TTC announces subway train cleaning project
Published Friday, March 2, 2012 3:40PM EST
The TTC announced a plan on Friday to remove litter from subway trains during regular service as part of its customer service improvement project.
In the past, garbage was removed when trains were returned to the service yard at the end of the day. The new system has TTC employees at Kennedy and Finch stations who will spot-clean trains before they go back out, according to TTC acting general manager Andy Byford.
"That way, we can guarantee that on every trip, each train gets cleared of garbage," he told reporters Friday. Byford said the TTC finds it "unacceptable" that garbage may sit on trains for a full day.
He said crews will board a train when it arrives at the end of the subway line, pick up trash and mop up small spills, and then the train will continue service.
At least four employees clean two train cars each. The entire process takes less than four minutes, he said.
The quick cleanings will start after the morning rush hour and wrap up before the evening rush. Byford said the TTC may also look into evening cleanings, and a similar system on buses and streetcars.
"At the end of the day, you paid for the service, you expect it to be a nice clean trip," Byford said.
The TTC will also have employees ride trains on the Yonge-University-Spadina line between College and University stations for mid-route cleaning.
While TTC Chair Karen Stintz said the main goal is customer satisfaction, this policy will reduce the potential for track-level fires and smoke caused by coffee cups and newspapers left on TTC property. Less garbage also reduces tripping hazards, she said.
Stintz said that keeping the TTC litter-free is something everyone can help with, "but we know we need to do our part and lead the way, and convince our customers that we're as committed to cleanliness as they are."
The new cleaning project is part of a series of customer service improvements over the past 16 months Stintz said. A new Twitter account (@TTChelps) dedicated to replying to customer questions launched Feb. 29. The account replies to messages on Twitter regarding schedules, safety hazards and delays. It also forwards complaints and compliments to specific drivers.
In addition, TTC employees are cleaning restrooms and track-side walls more often and installing more garbage bins.
Both improvements have been made without a budget increase, and no new employees were hired, Byford said. The TTC redeployed workers who were already cleaning from night shifts at service yards to day shifts along the subway line.
"We're going all out to improve the customers' experience," he said.