Toronto's transit service has released its first customer charter, what its CEO calls "a tangible series of promises" around reliability, communication and cleanliness.
Among the pledges are that someone will answer customer phone calls within 90 seconds and that punctuality statistics for every route will be released four times a year.
"It's further evidence of the fact that we … expect to be held accountable, we have no problem with being held accountable and we intend to deliver on our promises," TTC chief executive Andy Byford told reporters during an event Thursday at Yonge-Bloor subway station.
TTC Chair Karen Stintz acknowledged that the service hasn't always met customer expectations and that the charter is a start toward fixing that. Along with the charter's promises of the service standard riders can expect are a series of changes coming this year, including a pilot project to bring Wi-Fi to St. George and Yonge-Bloor stations.
The charter was unveiled against the backdrop of a random attack in the subway – a rare event – and periodic complaints by riders who accused staff of being rude or incompetent.
Other than saying that staff are expected to be helpful, there is little in the charter that deals with the way the public interacts with employees. Mr. Byford said that that issue is part of a bigger cultural shift at the TTC that he's tackling as part of a five-year modernization plan. But on Thursday he reiterated his belief that most staff are good and that those who aren't should be on notice.
"If you don't do the right thing, if you choose not to follow the rules or you put our reputation at risk, then you will face the consequences of your actions," he said. "I'm very clear on that."