Staff Report #1
April 27, 2022
To All Commissioners
Re: 2021 Draft Annual Report
That the Commission:
- APPROVE the Draft 2021 Annual Report, attached as Enclosure I; and
- DIRECT the administration forward the approved 2021 Annual Report to Municipal Council for its review and consideration.
The Draft 2021 Annual Report, as set out in Enclosure I, is being presented for Commission review and approval. Subsequent to Commission approval, the final Annual Report will be presented to Municipal Council via the Civic Works Committee for their review and consideration.
The LTC Business Plan sets the direction respecting the development of LTC as an organization and the services it delivers. The Business Plan process, as depicted below serves as the basis for accountability and transparency.
In the 2019-2022 Business Plan, London Transit is defined by its vision to be the valued and trusted mobility choice for Londoners. The vision is supported by the mission statement which is Moving Londoners – progressively, reliably and affordably. The vision and mission are supported by five strategic outcomes:
- An integrated, affordable and valued mobility choice
- An engaged, diverse and respectful workplace
- Demonstrated fiscal accountability
- Being open, transparent and understood
- Effective utilization of infrastructure
Consistent with the Business Planning Process, each year an annual report is completed and shared publicly. The report provides an overview of how the LTC performed against each of the strategic outcomes identified in the Business Plan.
The declaration of a global pandemic in March of 2020 and the ongoing nature of same has presented numerous challenges with respect to meeting the established Strategic Outcomes set out in the Business Plan. While both the conventional and specialized services continued to operate throughout the pandemic, the manner in which they operated was altered significantly, with many of the key objectives taking a back seat to pandemic-related practices and protocols intended to keep riders and employees safe while continuing to operate a service that was essential to keeping London moving.
The significant declines in ridership and related revenue associated with the pandemic-related lockdowns, coupled with increased costs associated with enhanced cleaning and other safety protocols have collectively skewed most of the traditional key performance indicators that are reported on annually as part of this report. Additionally, some of the initiatives on the 2021 Work Program had to be deferred due to resource limitations. Notwithstanding these issues and impacts, this report will continue to follow the traditional approach for transparency purposes.
The table below sets out the performance against the outcomes for the 2021 fiscal year, none are graded excellent given the deviation from the Business Plan required as the result of the pandemic.
|An integrated, affordable and valued mobility choice||Good||The continuation of public transit services throughout the pandemic ensured Londoners had access to essential jobs and destinations.|
|Demonstrated fiscal accountability||Good||Overall effective cost management notwithstanding the service impacts of the ongoing pandemic.|
|Being open, transparent and understood||Good||Continued use of social media for outside stakeholders during the pandemic and increased efforts to communicate pandemic-related information to employees.|
|Effective utilization of infrastructure||Good||Capital programs for the most part continued notwithstanding the ongoing pandemic.|
|An engaged, diverse and respectful workplace||Good||Overall priority centered on ensuring the health and safety of employees including psychological health and wellness|
While progress toward all of the Strategic Outcomes is graded as ‘good’, it is important to recognize these grades are measured against progress on the initiatives included in the Business Plan while also giving consideration to the fact that operating a transit system through a pandemic necessitated deviation from some specific initiatives.
While continuing to operate a public transit service through the pandemic presented many challenges, the response to those challenges also offered some key insights that will be relied upon as the organization, as well as the public transit industry at large begins to navigate through what will eventually become the new normal.
The most significant outcome of the pandemic from a public transit perspective, was the recognition by all levels of government, of the value that a viable public transit service provides to its community. Both the Federal and Provincial governments demonstrated this understanding through the provision of the Safe Restart Funding Program, which provided for funding to support the continuation of services noting the losses in revenue and increased operating costs that were being experienced by all transit systems. During the pandemic period, historical measures including rides per service hour and cost recovery ratios were no longer the driving factors in decision making, with discussions centering on ensuring that adequate service levels remained in place to provide the ability for transit riders to access essential services and jobs.
This recognition provided a reminder to transit systems that the value they provide is measured by three key stakeholder groups; the transit customer, the community at large, and the taxpayer. What also became clear is that each group’s values cannot be measured solely by the traditional metrics that transit systems have relied upon. Further, the onset and continuation of the pandemic which has resulted in significant shifts in the manner in which people work and move in their communities has significantly impacted the transit system’s ability to predict and plan for the future.
Details with respect to 2021 performance are discussed in greater detail in the 2021 Annual Report as set out in Enclosure I.
2022 will see the introduction of the first alternative delivery service model, which will serve the Innovation Park industrial area in the south-east. Going forward, similar approaches will be considered for other areas of the City that are difficult to serve with a typical conventional service route. Incorporating this service model into future service plans will provide the ability to provide access to public transit to new areas of London, as well as those that have been historically un-served due to limited ridership opportunities.
In addition, the service improvements set to be implemented in 2022 focus on system-wide improvements, intended to make the conventional service a more viable option for more Londoners. The implementation of the fall of 2022 improvements to routes across the system will result in better connections, more frequent services and better reliability system-wide.
The completion of the Zero-Emission Bus Implementation Plan in 2022 will set the path for a full conversion of the conventional transit fleet over the coming years. Subsequent to receipt of the final Implementation Plan, work will begin on finalizing the procurement for an initial fleet of 10 electric buses and the required charging infrastructure to support them. This transition will also require retrofits to the Wonderland Road facility in order to accommodate the charging infrastructure and ability to maintain electric buses. The ZEB Implementation Plan will also place increased priority on the replacement of the Highbury facility, noting any investment in infrastructure supporting the fleet conversion would not be undertaken in the current facility but rather incorporated into the replacement facility. This transition is also anticipated to have a significant impact on human resource requirements noting that a fleet transition of this nature requires a dedicated team with specific skillsets.
The 2019-2022 Business Plan theme of “Maintaining the Momentum” was based on previous years of continued growth in both service levels and ridership on both the conventional and specialized services, which was only possible due to increased municipal investment supported by municipal council. While 2019 programs and initiatives began to deliver on the theme, the declaration of the global pandemic in early 2020 and the resulting impacts on public transit services halted that envisioned momentum. As stated throughout this report, the pandemic raised awareness of the value public transit brings to the communities it serves with all levels of government, and to some extent, all key stakeholder groups. This awareness has resulted in a different kind of momentum that can be seized upon as this Business Plan comes to a close and the next is shaped.
A key input to the 2023-2026 Business Plan will be gathering feedback with respect to priorities from each stakeholder group; the transit customer, the taxpayer, and the community at large. In addition service plans will need to be revisited in light of the impacts the pandemic has had on ridership levels and patterns, and the extent to which these impacts will last going forward. While there is no question that London Transit provides value to the community, the manner in which those services are provided will need to evolve in response to the manner in which the community and society navigate out of the pandemic period with new habits and routines.
The 2023-2026 Business Plan and related annual reporting process will need to include mechanisms to ensure that reporting can demonstrate progress toward each stakeholder group’s priorities, and provide for discussion and supporting data on the value metrics that continued support and investment in London Transit services will provide. This Plan will provide the opportunity and supporting mechanisms to move away from the sole reliance on traditional measuring sticks for a successful public transit service like trips per capita and rides per service hour to a broader discussion adding measures that look at the economic, congestion, climate, health and access impacts in the community.
Subsequent to Commission approval of the Draft Annual Report, the transmittal letter will be drafted by the Commission Chair and the report will be finalized for distribution to LTC stakeholders and presentation to Municipal Council.
Mike Gregor, Director of Finance
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources
Craig Morneau, Director of Fleet & Facilities
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager