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Audit TTC for grime, new chairman asks staff


Toronto’s transit system is filthy, the new chairman of the Toronto Transit Commission said yesterday, and needs a “cleanliness audit.”

Adam Giambrone, who presided over his first full meeting of the nine-member commission yesterday, said the system is dirtier than it was two years ago, despite renewed efforts to clean it up.

He asked the transit agency’s staff to come up with a new plan, and to do a cleanliness audit to identify the dirtiest vehicles and stations.

“I’m not just worried about some of the extra magazines on our trains,” Mr. Giambrone said after the meeting. “I’m worried that if you stand in our stations, you look at our stations, they’re grimy.”

He acknowledged that changes to cleaners’ schedules — putting more of them on night shifts — was one of the issues that sparked May’s wildcat strike. And he said the changes didn’t appear to make the system cleaner.

Cleanliness wasn’t the only issue on the new chairman’s mind. He also suggested revamping the TTC website, which he said should give riders more information and allow them to buy a monthly pass online.

“If you take a look at the TTC website, it looks like you took a bunch of topics and chucked them at the wall and then put them on the website,” Mr. Giambrone said.

He said the changes he has in mind would likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Also yesterday, the TTC discussed two projects to overhaul subway stations. Victoria Park station, which Mr. Giambrone said is crumbling, is marked for a makeover that will cost at least $26-million. The commission also approved plans to split the $68-million costs to redevelop the Islington and Kipling stations with GO Transit, Mississauga Transit and Queen’s Park.

Commissioner Michael Thompson said he was concerned about an increase over the past year in the number of drivers injured and taking time off. Chief general manager Gary Webster said most of the increase was due to a rise in assaults on drivers, and that the TTC is installing cameras and optional barriers to protect staff.