTC has increased the hours of its call centre so that it is now available 7:00am to 10:00pm every day, and they plan to get “answer times” down to 90 seconds, maximum.

The Group Station Managers have been appointed, and they will be announced soon.  Six managers will be responsible for all aspects of groups of stations including knowing the “why” of everything taking place there and ensuring that maintenance projects don’t get lost in the shuffle.


  • Find a way to track station information online and make it accessible to riders who want to know what is happening at their station without having to chase someone for an answer (or worse, “we don’t know”).  If the TTC can provide detailed information about major construction projects at stations, surely they can do this for routine status updates.  The Group Station Managers should be responsible for this.

In the second quarter of 2013, the TTC plans to

“reinvigorate the security model so that we can provide a safer working environment for our employees and a safer travelling environment”.

To what extent this might be entwined with the TTC’s desire to regain “Special Constable” status for its security group, or any plans to expand that group, are unclear.  Feedback from customer surveys indicates that riders feel safe riding on the TTC even with occasional incidents such as a recent onboard stabbing.  The quick identification and apprehension of a suspect shows the value of surveillance systems.

The Charter includes a commitment to install luggage racks on the 192 Airport Rocket buses, something that in fact has already taken place.  This is a long-overdue improvement that should not have required “Charter” status to implement.

The TTC plans to update its staff uniforms:

We are creating a new uniform to modernize our image and help our staff and customers feel proud of the TTC.

I am not sure that this counts as “Customer Charter” material beyond the idea that staff and riders should be proud of the system.  However, much more is involved with that issue including service quality and working conditions.  Notable by their absence from the Charter’s launch were any representatives from the employee unions.

Renewing the System

New vehicles are the focus of this section.  The TTC has 28 of the new Toronto Rocket (TR) trains on the system, and plans to receive the remaining 42 at a rate of five per quarter.  This will bring the project to a close in early 2015.  The last 10 of these trains are for the Spadina extension, and full conversion of the Yonge-University-Spadina line to TR operation should be possible in mid-2014.

The first prototype streetcar will begin on-street testing in March 2013, and two more prototypes will be delivered in the second and third quarters.  Production models will begin to arrive late in 2013 for in-service rollout in 2014.  The issue of where and how this rollout should occur, and the disposition of the older cars, is already a matter of debate at the political level.  I will turn to this in a future article.

Articulated diesel buses will make a return to Toronto this year with the majority of the deliveries in 2014 and early 2015 (the order was recently extended to 153 buses, a fact not reflected in the Charter).  The TTC hopes to move to all-door loading to reduce dwell time at stops and improve utilization of space within vehicles.

Although the TTC notes that these will “will help us meet ridership demand on some of our busiest bus routes”, there is no suggestion of whether the artics will be a net addition to system capacity, or will merely replace existing vehicles.  During the 2012 budget planning, the TTC downgraded its Service Standards to allow a greater degree of crowding.  This also eliminated the need for one order of new buses and for a garage to hold them.  If all that the new artics accomplish is a reduction in TTC costs by raising the ratio of riders to operators, their value relative to “ridership demand” will be limited.


  • TTC’s surface vehicle fleet plans need to be reviewed, updated and published to show the requirements of serving expected growth.
  • Service plans should be reviewed for the benefit of express services and of the creation of a frequent service network as proposed in the Transit City Bus Plan.
  • Streetcar service plans should be reviewed so that the rollout of new cars enhances the capacity and quality of existing services.
  • Service Standards should be reviewed to reflect the cost of overcrowding on service reliability and attractiveness, and the benefit of increased capacity to attract riders to the system.
  • Subway fleet plans should be reviewed to establish the requirements for additional trains needed to increase capacity once the new signal system is completed in 2016-17.

Infrastructure renewal is also part of the Charter including work on accessibility at some subway stations.  The TTC commits to completing the long-running project at Pape Station by the end of 2013.  Although site conditions delayed the project, there was no ongoing update on project status beyond occasional changes to the target date.  This is an example of how the new online status pages for major projects will improve information.  Actual performance of such projects will depend on good up-front planning and design, and attention to keeping projects moving quickly.

System accessibility remains a burning issue for affected riders.  This is a question not just of elevator installations (which will stretch out to the mandated 2025 completion date) but of the availability of accessibility devices on a day-to-day basis.  The TTC recognizes that accessibility is vital to many:

The accessibility of our service is the difference between being able to travel or not for many of our customers. We will ensure that the ramps and stop announcements on our vehicles are functional, accurate and fit for purpose.

That’s fine as far as it goes, but there is also the question of elevators and escalators that are out of service more often than TTC statistics report.


  • Information on elevator and escalator availability should include partial-day shutdowns, not just a once-a-day snapshot of the system. 
  • Scheduled outages should be included in the counts of “unavailable” machines.  100% availability is never possible because of routine maintenance.  This basic part of riders’ experience should be reflected in the statistics.

Station cleanliness will get substantial attention in 2013 with deep cleans of all stations, renewal of terrazzo floors, and cleaning/replacement of lighting.  The TTC has been tracking station condition for a few years now, and the index of cleanliness was stubbornly stuck at a good-but-not-great level.  Getting past this requires more than improved work plans for existing day-to-day maintenance, and the “blitz” planned for 2013 should raise the  bar for the condition riders and TTC management should expect to see all of the time.

The Need for Political Commitment

There is only so much that can be done by redeploying existing budgets and improving work processes to provide a better transit system.  At some point, the politicians who direct and fund the TTC must come to the table.

With great irony, both the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario (through Metrolinx) are conducting outreach on how the GTHA might fund massive improvements to transit throughout the region.  Billions of dollars slosh around the room, at least on paper, to build a 25-year plan of transit expansion.  However, when riders ask for better service, they are told to make do, that cuts are for “the greater good” even when that “good” serves only the bankrupt fiscal policies of a discredited mayor.

Service is something we provide to “other people”, not as a basic function of a strong, working city.  Service is something we “can’t afford” while we trumpet the benefits of lower taxes in making our city attractive.

Real change, real improvement in transit will only come with a recognition that public transit is an essential part of the city that must be provided because we believe in its worth, not because we feel a need to support those who cannot drive due to personal circumstances, or those borderline loonies who actually choose not to own a car.

We cannot plan transit capacity on the basis that if only we were more “efficient”, there’s room for more on the roof.

We cannot plan for accessibility by flat-lining the budget for Wheel Trans and hoping that miraculously the population will stop aging.

We cannot build a true transit network by building a few subway lines and leaving the rest of Toronto and the GTHA to make do with the occasional bus or GO train.

This is a local and a regional issue.  Toronto especially must not expect that all its funding problems will be solved by a new pot of gold at Queen’s Park or Ottawa.  Most critically, Toronto politicians must not wriggle out of funding transit by abdication, by saying “if only someone else would pay”, while riders wait in the cold for their bus to show up.

A real Customer Charter will dedicate the city to rebuilding and improving its transit system and to obtaining the revenue, however this may be done, to accomplish that goal.

27 thoughts on “TTC Announces a Customer Charter

  1. Steve wrote:

    “Feedback from customer surveys indicates that riders feel safe riding on the TTC…”

    Kevin’s comment:

    My totally unscientific survey of very close friends and relatives indicates that almost 100% of female passengers on overcrowded buses and trains have experienced being “accidentally” sexually groped during a vehicle lurch.

    Obviously, there is no way of proving in a court of law that it was not a real accident. When people are packed in like sardines in a can, physical contact is inevitable. However, those who are being sexually touched know full well that this is no accident.

    Indian trains have special “women only” cars for this very reason. There is an episode of the television show “Outsourced” in which the characters go on a ride on an Indian train that contains two experienced sexual gropers. The television show played it for laughs, but in real life, it is very much Not Funny. This sort of thing happens all the time on the TTC

    This is a serious deterrent to women riding the TTC during peak periods. I know several women whose decision to buy a car and abandon the TTC was caused by their experience of being sexually groped on a packed TTC vehicle. And yet this issue never seems to get raised when talking about loading standards that are a sexual groper’s paradise.


  2. Further to my last, do these TTC customer surveys contain a question along the lines of

    “Have you ever been sexually touched while riding an overcrowded TTC vehicle?”

    Or is this one of those cases where the approach is

    “We do not ask the question because we are afraid of the answer.”


  3. Excellent comments, Steve.

    I really find it interesting that Andy Byford would repeat comments from certain transit riders that cleanliness is less important than service. It seems self-serving to repeat what is likely a small fraction of the comments in order to reinforce your own existing notions … never mind that politicians do it all the time … I expect better from Byford.

    It shouldn’t be hard for TTC management to understand that cleanliness IS service. So are transparency, proper communication, accountability and pride.

    That brings me to the new uniforms. I understand that organizations like to change small things so it looks like the big things are also being considered.

    I think that the current uniforms (grey slacks, navy blazer, purple jacket … which supposedly looks too much like corporate security guard/concierge uniforms) are an improvement over the old ones (I seem to remember brown polyester and police-style flat caps) … so I don’t know what the TTC would be looking to change here. Maybe a more unique ‘TTC’ look (lots of red?) or just uniform fabrics that are more comfortable?

    Finally, may I suggest that you compile all your suggestions and add them to the updated Grand Plan section of your website.

    Cheers, Moaz


  4. It’d be nice if they took the 5 lowest performing routes, and by name had a press conference on what they were going to do on that specific route to improve service.

    I think when a specific route is targeted it would be a lot easier to say, we’re going to take all the parking off the street for 6 months and see what kind of effect it has on performance, or we’re going to upgrade all the lights to priority for this entire route, move the stops a bit, increase the number of busses, whatever it needs to be.

    This is the sort of thing politicians love, having a very specific concrete thing that requires very little money and improves 1000’s of people’s commutes.


  5. Customer charters are great, IF they are accompanied by appropriate action which we need on 3 fronts.

    1) The TTC has to get its act together, especially on route management. It’s no good having a charter if you can’t deliver the service.

    2) City council has to realize that you cannot improve service while cutting funding. They have to step up and deliver adequate funding. If the TTC were subsidized at the rate of the third least subsidized system in North America we would have unbelievable service.

    3) The province has to improve its funding also if GO is to absorb more of the load in the greater GTHA. This may sound strange given all the building Metrolinx is doing but I question the wisdom of their choices, especially for the UP Express. Perhaps once the Pan Am games are over and we see what a white elephant it is, it can be converted into rapid transit line. Most of the right of way would be built; it would only need overhead, equipment, a few more stations and a proper signal system.

    I would like the federal government to kick in some funding but I am not holding my breath.


  6. Shiny NEW subway trains, streetcars, articulated buses!!!! Now – new uniforms!!! ALL SIZZLE – NO MEAT! What about fixing the fundamental problems: poor scheduling, decades of mismanagement, lack of upgrading a decaying infrastructure! Now, Andy Byford is making promises to improve reliability on surface routes! The TTC does not have control over the weather, traffic conditions, type of passenger loads (ie. seniors with mobility devices, bundle buggies, etc.), snow banks at stops which increase dwell times, etc. This is an empty promise!


  7. To me, this is window dressing. Do private transport companies have charters? No, they have terms of service (TOS) or carriage. This gives consumers an idea what to expect in a normal situation and what to do if the service fails to meet expectation(s). For example, if I fly Air Canada to Hong Kong, I do not need a charter telling me that AC will try to be on time. The TOS would state that the definition of on time. If it is not on time due to the acceptable circumstance, the passenger is entitle to x compensation. Why make it so complicated?

    It is time for Torontonians to sit down and have a discussion on what transit should do and should not do. Right now, we are asking the TTC to take on many roles. Right now, the TTC is being asked to be an enabler of livable cities, transport lower income people, be a moving company (those people witht he 50 inch TVs on the bus), transport customers and be self sufficient. For people with strollers and wheelchairs, is the TTC the best way to move them? Would taxis be a better option? If we want the TTC to be everything for everyone, are we willing to commit the resources (i.e. enabling laws, money, arresting powers) for it to happen?

    I respect Gord for coming here and bringing a dose of reality here. He cares enough to point out the short comings. Although, we may never see eye to eye on issues, I do believe that we want a similar goal at the end.

    On a last note, I do believe that operators of TTC vehicles should be given the same powers as captains on ships and pilot on airplanes. For the safety and well being of other passengers, they should have the power to evict people off vehicles and order other necessary measures. If I harass other passengers on a cruise ship and the captain punch me in the face, it is the end of the story. The captain knows best. This alone will get rid of a lot issues facing TTC passengers today.


  8. I thought originally the plans to receive the Toronto Rockets were suppose closer to weekly. Is it that the TRs itself have problems that slowed down the process or some other constraints?

    It seems to me that Bombardier is having problems meeting the deadline and that the new Flexity streetcars will miss the delivery deadline too. Does that means we won’t see the Spadina Streetcar be converted fully to Flexity streetcar operation till late 2014 or early 2015? Nevermind the LRVs Metrolinx ordered which isn’t needed till at least 2020.


  9. That does seem like a rather leisurely rate of delivery for the new trains. I seem to recall the T-1’s being delivered more quickly. As for the testing of the new LRV, I will believe it when I see it.


  10. For once, the TTC borrows something from the airline industry, and Benny’s not impressed?

    In 2007, Bill C-11 strengthened the Canada Transportation Act to protect the rights of air travellers. Since that time, most Canadian airlines have approved the Airline Passenger Charter, which protects your rights.

    (From, though I can’t find the text of this charter posted anywhere.)

    Steve: To be fair to Benny, I think the important difference is between a charter created to regulate an industry who might not always have the customer’s best interests at heart, and one created by the service provider. In a strongly regulated environment, the former provides a means of appeal and penalty, if necessary. In the latter, at best the charter could expose management to embarrassment and to criticism for aiming too low. At least with a public agency, we are debating the charter rather than counting on the less-than-altruistic nature of a private company.


  11. T-1s “seemed” to come into service more quickly because they came onstream in married pairs. A quick calculation shows that 366 cars were delivered over five years, which works out to about one train per month, or three per quarter (excluding the first test train). If TRs come in at five trains per quarter (according to the schedule at least), then would be quite a bit faster than the T-1s, and way ahead of the problem-plagued H-6s, which came in at an average rate of about five trains PER YEAR over four years!

    A famous TTC quote from General Manager H. C. Patten in 1950: “There is no substitute for good service”. If good service can’t be provided, then customer charters and promises ring hollow.


  12. May want to update your response … Davisville has the next train monitor operating for about 2 weeks now. It is on the mezzanine at the south side near the Gateway, rather than the platform. Sign switches between “Next train to Union” & “Next train to Finch” times.

    Steve: Thanks for the update.

    There is some irony here. Years ago, the TTC resisted a proposal to display this sort of information remote from platforms because it would create a safety hazard when passengers rush down to an approaching train.


  13. [nice story]

    Anecdotely, there has been a significant change in attitude in how complaints are handled on the complaint line. Used to be you were not taken seriously. Now you are told they will talk to said driver. Not sure the drivers like it of course.

    And I do like the new bathrooms.

    [/end of nice story]

    New uniforms and cars and attitude will mean nothing if they can’t fix the horrible mess that is not running to headways resulting in streetcar and bus bunching.


  14. “Years ago, the TTC resisted a proposal to display this sort of information remote from platforms because it would create a safety hazard when passengers rush down to an approaching train.”

    Well, currently, without this information, passengers for both directions rush down because they hear a train a-comin’ (but don’t know if it’s in their direction or not).


  15. Malaysia’s Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board had a wonderful passenger charter posted on the passenger side window of every single taxi in the country. Taxi drivers didn’t care care because there was little or no enforcement (the agency had 59 enforcement people in a country with 40,000 registered taxis, 34,000 of them in and around Kuala Lumpur).

    In 2009 the CVLB made all taxi drivers put stickers in their doors that say “Metered Taxi, no haggling”

    4 years later the average Malaysian still haggles with a taxi driver.

    My point is that the Charter can be from the regulatory agency or the service provider themselves but if there is no buy in, enforcement and accountability it will be a pointless public relations exercise.

    Cheers, Moaz


  16. I saw the screens that were installed at Davisville the other day. I wonder what prompted the TTC to put them up in the mezzanine instead of on the platforms? As for rushing down the stairs from Davisville’s mezzanine, I used to hang out there watching trains through the plate glass windows and then run down to whichever platform the first train of Gloucesters pulling into the station happened to be on when I was a kid and go for a ride.


  17. Re: cleanliness, the “older” TR sets are already looking quite grubby, and the T1s I see on the Yonge line appear as though they emerged from a coal mine. Are we seeing yet more car-washing breakdowns as seems to be the permanent situation on the Bloor line?


  18. New uniforms?!

    If the TTC is so underfunded, why waste money on new uniforms that could be put to work on deferred maintenance & repairs or upgrading things of an enduring nature?


  19. Don’tUnderstand said: If the TTC is so underfunded, why waste money on new uniforms that could be put to work on deferred maintenance & repairs or upgrading things of an enduring nature?

    New uniforms are an example of cheap, quick and attention-getting public relations activities that will Somehow improve employee morale while making it appear that the TTC is taking action.

    I’m sure someone, Somewhere will have a report saying that the improved morale and increased public awareness will be worth the money spent.

    Now if we can just get Andy Byford and Karen Stintz to wear TTC baseball caps at all interviews, like Tony Fernandes of Air Asia.

    Cheers, Moaz


  20. The CEO (who resembles Mr. Burns from The Simpsons) has declared that the current uniform “looks outdated”. The talk among the front lines is that he wants to eliminate the “summer uniform”. It is rumoured that he has issues with: golf shirts, shorts, tie-less uniforms. I expect we will be wearing “puke green and bright yellow” uniforms – the team colours of his Plymouth team of English Soccer!!

    On a more serious note, however, each uniformed employee is entitled to new clothing every two years. It is stated that this initiative will be “cost neutral” as the the uniform contracts are up for renewal. There will be a “transitional period” as the “new” uniforms are rolled out. Time will tell how “cost neutral” this will be – the current quality of our uniforms can be described in a single word: CRAP!!! Why do buttons fall off on the first wearing? Why do zippers not stay done up? Why does an operator have to wear a windbreaker, and a sweater over the uniform shirt (over their own undergarments) in an effort to stay warm; under the uniform “parka”??

    All we want is better quality uniforms; they look like crap because the quality is crap!! It is not a matter of colour; the maroon jackets and parkas are distinctive; but rather quality – you get what you are willing to pay for!!


  21. Just to follow up: the TTC (and TRC) have supplied operator uniforms since 1902 (when this was a major factor in a strike against the TRC). Uniforms have had changes over the years, but this just strikes me as a smokescreen by the management. BTW, morale amoungst the “front line” staff is at the lowest level that I have seen since I started at TTC – new uniforms are not a morale booster (in my opinion) – front line employees feel that they are bring blamed by management for management’s own short comings; in addition to being “targeted” by the “anti-union” “contract out everything that isn’t nailed down” faction at City Hall!! Despite all of this, we performed remarkably well during the two recent major snowfalls! A “snow day” to us means that we arrive at work early and get the service out on time!!


  22. New uniforms should not be looked at as a PR stunt. If flight attendants wear the same uniform like the Pan Am ones in the 60s, it would not be very appropiate. Any organization needs to evolve with the time. Since operators and other front line staff are professionals, wearing a tie should be a given or a scarf for the females.

    If Mr. Byford is indeed the beacon of modernity at the TTC, a uniform change is appropiate. When Air Canada and Japan Airlines came out of bankruptcy, they have new uniforms to usher in the new eras. I remember seeing those new uniforms at Narita Airport. The pride that the staff wore those uniform showed me that it is a morale booster.

    Gord, on a personal level I see your frustration. However, for the public, we really do not want to see management and employee as seperate entities. The public just wants a bus or a tram to arrive on time with a safe and courteous operator. However, I do agree that we need someone visionary that will unite everyone at the TTC.


  23. When Air Canada and Japan Airlines came out of bankruptcy, they have new uniforms to usher in the new eras. I remember seeing those new uniforms at Narita Airport. The pride that the staff wore those uniform showed me that it is a morale booster.

    Egads, a google search on “air canada employee morale” returns nothing but low morale and gloom.

    A Google search on “air canada employee morale new uniforms” gives links to stories like “Air Canada stumbles on fashion runway” (Globe and Mail) and advice to management such as “Don’t be so strict about uniforms and figure out a way for less injuries.”

    I’m not buying the “snappy new uniform induces snappy new morale”. I’d be more inclined to see the new uniform giving rise to new cynicism.


  24. Whether women get sexually groped in a TTC train/bus/streetcar or raped in a parking garage, you are not safe whether you take the TTC or drive. This is why I prefer surface lots and on-street parking, as much as leftists have a rabid hatred of surface parking (I was pro-parking garage up until OPP police treated me like absolute de-humanized garbage in a parking garage). As a young male, I don’t feel safe in parking garages either. I could be assaulted/mugged or accused of a crime again. I was accused of attempted theft by OPP in a parking garage and treated like a thug where there were government buildings nearby just because I “looked suspicious” to police. They were making up lies that I was looking into vehicles and that they had it on camera.

    I was just trying to find a pedestrian entrance (there was none. You actually have to go through the car entrance/exits to get inside. The cops argued that a human body would have fit even with the electronic arm down and that I should have thought of that before looking around outside the parking garage. Oh I should have thought of that before I walk around like a citizen thinking I live in a free democratic country right? How dare I!) and they treat me like a criminal. I had to prove my case I wasn’t up to no good (showed them my car keys and parking receipt, unlocked my car for them, had to open my door) then they let me go. Guilty until proven innocent.

    Steve: I am not sure how this contributes to the discussion of a Customer Charter. The observation that one is not safe either by car or by TTC is valid, and the decision to take one or the other involves many factors. Transit cops can be just as officious as those in parking garages.


  25. That was in response to Kevin’s comment about some of his female friends getting a car because they feel unsafe from gropers on the ttc. A woman on a blog claimed that she was sexually assaulted by a ttc worker in a dwa so I’m not about to toot their horn either.

    I’m not about to hold my breath that ttc workers will treat customers with respect any time soon. Public servants are mostly self-entitled and lazy (I’m a contract public servant so I’m actually accountable. That’s not to say my co-workers are lazy but I have seen a lot of lazy public servants). Officers are among the worst because they get off on power-tripping and scaring innocent citizens. If I don’t feel safe around officers of the law.


  26. Those are serious allegations and considering that the DWA is monitored and recorded, she should report it to the authorities. I would hope that she did so instead of just posting it to a blog.

    But honestly you really shouldn’t walk around trying to sound smart by using words like “leftist”. The tone, reasoning, and how you seem to ignore others that point out problems with some of your ideas doesn’t make some of us want to take you seriously. Fewer talking points please. It makes you look like a caricature.


  27. Fancy new uniforms will not improve employee morale! We feel we are under attack from our own management – contracting out of ATU113 positions seems to be the corporate mantra at the TTC. Front line employees feel that they are under attack – witness the Twitter accounts of @ttchelps where complaints DO NOT follow the procedure set out in our CBA!!

    Benny Cheung mentions Air Canada – a very poor example – these employees are among the most demoralized employees if a company – I have several friends and relatives who work for Air Canada (long term employees) who absolutely hate this employer and are counting the days until they can retire! Yes, they got fancy new uniforms; BUT, they were still asked to make concessions while the upper management was getting bonuses for cost cutting!

    Shiny new equipment and uniforms DO NOT address the basic issues of mismanagement, such as not updating scheduling (that can be 30 years out if date)!

    Benny, we are going to have to agree to disagree here; yes I want a better TTC – I have several family members who depend on the TTC. My goal, as an employee, is to have improvements that benefit both the passengers as well as the employees – why am I expected to operate in a manner that compromises “Safety – Service – Courtesy” in order to maintain obsolete, out of date scheduling?


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