An Open Letter to the TTC
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An Open Letter to the TTC

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When Torontoist joined forces with blogTO, Reading Toronto, and Spacing and asked our readers for feedback on the TTC’s website at the beginning of this month, we had absolutely no idea that we would get such an enormous response. We’d like to thank you all again for participating, and we’ve taken each and every one of the ideas that we received to heart. Now, it’s time to move forward. The Editors and Publishers of all four participating sites have decided to submit to submit the following letter with our suggestions to Chairman Adam Giambrone:

Attn: Mr. Adam Giambrone
Chairman, Toronto Transit Commission

Dear Mr. Giambrone,
The city’s four major Blog sites dealing with city issues – Blogto.com, Readingtoronto.com, Spacing.ca, and Torontoist.com – asked for their readers’ ideas on how to improve the TTC’s rider information website.
Thousands read about our call for suggestions. Hundreds responded. The city’s major media outlets also covered our challenge.
Attached to the formal version of this letter are two documents. One includes the complete list of suggestions made by our readers. The other integrates those suggestions in an easy to use spreadsheet (RT-TTCmatrix220107.xls). That document lists the recommendations by reader popularity and refers to the blog and comment number where reader suggestions can be found.
For example, the most popular suggestion for the site is to improve the User Interface & Information Architecture. Forty-five readers made that suggestion. The second most popular recommendation is to add a “Point-to-Point” trip planner. Twenty-seven readers asked for that. In addition, many readers offered examples of transit websites they thought worked. Those are also listed in their own category.
The blog Editors have three key recommendations:
1. Our readers – who are frequent users of the TTC – believe that their ideas, if implemented, can significantly improve the TTC website.
2. The budget for the website redesign should reflect its importance in terms of the numbers of people who refer to it (millions every month) and the potential for increasing TTC ridership. The site should be considered an essential operating budget line item rather than a marketing “frill.” As many transit systems know, a good website adds to the bottom line.
3. While we applaud the TTC for issuing a RFP for a new site, the user input our challenge generated and the media firestorm that followed it suggest the RFP be reissued to reflect the now better understood needs of TTC users.
Yours truly,
Robert Ouellette, Readingtoronto.com
Tim Shore, BlogTO.com
Matt Blackett, Spacing.ca
David Topping, Torontoist.com
Marc Lostracco, Torontoist.com

We’d really like to thank the mainstream media for helping to spread the word (CBC Radio, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Metro, and the National Post all covered the story and directed readers to our site), Giambrone for lending us his ears, Robert Ouellette of Reading Toronto for organizing the whole thing, and, of course, our readers for all the terrific suggestions.
This is only the beginning of this process, and we will keep our readers updated as it moves forward.

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