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How to make every subway ride feel like an Air Canada flight

A wonderful piece of unintentional comedy came yesterday thanks to likely Toronto Mayoral candidate and current TTC chair Adam Giambrone.

Giambrone has a tiny little problem as he prepares his mayoral bid: the customer service on the TTC that he's been responsible for isn't great. That's not my view, from Giambrone's own mouth:

"Managing the face-to-face interactions with customers ... is ... challenging (for the TTC)."

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So Giambrone has decided to appoint a "blue-ribbon panel of private-sector experts to help improve customer service."

In some ways, this shows a refreshing break from current Toronto Mayor David Miller, who feels that only locally elected politicians could possibly understand how to run a transit system. In his words it's "a unique skill set that nobody from the private sector could have."

Admitting you have a problem is a necessary step to fixing it so once again, Giambrone has exceeded my expectations of him. Sort of.

Which private sector experts is Giambrone reaching out to for help with customer service? Even if he doesn't have any names yet, what sectors might he look to that are famous in this country for going above and beyond to keep their clients happy? Giambrone was coy but he did give a tiny hint:

"Although he wouldn't say who would be on the panel, TTC chair Adam Giambrone suggested at least one airline industry representative might be among those appointed in the coming weeks." (emphasis added)

Now if Giambrone appoints somebody from Porter Airlines (the only airline in Canada that can claim to have extraordinary customer service) to his blue-ribbon panel then I will eat a giant bowl of crow. In fact, I might even decide to support the guy for mayor on the spot.

I can almost guarantee you it won't happen.

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On the other hand, if Giambrone decides to appoint somebody from Air Canada to give lessons to the TTC on how to better treat their customers better, that would say everything you need to know about where his campaign - and this city if he wins - is going.

I couldn't make up something so poorly considered even if I tried.

(Photo: Ryan Carter/The Globe and Mail)

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