The TTC is about to unveil a $6 million high-tech plan to build shelters that show wait times, and a new system will allow passengers to receive email updates on transit delays, CTV News has learned.

The TTC is also developing a system that would allow riders to purchase their tickets and plan their route online.

The high-tech pilot project, which incorporates all three initiatives, is slated to begin next year. The start-up cost is estimated at $6 million, and the plans will be discussed at a meeting on Wednesday.

With respect to the "delay alerts," those notices would be sent to the cellphones, BlackBerrys and other hand-held devices of those who subscribe to the service.

TTC chairman Adam Giambrone says the TTC needs to make some upgrades to ensure a faster and smoother journey, and catch up with other transit systems.

"Mississauga has the trip planner, and people expect to be able to buy things online," Giambrone told CTV News. "This is really becoming a basic service standard, and we just have to run to catch up."

Toronto is following in the footsteps of York Region Transit with respect to the shelters. There, wait times are displayed on an electronic sign.

The Toronto shelters may even list the reason for the delay, such as an accident or traffic.

TTC passengers polled on Monday were mixed about the proposed changes.

"(I wouldn't) have to wait in lines, and I'll know ahead of time about delays," said one rider.

Others, however, said better service doesn't come electronically.

"The service is not the greatest. The cost of the Metro Pass keeps going up and nothing seems to be getting better," said one man.

"I'd rather see more lines, more stops," added another passenger.

Giambrone said the TTC will be making significant service improvements in 2008.

"Next year we are projected to spend some $20 million on new service, so dealing with the crowding aspect, extending the new bus routes, there will be new express bus services, that's all coming," he said. "That came from the fare increase."

With a report from CTV's Naomi Parness