Staff Report #4
July 29, 2020
To All Commissioners
Re: 2020 Commission Work Program Update
The report be NOTED and FILED.
The 2020 Provisional Work Program was tabled for Commission consideration at the January 29, 2020 meeting. The Work Program format categorizes initiatives into each of the five strategic outcomes established in the Commission’s 2019-2022 Business Plan as set out below.
- An Integrated, Affordable and Valued Mobility Choice
- An Engaged, Diverse and Respectful Workplace
- Demonstrated Fiscal Accountability
- Being Open, Understood and Transparent
- Effective Utilization of Infrastructure
The reporting component relating to the annual Work Program calls for quarterly updates with respect to progress against the initiatives set to be completed that quarter. Generally, these updates are provided by area, noting responsibility for each initiative is assigned at the Director level; however, given the order of magnitude of impacts on the Work Program overall relating to the pandemic declaration, the quarterly update for June 2020 will be covered in this single report.
The 2020 Work Program set out in Enclosure I highlights all of the projects that have been impacted in some manner and also provides a status of all initiatives with a completion date scheduled prior to June 30, 2020. The affected programs have been identified in the initiative number column with colours, red indicating the program has been cancelled/deferred to 2021, orange indicating the program has been delayed, and green indicating a program that has been added due to the pandemic. The remainder of this report provides brief commentary on each of the initiatives that have been impacted.
New Initiatives added to 2020 Work Program
Implementation of COVID Service Levels. Given reduced ridership and resource availability during the pandemic period, administration has planned for and implemented reduced service level scenarios for the current operating period as well as the fall. Planning is underway for the service levels that will be put into place beginning in September. Given the number of uncertainties with respect to ridership demand, coupled with the time required to implement an adjusted service level, administration prepared three service level scenarios for September (full service, 10% reduction and 30% reduction), all based on the September 2019 service levels noting the planned 2020 service improvements have been deferred for consideration in 2021. Administration is currently undertaking the required preparation for all three of these scenarios in order to ensure that any of them can be implemented in September, noting a final decision with respect to the level of service will be largely dependent upon resource availability. It is anticipated this decision will be made mid-August, and communications will follow shortly thereafter to provide the public with advance notice in an effort to allow them time to prepare.
Service levels on the Specialized service will also be subject to adjustment going forward; however, these adjustments will be closely tied to any increases in demand for the service as the economy begins to reopen and riders begin to travel more frequently.
2021 Operating and Capital Budget Re-costing. Given the wide-ranging operating budget impacts resulting from the pandemic declaration and resulting actions taken, the 2021 operating budget will need to be completely re-costed and presented to the Commission at the August meeting. Given links between the operating and capital budgets, the capital budget for 2021 will also be subject to a review and re-costing. The re-costed operating budget for 2021 will be presented to the Commission as the revised “base” budget, which will represent status quo service levels based on the 2019 approved service levels, as well as the costs associated with implementing the deferred 2020 service growth plans for both conventional and specialized services.
Operator Barrier Implementation. At the April 17, 2020 meeting, the Commission approved proceeding with the procurement and installation of Operator barriers on the LTC fleet. Installation began the week of July 13, 2020 and will continue through to the fall as barriers arrive. Staff Report #1 – COVID-19 Pandemic Response, dated July 29, 2020 provides a detailed summary of the status of the Operator Barrier implementation.
Provincial and Federal Advocacy. As indicated in Staff Report #2 – Advocacy Update, dated July 29, 2020, advocacy efforts directed at both of the senior levels of government have been ongoing and are anticipated to continue in earnest throughout the remainder of 2020. The General Manager, as the Chair of the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA) and a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Urban Transit Association will be directly involved with these advocacy efforts.
Initiatives Delayed or on Hold Pending Further Review
All of the initiatives listed in this section have been delayed or are on hold given COVID-19 related delays. As resource availability returns to normal levels, initiatives will be initiated in priority order.
1.6 Inter-Community Transit Service Integration. Transit services in surrounding jurisdictions were set to begin operating in April of 2020; however, given the pandemic declaration, were put on hold. Administration has worked in cooperation with these jurisdictions to identify stop locations that would provide for the greatest opportunity for transfers to connect with LTC routes. While these service launches have been delayed, it is anticipated they will begin to be rolled out in late summer/early fall.
3.3a Addition of Third Party Vendors for Smart Card Revaluing. Progress on this initiative has been delayed given the current status of potential vendors in London. The timing of when this initiative can restart will be subject to the nature and extent that things return to normal in the retail sector.
3.3b Assessment of Wayside Revaluing Options for Smart Card. Access to the third party vendor for this initiative was limited due to the pandemic declaration. Discussions with the vendor have been re-initiated very recently; however, no projected timelines are available at this time.
3.5 Monitoring and Reporting on On-time Performance. System performance continued to be monitored throughout the pandemic period; however, given reduced congestion and service levels, focus on the reporting side was directed at monitoring the load counts by route in an effort to assign tripper buses where they would be most effective in addressing crowding conditions where they existed.
4.6 Implement Smart Card on Specialized Transit. Access to the third party vendor for this initiative was limited due to the pandemic declaration. Discussions with the vendor have been re-initiated very recently; however, no projected timelines are available at this time.
4.7 Regular Consultation with Accessible Public Transit Service Advisory Committee. All advisory committee meetings have been placed on hold until further notice. In the event that consultation with the Committee is required, it will be arranged via email or a video conference call.
6.13e Additional Training for Management. Given difficulty sourcing possible training options during this time, as well as anticipated resource limitations over the upcoming months, this initiative has been temporarily placed on hold.
8.0 2019-2022 Business Plan. The 2019-2022 Business Plan was approved in principle noting that the approval of the multi-year operating and capital budgets would need to be completed prior to finalizing financial and performance targets. In addition, the associated Financial Strategy, Asset Management Strategy and Fare Policy were scheduled to be updated during the 2020 calendar year. In light of the uncertainty with respect to all areas of operations, these updates have been placed on hold. Consideration is being given to a complete review of the 2019-2022 Business Plan subsequent to the finalization of the rec-costed 2021 operating and capital budgets, noting the new focus of the plan is likely to be on moving forward post-COVID-19.
9.4 Commission Annual Drop In Session. The annual drop in session attended by members of the Commission is required under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and in the past has been timed to coincide with the public input sessions for the annual service planning process. Given limitations with respect to public gatherings, alternative methods of gathering this feedback are being considered and will be subject of a future report to the Commission.
9.5 Enhanced Marketing of LTC. This program was intended to market the value LTC provides to the community at large as well as the existing ridership base. Given the need for constant and evolving communications throughout the pandemic period, resources have been redirected at this initiative. Plans are underway to develop and implement a marketing program in an effort to get riders back on transit as things continue to return to normal.
10.1a Assess Appropriate Timing of Customer Survey. Given limited resource availability, work on this review has been placed on hold, noting the plan is currently to restart the review later in 2020 subject to resource availability.
10.3 Assess Opportunities for Additional Public Engagement Options. This initiative was intended to identify and assess options to gather feedback from the public rather than the historic reliance of drop-in sessions. While the assessment has been delayed, given the changing landscape resulting from COVID-19, it will be necessary to undertake this review and implement alternatives going forward.
11.1 2020 Bus Replacement Order. Shutdowns at the bus manufacturing facility resulted in delays in the manufacturing of the 2020 bus replacement order. It is currently anticipated that the 2020 bus replacement order will begin to arrive in October.
11.6 Replacement & Addition of Wayside Signage. London Transit is in receipt of all of the signs; however, given the work associated with installing them was not considered essential, work on installation has been put on hold. In addition, permits are required from the City of London for the installation of the 2-line signs in bus shelters, which have not yet been approved. Work on this initiative will commence once permits have been finalized and work can proceed.
11.7 Shelter Expansion Program. This program is funded through the ICIP Federal Funding program and was intended to see the addition of 60 shelters over a two year period (30 in 2020 and 30 in 2021). Given the shelters had not yet been ordered prior to the shutdown of the manufacturing facility, receipt of product is not possible for 2020. Administration will undertake an assessment to determine whether the entire project can be completed in 2021 or whether a one-year extension to the program will be required.
11.8 Bus Stop Lighting Program. This program is funded through the ICIP Federal Funding program and was intended to see the addition of 150 solar powered lights installed at bus stops over a two year period (75 in 2020 and 75 in 2021). Given the lights had not yet been ordered prior to the shutdown of the manufacturing facility, it is unknown whether the receipt of product is possible for 2020. In addition, approvals from the City of London will be required for the selected locations for these installations. In the event that product can be shipped, this work will take place later in 2020.
11.9b Assessment of Electric Bus Options for LTC. The contract for this work has been finalized with CUTRIC, and the project kick-off meeting has taken place; however, CUTRIC staff members are now working from home, making the project work more difficult to undertake. The project was originally scheduled to have a final report issued by the end of July, this timeline has now been bumped to October.
11.10 Process Review Implementation of Kilometre Tracking. Given limited resource availability, work on this review has been placed on hold, noting the plan is currently to restart the review later in 2020 subject to resource availability.
11.11 Process Review – Options for Cash Fares. Given limited resource availability as well as access to reliable market information, work on this review has been placed on hold, noting the plan is currently to restart the review later in 2020 subject to resource availability.
Initiatives Deferred until 2021 Work Program
1.1b Implementation of 2020 Conventional Service Plan. The 2020 Conventional Service Plan was approved by the Commission at the January 2020 meeting, subject to final budget approval. As set out in Staff Report #4, dated April 29, 2020, the 2020 Service Plan has been deferred for consideration in 2021.
1.1c and 1.1d Assessment and Implementation of ASD for Industrial Areas. The planned introduction of an alternative service delivery model for industrial areas was also included as part of the assessment growth business case that supports conventional service growth. Given uncertainty with respect to funding availability as well as difficulties engaging with consultants during this time and internal resource issues, these initiatives will be deferred to the 2021 Work Program.
1.2 2020 Stop and Shelter Program. The shelter manufacturer that provides shelters relating to this program was shut down during the pandemic, and as a result, will not be in a position to deliver any new product to LTC for installation in 2020. This program will be deferred to the 2021 Work Program.
1.4b Implementation of the 2020 Specialized Service Plan. As set out in Staff Report #4, dated April 29, 2020, the 2020 Service Plan has been deferred for consideration in 2021.
1.5 Assessment of Service Integration Options. Given COVID-19 related impacts on staffing resources, the assessment of options relating to the integration of the conventional and specialized services will be delayed.
2.2 Assessment of Transit in Industrial Areas. This initiative was intended to assess the options for alternative service delivery options in all industrial areas of the City. Given internal resource limitations, coupled with the deferral of the 2020 Service Plan improvements, this initiative has been deferred to the 2021 Work Program.
2.4 Assess & Implement Ridership Growth Strategy Initiatives. Given the current and potential long term impacts on ridership resulting from the current situation, focus will initially need to be directed at planning the path back for conventional transit operations in an effort to regain ridership prior to the pandemic. This may include some of the strategies set out in the Ridership Growth Strategy.
3.4 Voice of the Customer Survey Results Assessment. The Voice of the Customer survey process for 2020 has been deferred to the 2021 Work Program in light of the effects the pandemic has had on service and ridership levels.
11.1 2020 Bus Expansion Order. Given uncertainty with respect to funding for the 2020 Service Plan, the expansion buses that were included as part of the ICIP Federal Funding have not been ordered. Should the 2020 Service Plan be implemented in 2021, the bus order will be included on that Work Program.
Mike Gregor, Director of Finance
Shawn Wilson, Director of Operations
Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources
Craig Morneau, Director of Fleet & Facilities
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager