TTC customer service will improve, promises CEO
Published Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:00PM EDT
Improving service on all Toronto transit lines is priority No. 1 for TTC CEO Andy Byford and he’s got a plan to do it.
Byford, who has been in the top spot at the TTC for nearly six months, said he is committed to improving customer service on transit across the city within the next five years.
“It’s got to be a capable system. It’s got to be a system that you can rely on,” said Byford.
The former London Underground employee would know. Not only has he worked in London and at Australia’s RailCorp, he doesn’t own a car and he takes transit to work every day.
Basics need to be taken care of before everything else, Byford said.
To meet his goals, Byford has implemented a new system to carefully track performance measures including cleanliness, train timing and customer complains.
Numbers and trends are compared each week at staff meetings to look for any changes.
“If, for example, you notice that punctuality has taken a dive in a particular week, I want to know why and what we’re doing about it. That’s important,” said Byford.
If there is a problem, a staff member is assigned to address it promptly.
“Somebody would be assigned an action and the expectation is that they will have an answer for me within one week,” Byford said.
The data collected, including what is being done well and what needs improvement, is also being made public in a daily customer service report, which is posted on the TTC website.
Al these steps are working towards the TTC’s new vision: A transit system that makes Toronto proud.
Byford said there is a five-year time frame to meet improvement targets.
“I’m quite convinced we can deliver on this mission within five years,” he said.
Besides cleanliness and ensuring on-time service, customers can expect to see other improvements in the next five years, as projects meant to modernize the system in time for the PanAm games are completed.
Upgrades to Union Station will be completed, with the addition of a second platform.
“What this will give us is more space on both the north-bound and the south-bound because it will create a separate platform for each,” Byford said.
Customers can also expect to see more debit machines installed at collector booths, something only 10 stations have now.
Presto cards will also allow commuters to pay once then use a card for transfers, rather than using tokens or cash and obtaining a paper transfer.
Byford admits that meeting targets won’t be easy.
“The biggest challenge, to me, is changing the culture of this organization and, building on my predecessors, it’s an evolution,” he said.
As for the more distant future, Byford said the LRT projects approved this year by the city are a good start.
He would also like to see a downtown subway relief line become the next transit priority for the city.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson