NEWS

New TTC CEO promises accountability

03/14/2012 09:19 EDT | Updated 05/14/2012 05:12 EDT

The new head of the Toronto Transit Commission says he will hold himself accountable for the system's performance and has promised a "top to bottom transformation of how we do things."

Andy Byford, who was confirmed as CEO on Tuesday, acknowledged in an interview with CBC News on Wednesday morning that the TTC "needs modernization top to bottom."

"If we are to truly transform the customers' experience and our stakeholder reputation — and the people's perceptions of the TTC — it's got to be a top to bottom transformation of how we do things, as well as holding ourselves accountable and not just and not just new, sexy trains and subway lines," he said.

Byford replaces Gary Webster who was fired last month by the TTC board after opposing Mayor Rob Ford's public transit expansion plans.

The new man at the top says he's not concerned about the political aspect of the job. He says in his former jobs with the London Underground and the Sydney transit system he dealt with "robust" politics and politicians.

"The way I stay out of it is to stick to the facts," he said. "I'm going to stick to objective advice — straight down the line — it doesn't matter whether the politicians are left or right, the advice will be the same."

When asked about modernizing the TTC, Byford called the current system of transfers and tokens "quaint." A "sort of a hark back to former times."

Byford said his greatest challenge will be to change the culture at the TTC.

"There is an embedded culture. I think that will be a challenge because people have got used to working a certain way, I think the main challenge, which I've already embarked upon, is embedding a real sense of accountability," he said.

"I will be judged on my results."

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