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TTC Promising Vast Improvements

This past November, the Synergy Merchant Services Blog addressed the Toronto Transit Commission’s fare hike that was to be implemented in the new year. And while this did nothing to make TTC riders very happy, the news brought about expectations for the services provided by the TTC to be that much better. However, as Transportation Reporter for The Toronto Star, Tess Kalinowski points out today, the TTC is reaching its lowest point in public perception in years.

She highlights that for the past two months, the TTC has introduced a fare increase, experienced a “disastrous subway disruption”, found itself short on tokens and has had pictures of sleeping employees distributed all over the news media! Evidently, the TTC is in a bad way, these days.

Clearly, this is disappointing news for a large portion of Toronto’s population who depend on TTC buses, subways and streetcars to navigate throughout the country’s biggest city on a daily basis. As Kalinowski points out, however, the TTC has recognized this and earlier today issued an apology to Torontonians.

The expectation for TTC to raise the bar will be met. Or so says TTC chief general manager Gary Webster, who introduced a number of proposed changes to the services TTC will be providing its riders in the coming months. Improvements in the technology used to communicate with passengers will be made in addition to enhanced customer service training for the staff.

Said Webster: “The most challenging part of our job is the people side. Some of the real challenges are the one-on-one interfaces of our employees.”

TTC chair Adam Giambrone has this to offer: “There’s a higher expectation today and the TTC needs to line up to that expectation…I expect TTC staff will act quickly to restore the customers’ confidence.”

TTC hopes that the rise in customer confidence will start immediately with the announcement of the promised changes to their services. Kalinowski writes that the technology upgrades will include text messaging from all 800 streetcar stops by July to inform riders of when the next few cars are expected to arrive. Not bad.

As well, 50 new fare vending machines will be added to help alleviate the long monthly line-ups for passes. New video screens will be set up at station entrances, collector booths will be suited with new microphones, a 24/7 customer assistance and complaints line will be opened and there will be more TTC ambassadors at stations to assist in directing riders.

Well, finally it seems as if TTC passengers will actually be getting something extra for the increased fees that they have had to pay since the beginning of the new year. Apparently it took over 30,000 complaints last year to get the TTC moving on these upgrades. Here’s hoping that “riding the rocket” will once again become “the better way” after all.

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