With Byford out and a new leader incoming — Metro asks what will bring real change to the TTC?
According to a new poll, almost half of transit riders doubt the departure of TTC chief Andy Byford — or the arrival of his new replacement — will make any difference.
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Andy Byford’s decision to leave the TTC to head up the New York City Transit Authority has caused a stir — but a new survey by Forum Research shows nearly half of riders say change at the top won’t impact TTC performance.
In a random sample of 843 Torontonians, 53 per cent called the CEO “effective” and 26 per cent judged him to be “ineffective," but 46 per cent said his leaving won’t have a positive or negative impact. Twenty-one per cent said the change will be a positive thing, with 12 per cent saying the change will be negative.
“It seems that while most think Byford did a good job as CEO, they may feel that the position’s ability to make a difference on transit in the city is limited,” said Dr. Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research.
At Dundas Station, Metro asked riders what would actually improve their commutes.
“Apparently he got a cool job, left stuff half-done and was like, ‘Bye!’” Musetti said of Byford’s new post.
Musetti rides the subway between High Park Station and Dundas — for longer than she'd like.
“There are lots of long waits in between stops, so whenever I’m going to work I have to leave 45 minutes early, even though it’s only a 20-minute TTC ride,” she said.
But there's another big problem with an easier fix: communication.
“They just kind of leave you there to figure out what’s going on. No one really tells you much," Musetti said. "Let people know what’s going on.”
McQuaid said she normally doesn’t have too many issues with the TTC but echoed concerns about communication.
“Maybe just have a way of letting us know when there are schedule changes,” she said.
“Something that’s more widely available for everybody to see. I understand that changes need to take place, and there’s nothing to prevent that, but just having people (made) more aware, and making it easier for people to receive updates, would be good.”
“I presume if he’s been sucked over to New York, it’s because he was doing a good job here," Jardim said of the outgoing CEO.
However, Jardim has historically been wary of using the TTC.
“I feel like whenever I really have to depend on the TTC, a train ride, a bus ride, the delays just seem crazy,” he said. “So I ultimately don’t depend on the TTC ... if I really need to be somewhere on time.”
He did say things have improved in recent years.
“The two things that used to piss me off most were not being able to rely on when the streetcar would come — that’s been solved by the app — and having no change, and therefore not being able to get on the streetcar. And that’s been solved by the Presto Card. So that’s been pretty good.”
Deguia welcomed the new perspective Byford's move might bring.
“I think change is always welcome, especially when people have fresh ideas,” he said. “New ways of thinking will bring new ways of improving service, improving expansion ideas and maybe make it even better than it is currently.”
Deguia agrees that communication is lacking.
“Their intermittent service and repair schedules — maybe they can do a bit more to inform (people) about the delays,” he said. “Sometimes on the train you can’t really hear the announcements clearly.”
Omar said her TTC experience has actually been pretty good so far, having used it for about a year.
“I take it once a week,” she said. “I’m a subway user on the Bloor Line, and I normally don’t experience delays. I rely on it to get to meetings, and the subway has never been a problem for me.
“I haven’t been using it much in the winter time, though, so maybe that’ll change,” Omar said with a laugh.
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