For the first time since 1986, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has been given the honour of being named Outstanding Public Transportation System for 2017. This award is given by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), a transit industry organization based in Washington D.C. The APTA is made of members who are leading all areas of transportation, including high-speed rail, subways, light rail, busses, paratransit, and waterborne services. Members also include representatives from government agencies and planning organizations in various states or cities.
The award of best transit agency in North America is one of the most prestigious transit industry awards given by APTA. CEO Andy Byford attributes the agency’s success to its five-year plan to modernize the way the transit system runs, putting the customer at the centre.
“Five years ago we embarked upon a modernization program to completely transform every aspect of our service,” he said. “Record customer satisfaction scores reflect a system that is cleaner, friendlier, more punctual, and more reliable.”
With one week to go until the data is confirmed, emerging customer service score will be approximately 83 per cent, an all-time high. Byford also said the TTC is working on megaprojects like completing the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (set to open this year), continuing to implement PRESTO, and getting new streetcars in the downtown corridors.
Despite these facts, news of this award has spread across social media caused many Toronto transit users to scoff. Both Byford and TTC Chair Josh Colle said that those who are comparing the system in Toronto to other cities should know that those cities were the ones that voted the TTC as the best transit agency.
“Is the job complete? No,” Byford said at the end of his speech at Union Station. “We know there is still more to do to improve service reliability…and reduce crowding. We are already finalizing our next five-year plan. But for now we can reflect on a job well done.”
Colle said he will be pushing for more funding for the TTC over the next year. “Support is now more important than ever because we have to continue this work. We can’t just stop and rest like we used to do in the 80s. This work is vital to transform this system, the TTC, and this city. I look forward to the next five years.”
The award will be presented by the APTA officially in the fall.
The Transit Alliance would like to thank the TTC for its hard work over the last five years and congratulate them on being named Outstanding Public Transportation System for 2017. The staff and management of the TTC have been working tirelessly on very low subsidies to try and modernize and update this public transportation system and it is wonderful to finally see them recognized for their hard work.