Complaining about the daily commute is practically a sport in the Toronto region.

But transit riders may have less to complain about by the time 2009 ends, as a more customer-based culture becomes increasingly entrenched across the GTA.

Last week, the TTC launched e-mail alerts, the latest electronic initiative in its customer service arsenal.

While the information bulletins could mean a better trip for the 85 per cent of GTA transit users who ride on the TTC, the regional transit authorities expect to deliver some good news of their own in the months ahead.

Here are some changes coming to the TTC:

• Following on the heels of two route upgrades last year, the TTC has boosted service on 11 more bus and streetcar routes.

• Next-vehicle arrival signs, launched last year, will continue to roll out across the city.

• By year end, Victoria Park, Pape and Dufferin stations will be undergoing renovation as part of an ongoing program.

• Although the first test vehicles aren’t expected until at least 2010, expect to hear a lot this year about the TTC’s new streetcars. The record-busting contract — worth between $1.25 billion and $3 billion — for 204 streetcars is expected to be awarded in April.

• Riders can expect to see plastic shields around TTC drivers this year.

• And parking fees will apply to Metropass users starting in April.

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