Staff Report #7
October 28, 2020
To All Commissioners
Re: 2020 Work Program – Third Quarter 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 September 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 September 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.
Initiatives On Schedule per 2020 Work Program
The initiatives set out below include those that were scheduled to be completed by the end of the third quarter, and have remained on track.
5.2 2020 Health and Safety Work Program. Items included on the Health and Safety Work Program which have been completed include the following.
Relief Supervisory Health and Safety Training – Fleet and Facilities
A working group was formed to assess the Relief Supervisor Health & Safety Training Program to determine training effectiveness, legislative compliance, how often it should be delivered and does it meet and or exceed best practice.
Through the assessment, it was found that the training program required a full re-write to ensure legislative compliance, improve the learning experience, and to meet best practices. Following the entire development and re-write of the new Relief Supervisory Health & Safety Training Program, it has been rolled out to all Relief Supervisors and respective Managers in Fleet and Facilities. Further, those participants will be required to undergo refresher training a minimum of once every two years.
Cognitive Demands Analysis
Human Resources, in consultation with Taylor’d Ergonomics are in the process of the development of Cognitive Demands Analyses (CDA) for bargaining unit positions. In the third quarter, the first CDA was completed for the role of Dispatch. It is anticipated that in early 2021 the development will resume for other key bargaining unit positions, including Operators. These CDA’s are essential for a variety of reasons; however predominately when dealing with Return to Work cases. This initiative is also directly tied to the 2020 Work Plan for Mental Health.
5.4 Mental Health and Wellness Strategy Implementation. A key 2020 initiative was the continued roll-out of LTC’s Mental Health Resiliency Program. The initial target date of completion was the end of 2021. However, given the decision to utilize employee capacity during COVID to fast-track training, approximately 95% of employees have received the training to date, well ahead of the targeted completion. Feedback on the program continues to be extremely positive from participants.
Another key 2020 initiative was the roll-out of a one-day Operator Education Program, with focused training on Human Rights & Diversity and Mutual Respect in the Workplace. The initial target date of completion was the end of 2021. Again, given the decision to utilize employee capacity during COVID to fast-track training, approximately 95% of Operations employees have received the training to date, well ahead of the targeted completion.
New Initiatives added to 2020 Work Program
The following initiatives have been added to the 2020 Work Program as the result of the pandemic declaration and issues arising from same.
1.1e and 1.4c Implementation of COVID Service Levels. Given the continued 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 November (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. At this time, it is anticipated that the 10% reduction scenario, which is what is currently in effect, will also be utilized for the November sign-up period.
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 as the economy continues to reopen and riders begin to travel more frequently, or decreases in demand as the local situation changes in the second wave.
9.6 Provincial and Federal Advocacy. Notwithstanding the two funding programs announced specific to transit and relief from COVID-related budget impacts, advocacy on behalf of the transit industry continues. At the Provincial level, the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA) continues to work with the Ministry of Transportation on the Phase II funding requirements of the Safe Restart Program. Additionally, efforts continue from both the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) and OPTA to stress the need for ongoing funding relief post the current March 31, 2021 deadline. As has been indicated in many previous reports, the budget impacts of COVID are anticipated to continue through 2021, and as such, a source of funding for same needs to be confirmed in order to avoid service level reductions. The General Manager, as the Chair of the Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA) and a member of the executive board of directors of the Canadian Urban Transit Association will continue to be directly involved with these advocacy efforts.
11.12 Operator Barrier Implementation. All in-service buses are equipped with either a permanent or temporary barrier. Work is underway on replacing the last of the temporary barriers, and is expected to be complete by mid-November.
Initiatives Previously Delayed Due to COVID Now Resumed
The following initiatives had been reported as delayed due to COVID on the previous status report, but have subsequently been resumed. A status of each is set out below.
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. The majority of these services are now in operation. Administration worked in cooperation with these jurisdictions in advance of the service launches to identify stop locations that would provide for the greatest opportunity for transfers to connect with LTC routes.
4.6 Implement Smart Card on Specialized Transit. Access to the third party vendor for this initiative was limited due to the pandemic declaration; however, discussions with the vendor have been re-initiated.
6.13a Expect Respect Working Group. The Expect Respect Working Group was formed in response to findings from the third party assessment, with its mandate being the identification of the underlying issues related to the lack of mutual respect/acceptable conduct between employees, customers and others, and developing/recommending initiatives intended to address these issues. Meetings of this group were on hold during the past several months due to COVID, but are scheduled to resume in November.
6.13f Review of Customer Contact Management Process. This review stemmed from recommendations from the Third Party Review, with a focus on the manner in which complaints from customers are managed, noting a number of comments received during the review focussed on this process. While this review was paused for a period during the pandemic, work as resumed and it is anticipated this initiative will be completed by year end.
11.1 2020 Bus Replacement Order. Shutdowns at the bus manufacturing facility resulted in delays in the manufacturing of the 2020 bus replacement order; however, all buses have now been received and it is anticipated that all will be prepped and available for service in December 2020.
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 had been put on hold. When restrictions were lifted, administration filed applications for the required permits from the City of London; however, at time of report writing only 13 of the location have been approved. It is hoped the remaining required approvals will be forthcoming in a timeframe that allows the new wayside information signs to be installed prior to the winter months.
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 requested an extension due to COVID-related staffing issues. The final report is scheduled to be presented to administration in late October, with the current plan being for a presentation to the Commission at the November meeting.
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, noting those set out in the previous section have already resumed.
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.
4.7 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.
11.7 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 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.
11.10 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 #1, dated October 28, 2020, the draft 2021 Service Plan has been tabled with the Commission for consideration.
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. As set out in Staff Report #1, dated October 28, 2020, subject to Commission approval, a request for proposal will be issued for the completion of an Alternative Service Delivery Implementation Strategy which is a critical first step in the implementation process.
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. As set out in Staff Report #1, dated October 28, 2020, subject to Commission approval, a request for proposal will be issued for the completion of an Alternative Service Delivery Implementation Strategy which is a critical first step in the implementation process.
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