Tag Archive | TTC

TTC Absence Data, Absent TTC Content

A recent article in Chicago’s RedEye examined a possible link between chronic absenteeism and longer than usual wait times for rider during peak times. In particular,

The odds of experiencing a bad commute on the CTA are greater on Mondays and Fridays and during the run-up to rush periods, all because of canceled buses and trains, a Tribune examination of performance data has found.

A break down of the data found that the majority of cancellations occurred between 6 and 9 a.m. in the morning and 4 to 7 p.m. in the evening, coinciding nicely with peak rush.

CTA management and unions both recognize absenteeism is a significant issue, but each side is (not surprisingly) blaming the other for high absence rates.

So how does the TTC stack up? Well, the answer is not terribly clear based on what I have been able to track down in terms of TTC absence rates.

After reaching out to the TTC’s Chief Customer Service Officer, Chris Upfold, over Twitter, he emailed me the chart below.

Click to enlarge

Now, I’ve never claimed to be a statistician. In fact, I barely squeaked through by research statistics course in grad school. Given that, I felt like there wasn’t much I could wring from this chart. But, between the brains of my wife and the brains of my stats nerd work friend, I figured I could do some rough approximations.

With an almost 8 per cent absence rate in 2011, assuming a 365 day work day, I figured that this roughly equals almost 33 absences (365 x 9% = 32.85). Compare that to CTA’s 39.5 and…what?

There’s a fair number of assumptions in the TTC figure (all TTC employees compared to CTAs drivers only figure, for example). And even knowing this number and that the TTC figure is lower, where does that leave us?

That’s where I’m stuck. Without cancellations figures for the TTC (that I could find through internet digging) I don’t really have much to go on.  That, fair readers, is where I’m hoping you’ll come in.

If anyone out there can take this and build on it, please do! And let me know what you come up with, I’ll be interested to learn more.


TTC Customer Service Advisory Panel Announced

by Ben

With surprisingly little fanfare it appears the TTC has announced the members for it’s Customer Service Advisory Panel.  The always resourceful Transit Toronto has the full details here.  Here’s what the membership is going to look like:

  • Matthew Blackett, the publisher and founder of Spacing magazine.
  • Robert Culling a professional transit operator for the TTC.
  • Yves Devin the chief executive officer of the Société de Transport de Montréal (STM) since 2006.
  • Tyson Matheson, WestJet’s vice president of People Relations and Culture.
  • Dr. Roy Morley, professor of marketing in the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.
  • Sue Motahedin of TELUS Communications Inc.’s Loyalty and Retention Department.
  • Krisna Saravanamuttu, a fourth-year criminology major at York University and the president of the York Federation of Students.
  • Kripa Sekhar, the executive director of the South Asian Women’s Centre.
  • Julie Tyios, the chief executive officer of Red Juice Media, an online marketing firm.

Early impressions:

  • First, the TTC announced earlier in the week that there wouldn’t be any members from the public.  That said, I was still holding out home that Steve Munro would be on here.  It was as squandered opportunity on the TTC’s part.
  • I’m generally a fan of Matthew Blackett.  He at least represents the “activisit” side of the equation to some extent.
  • Robert Culling – It appears that Culling is a TTC driver (not sure of what vehicle).  A logical choice for inclusion on the panel, and I’m curious as to what criteria determined what driver was selected – e.g., peer suggestion, Union suggestion.
  • Yves Deviln – Solid choice.
  • Krisna Saravanamuttu and Kripa Sekhar – A surprising nod towards the diverse needs of TTC users.  I’m especially pleased with the community focus of including someone from the South Asian Women’s Centre.   Very impressive choices here.
  • The rest are the usual corporate and academic suspects, no surprises there.

Details of the panels goals are summarized at Transit Toronto and by Steve Munro, so I won’t cover that ground again.  With the report due at the end of June, however, I am interested in how much work will be achieved.  I haven’t seen an indication as to the frequency of the meetings, but I would hope they would at least be twice a week.

Probably a larger fear is how much voice some of the “smaller” members will actually have.  Will the needs of students be heard over the opinion of corporate VPs?  Will genuine debate occur in these meetings, or will they be hijacked by competing interests?

For now I will maintain a fine balance of skepticism and optimism and wait for more details.  Regardless, a positive step.

Mayoral Machinations Mayhap?

by Ben

That’s right folks, it’s that time of year again – municipal election speculation time!  It’s my most favourite time of year, when a young man’s thoughts turn to campaigns, leafleting and fundraising.  Today marks the first day candidates can officially register to run.  The City of Toronto has a nice little page listing everyone running, with such heavy hitters as Stephen Feek and Mark State.

This municipal election is doubly exciting for me as it will be the first time I can actually vote in Canada.  Needless to say, I am stoked.  So stoked, in fact, that I called to confirm that I am on the voters list.  I mean, it’s only NINE months until I get to cast a ballot!

All joking aside, a municipal election for a city the size of Toronto does generate a fair bit more excitement than one for, say, Leamington (sorry Mayor John Adams – no, not that one, this one).  A lot is at stake for Toronto; Here are some of the big ticket items in my book: Read More…

Sue Ann Levy: Bloated and Mismanaged

Just wanted to relay a fun little back and forth on Twitter today involving Sue Ann Levy.  For those who don’t know her, Sue…Ann is a columnist for the Toronto Sun who ostensibly monitors the City Hall beat.  Or, to quote her delightful witticism, “Socialist Silly Hall”.  Do you see what she does there?  You see, Silly Hall is a lot like City Hall, and Socialist is, well, the opposite of this conservative ink slinger.  For our U.S. viewers, imagine Glenn Beck with a little less hysterics, the same level of hyperbole and lack of journalistic integrity, and arguably worse hair.

In any case, I’ve about had it with people in Toronto bemoaning the recent TTC fare increase (for a solid analysis of this increase check out Steve Munro’s blog).  Sue Ann, of course, had to weigh in via her Twitter account:






Read More…

Toronto Transit Maps

I’ve had some time recently to putter around with my various Toronto-related Google maps.  I enjoy Gmaps for a number of reasons, but chiefly because making my own maps allows me to remember cool places to visit that I read about or stumble across.

With my recent move to Toronto, I very quickly learned that the Toronto Transit Commission’s website maps are woefully inadequate.  As a newbie trying to find your way around, your options are either a fast loading map of the subway that gives you little context, or a behemoth PDF of the whole transit system which takes forever to load and re-load each time you move around on it.

But what if I want to know which stop is closest to the bar or restaurant I’m going to?  Outta luck.

Read More…

TTC examining use of Tasers for special constables

Just great.  The Toronto Star is reporting today that a consultant has been hired to examine whether TTC special constables should be better armed.  As TTC spokesperson Brad Roth so eloquently puts it, “be armed with firearms, tasers, that kind of thing.”  You know, those mildly lethal little gadgets cops just love to whip out at the slightest provocation.

It’s been well documented how I feel about Tasers in the hands of trained police officers, let alone “special” constables (see here and here).  So I won’t go on a full scale rant.  As usual, I recognize that being a special constable is a dangerous job (as the recent shooting on a subway car highlights).  That said, I have to agree with the chair of the TTC, Adam Giambrone:

Giambrone said he is not personally in favour of arming constables with either Tasers or guns. “No evidence has been provided to me so far that indicates our special constables have to be armed any further than they are today,” he said in an interview.  “In my opinion they don’t need to be armed any further. They have the backup of the Toronto police.”

By the way, Giambrone is quickly showing himself to be quite a politically savvy cat, keep an eye on him.

Anyway, to sum up.  Cops + Tasers = Bad; Lil’ Cops + Tasers = Worse.

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