NEWS

New TTC citizen members prioritize expansion, reliability

11/01/2012 01:38 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
Finding ways to fund transit expansion, improving customer service, and ensuring efficient and reliable day-to-day service are among the priorities of two of the newly appointed TTC commissioners.

City Council on Wednesday approved the addition of four citizens — Maureen Adamson, Nick Di Donato, Alan Heisey, and Anju Kumar Virmani — to the governing panel of the TTC. Currently, the commission only consists of seven city councillors.

Adamson and Heisey both said they were looking forward to tackling the many challenges that the TTC is dealing with.

"In terms of the expansion that's needed, there's all of the financial pressures that come with that and where are those dollars going to come from?" said Adamson, who has held senior positions with the Ontario Ministry of Health and is currently the president and CEO of Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

"I think it comes down to customer service. And it needs to be very customer-focused and as a citizen member of the panel, that's certainly an area that I'll be interested in focusing on."

Heisey, a Toronto lawyer and a former chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, also said he wants to improve the customer experience.

"There's two pieces — one is the ongoing operations, and that has to be our focus, because the plans for future transit ideas have been ongoing and discussed for 30 years and we haven't had an awful lot happen," he said.

"I'm very concerned about reliability … one of the complaints I hear from my friends is being stuck in a subway and it not moving for some period of time."

He also wants to work to make the TTC "more seamless with other transit systems."

Citizen appointees can "make a bit of a difference," said Heisey.

"Because obviously we have accountability to city council. But we don't have the kind of immediate accountability to constituents that some do. And I think it gives us some freedom to give advice and help in ways that others may not be able to."

Citizen board members will normally serve four-year terms which will roughly coincide with the term of city council.

The members appointed on Wednesday — Adamson and Heisey, along with Di Donato, the CEO of the Liberty Entertainment Group with past experience with Invest Toronto and Virmani, the chief information officer at Cargojet — will serve for approximately two years, until 2014.

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