Monday, February 1, 2010


It’s been a tough couple of months for the Toronto Transit Commission, what with a major subway shutdown, a fare hike, a damning report on mismanagement of the St Clair right-of-way project and the snoring collector heard ‘round the world. So Chair Adam Giambrone and Chief General Manager Gary Webster did the right thing this week, when they put forth a powerful but simple message to riders: we hear you, and we’re going to work hard to get better. “We owe our riders and apology for customer service that does not live up to their expectations” were Giambrone’s exact words. “The most challenging part of our job is the people side,” Webster offered. “This is an opportunity for us to step it up a notch.” A range of coming initiatives was outlined, including better staff screening at the hiring stage and beefed up customer service training, new complaint hotlines, metropass vending machines, electronic screens with next vehicle arrival time information and even text messaging updates – all indicating that some serious work is to be done in a number of areas, consistent with the commitment. The Toronto Star’s Royson James called it “classic damage control” and pronounced it ‘well done,” rightly noting that Giambrone is about to run for mayor and needs to show leadership on the city file he currently holds before setting off in pursuit of the whole enchilada. But based on comments from commuters on radio and TV, most seem just pleased that their complaints are being heard and encouraged by the appearance of some action being taken. Touchdown.

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