Must take charge of complex, crucial public company
TTC riders, a new set of transit commissioners is responsible for the massive, troubled agency.
Tomorrow afternoon at Toronto City Hall, you’ll have your first chance to see the new board in action. Can’t make it because you’ll be working? Here’s hoping these nine city councillors will make themselves available to customers across the city.
If the TTC is to again become a world-renowned transportation service, the nine elected officials who oversee the system must be its prime supporters. They don’t have the power to ensure the provincial and federal governments fund the system appropriately, and yet the board does have the mandate to ensure that day-to-day service is as good as it can possibly be.
Adam Giambrone will replace Howard Moscoe as chair, and Joe Mihevc is vice-chair. The other members are Sandra Bussin, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Suzan Hall, Peter Milczyn, Anthony Perruzza, Bill Saundercook, and Michael Thompson. These councillors are responsible to everyone who has a stake in a well-run, efficient TTC.
It’s up to the mayor and Toronto council whether the composition of the board eventually includes non-elected business and transportation experts. For now, the nine must take charge of a complex and crucial public company — and they need to know what they’re dealing with. Like every member of every government body overseeing transit in the GTA, they have to ride the routes.
TTC commissioners — and not just the new ones — must get into buses, trains and streetcars on a regular basis. Travelling from home to city hall is a start. At a minimum, we need our elected officials to spend one full day a month getting to all their meetings and appointments by transit. It may be tough — especially for suburban representatives — but it will be deeply instructive. There is no way to truly know what’s happening if you aren’t waiting at a bus stop in February, or navigating a subway transfer station in rush hour.
However, before they start coming up with new ideas to improve the TTC, commissioners need to talk extensively with transit staff and pledge to join them for public meetings throughout the city.
How else can commissioners make informed and inspired changes? For one, spend at least a half-hour monthly riding long bus routes during peak periods. Sit up front with the driver to see what they see. Park yourself in the back row of a bus or streetcar to learn just what kind of ride patrons experience every day.
Just showing up for TTC meetings will not suffice.