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Hello From New TTC Chief Andy Byford

TTC forgoes a long search, concluding that the best person for the job is already here.

Last night, news broke that the TTC had decided to skip a prolonged search for a new chief general manager, and instead cut to the chase and appoint the guy they had already lined up for the job: Andy Byford. Byford joined the TTC late last year as chief operating officer; he was also pegged by the now-ousted former manager, Gary Webster, as his successor. Byford was given the post on an interim basis after the TTC board decided to fire Webster without cause last month; today’s formal announcement makes that promotion permanent.

The full text of the welcome note he sent to TTC staff:

Dear Colleagues,

I am honoured to share with you the news that I have been offered, and accepted, the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Transit Commission, subject to ratification at the next Commission meeting on March 30.

The CEO heads up the TTC on behalf of the Chair and Commissioners in a role that was previously titled Chief General Manager. I specifically asked for the title change to reflect my desire to work with you to completely modernize the look and feel of our great company.

The TTC has served the people of Toronto since 1921 and has developed a reputation for innovation, safety and service. We continue to operate the third largest transit network in North America, day in, day out to an ever increasing number of customers and in an increasingly tough operating environment. The time has come to overhaul our procedures and practices to meet these new challenges.

I want to build on the wonderful legacy and successes of your work to date to now take the TTC to the next level. Customers, taxpayers and the public rightly expect the TTC to deliver higher standards of service, safety, customer satisfaction and value for money and we need to look at every aspect of our operation to ensure that we are meeting those expectations. To that end, I have worked with the senior management team in recent months to ensure that we have mechanisms that hold us accountable for our performance, that we have clear goals to achieve, and that we aim for continuous improvement in the service that we provide.

Under my leadership, you can expect the executive team to be highly visible, supportive and fair in the way that we manage. You can expect me to provide clear direction and to speak up for the company and its employees. In return, I need every TTC employee to do their job to the very best of their ability every day, never forgetting that it is the customer and taxpayer that pay our wages. I want us to recognize good performance, but also to challenge mediocrity at all levels.

In my time here so far, I have met a lot of you and visited a great many locations. I have been hugely impressed by the commitment and professionalism of TTC staff across the organization. There are lots of positive developments on the horizon including new vehicles, fare systems and services. But if we are to transform our image and our customers’ experience, it is just as important that we focus on what we do and how we do it so our current work on improving customer service can continue.

In assuming the role of CEO, I will continue to focus on operational performance and safety and on delivery of immediate customer service improvements. The debate about transit expansion and policy will continue and I will contribute to those discussions. My former job of Chief Operating Officer will be covered on an interim basis by Dave Dixon and I will provide details of further organizational changes in due course.

In closing, I always wanted to work for the TTC, so I am very excited to be given this opportunity to serve the people of Toronto in such a critical role.

Best wishes,

Andy Byford
Chief Executive Officer
Toronto Transit Commission


  • Amie

    To challenge mediocrity at all levels, a leader of a municipal service must also look outside of its organization to ensure that it is not insulating itself from the hyperbole of municipal politics.

  • Jonathan

    Please please please, can we finally get some relief and actual change, real progress and take some real pride in our transit in this city for the first time in 40 years? Please, can we have the foresight of the planners of the 40′s & 50′s, expanding our system when the “density isn’t present to support subways” to remove the biases and implement real, effective fare systems to expedite transactions. I love this city, but my god do we need this now.

    • Anonymous

      The density along Yonge in the 40s and 50s was way higher than it is along Sheppard now.

      • Jonthan

        As someone who daily rode the Sheppard subway line, something most commentators won’t attest, those trains were packed everyday during the commute rush. That’s the wrong mentality. “It’s not today, it definitely won’t be tomorrow, it likely won’t be next week” It’s wrong and fosters stagnation. It’s a long term “investment” that’s worth the initial cost. After riding the King, Queen & College streetcar routes at any time of the day, we can be thankful there aren’t any on University, Yonge, Bloor, etc.

        • Anonymous

          No! You’re not allowed to use the Sheppard subway *and* have ideas about transit. What’s wrong with you.

          • Jm Horvatin

            I guess utilizing every aspect of a system for decades makes me a poor pundit on a political topic. ;) /s

          • Buck Bokai

            You’re right, it does. Your subjective opinion is not relevant to factual, statistical evidence.

          • Jonathan

            I encourage you to produce purely objective statistical evidence garnered from our political parties or media on the topic. I will reverse my opinion if it’s conflicting. (/s = “endsarcasm”)

        • Buck Bokai

          The commute rush hardly makes for the total lack of riders the entire rest of the time.

          “After riding the King, Queen & College streetcar routes at any time of the day, we can be thankful there aren’t any on University, Yonge, Bloor, etc.”

          You’re right, there should be a subway along Queen, where it’s actually necessary. I guess your point was supposed to be about streetcars, which is irrelevant.

          • Jonathan1

            I usually argue sheppard as devils advocate anyways. It was a waste of time and money. My initial point which I failed properly iterate was that the system in general needs to be effectively expanded. The new trains are a start, but my first wish would be the Queen subway line. I think we’re arguing for the same end from different angles. the argument gets convoluted, as we see with all the boards, committees and governments. I’m just tired of no progress. :(

        • Guest

          What a load of crap. Those “packed” trains during rush hour almost 50% empty and the trains are already shortened from the normal 6 cars. Do the math and you will find that is true.

          • Guest

            Capacity is 1000 per train of SIX cars. One train every FIVE minutes. 4500 passengers per hour max during AM peak hour. I would guess between 7:30-8:30am. So that means even your “full” trains are full of mostly air. At off peak, over 90% of the capacity of the line is NOT USED even on WEEKDAYS. RESPECT THAT, TAXPAYERS!

        • OgtheDim

          I take that train in rush hour.

          Yonge is packed.

          Sheppard has 3 people sitting for every one standing.

          No comparison.

          We need a a DRL, not a train between two malls.

      • Jonathan

        Besides, I’m not even lobbying for more Sheppard / Eglinton / Lawrence subways, when our current system servicing the downtown is overloaded as is. Adding new arteries to these overloaded backbones will only lead to slower service and more overcrowding on our existing lines. We need expansion everywhere, not just “the suburbs”.

  • Anon

    My Byford, at the very least. Take the TTC to work everyday.

  • qviri

    So I take it they’ve gotten his visa in order on Friday?

    • Anonymous

      Sometime since Webster was sacked, yes.

  • asdf

    Not too difficult to look good when in his tenure the TTC will implement new subways, new streetcars, new light rail cars, and a new fare system… all handed to him well underway by the former General Manager.

    • Anonymous

      Are you serious? What exactly did Webster do to “implement new subways, new streetcars, new light rail cars, and a new fare system”?

      I think the way he got fired was shitty, but looking at the overall state of the TTC under his tenure, I’m not sorry he’s gone.

      • OgtheDim

        Spadina expansion, new LRV’s arriving, LRT almost approved, Presto in place…………..