Whether you’ve seen him on the subway with other fellow passengers, or heard about his five-year corporate plan to modernize the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) operations, it’s evident that Chief Executive Officer, Andy Byford, is bringing significant change to the TTC. However, there is much more about Mr. Byford than meets the eye. In a mere three years, he has managed to overhaul his senior leadership team and has brought some crucial change to the TTC.Mr. Byford has replaced his Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with Gary Shortt, brought in Mike Palmer as the Deputy CEO for Subway Operations, Chris Upfold as the Deputy CEO, Rick Leary as Chief Service Delivery Officer and Susan Reed Tanaka as the acting Chief of Engineering, Construction and Expansion.
Mr. Byford has not neglected the importance of bringing women into leadership roles. While there are three out women of the 11 member, including Vice-Chair, Maureen Adamson, Councillor Shelly Carroll, and Anju Virmani. The TTC executive team has Chief of Staff, Joan Taylor, Chief People Officer, Gemma Piemontese, and Chief Capital Officer, Susan Reed Tanaka.
Service has also improved significantly since Andy Byford became CEO in 2011. Performance measures show that punctuality and device availability are at an impressive 90+%. Steps were taken to refurbish rundown subway washrooms, step up subway-car cleaning and improve announcements about service disruptions.
Andy Byford’s other efforts to complete expansion projects, improve customer service, and modernize the outdated system cannot be overlooked. In 2013, Byford introduced six, new Group Station Managers (GSMs) as part of his continuing commitment to modernize and transform the TTC. And just last year, debit and credit machines were introduced to 69 stations, allowing passengers to buy tickets and passes the more convenient way.
Byford’s dedication and expertise has shaped the TTC into a much more efficient transit system. He is slowly changing the culture at the TTC, building confidence in his team, and tackling the thousands of changes needed to create better process at every level.
Mr. Byford is slowly turning the biggest transit system in Canada around. The cultural transformation he promised is happening, service has improved significantly, and despite the lack of transit infrastructure and funding (4 million from this years budget) Byford has managed to keep Toronto moving with equipment that is long overdue for replacement.
His mission is clear; to have a transit system that makes Toronto proud and despite the lack of investment, the barrage of political attacks that come with his position, and the terrible mess he inherited, Byford just may pull this off. We can only hope the politicians will leave him alone long enough to bring about the transformation the TTC so desperately needs.