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Customer service at TTC to be a priority

by Vanessa Lu

With “customer service” as Mayor Rob Ford’s mantra, just how the Toronto Transit Commission deals with its often-frustrated passengers is sure to be a focus.

Councillor Maria Augimeri eagerly tweeted on Thursday afternoon that “I’ve been asked to be chair of the TTC customer service panel.”

Augimeri may have jumped the gun a bit, but in all likelihood she will chair a subcommittee of the commission that will be focused solely on customer service.

TTC chair Karen Stintz said she asked Augimeri, who had sought to be vice-chair but lost to Councillor Peter Milczyn, if she might be interested in this role. The commission still needs to vote on establishing such a committee and determine its membership.

The committee was one of 78 recommendations made in August by an outside panel of experts on how to overhaul the system and improve customer service.

The panel was created after the TTC suffered a series of public relations missteps this year including poor handling of the fare increase that led to widespread token hoarding, images of fare collectors sleeping on the job and serious disruptions to subway service.

Other recommendations include info kiosks and screens in stations, better employee training and an overhaul of the customer complaints process.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to make the recommendations come alive,” Stintz said.

The panel also called on the transit system to hire a chief customer service officer to oversee changes. An executive search firm has been hired to find such a candidate, who could be in place in late January or mid-February.