Staff Report #5
August 31, 2022
To All Commissioners
Re: 2022 Commission Work Program – Second Quarter Update
The report be NOTED and FILED.
The 2022 Work Program was approved by the Commission at the January 26, 2022 meeting, noting given the ongoing pandemic, program timelines were subject to adjustment throughout the year depending upon the nature and extent of pandemic-related impacts on the organization broadly, or specifically on a project.
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 remainder of the report provides commentary with respect to the items on the 2022 Work Program that were scheduled to be completed by the end of the second quarter. In the event that detailed reports have been provided on specific Work Program initiatives, the Staff Report is referenced on the Work Program Summary update set out in Enclosure I.
1.1 a) 2021 Conventional Service Plan Implementation and 1.2 b) 2022 Conventional Service Plan Implementation Service improvements for both 2021 and 2022 have been approved but have not been implemented due to resource constraints. Traditionally service improvements have taken effect with the change to fall service which occurs on the first Sunday in September. While recruitment efforts have continued through the past 8 months, the Operator complement has not yet reached a level that will allow for the implementation of the service improvements. As set out in Staff Report #3 dated August 31, 2022, the return to fall service levels will also see the return of routes 90, 91, 94, 102, 104 and 106. Operator complement will continue to be closely monitored and service improvements from both the 2021 and 2022 plans will be implemented at signup periods through the remainder of 2022 and 2023. Given the anticipated time it will take to reach the required Operator complement and implement all approved service plans, no service improvements have been budgeted for the 2023 Service Plan. The 2023 service planning exercise will include a review of the productivity of all routes and assessment of ridership patterns in an effort to identify any changes that are required within the base service (i.e. realignment of services versus addition of new service hours).
1.4 a) 2021 Specialized Service Plan Implementation and 1.4 b) 2022 Specialized Service Plan Implementation Service improvements for both 2021 and 2022 have been approved but have not been implemented due in part to ridership demand and also resource issues being experienced by the contractor. As set out in Staff Report #3 dated August 31, 2022, ridership levels on the specialized service have returned to approximately 60% of pre-pandemic levels, and have continued to climb over the past 8 months. Service improvements on the specialized service can be introduced at any time throughout the year given the nature in which the service is delivered, and as ridership demand has increased, service hours have been added to meet the demand. While this approach worked well through the first half of 2022, the latest pandemic wave, coupled with difficulties in attracting drivers resulted in the inability on the part of the contractor to meet service level requirements on numerous occasions through July and August. Administration is continuing to work with the contractor in an effort to implement additional hours as required as they are able to on-board the required driver complement. This approach will remain in place until such time as demand has fully rebounded and all of the approved service hours associated with the 2021 and 2022 service plans have been implemented.
2.2 c) Alternative Service Delivery Implementation. The next step in the implementation of Alternative Service Delivery to Innovation Park is the issuance and award of a request for proposal (RFP) for the on-demand software. This process has been delayed due to resource issues in the administrative area. While it was anticipated the RFP would be issued in the spring, administrative resource limitations resulted in a further delay. The RFP will be issued in the fall and implementation timelines will be determined subsequent to contract award and confirmed timelines for software implementation.
3.2 Participation in City of London Safe Cities Taskforce Work of this taskforce will continue through the remainder of 2022, however a focus to date has been the dissemination of information relating to the current programs in place that help create a safe city. One of the programs highlighted by the group for additional community focus is London Transit’s Travel Safe Program. Administration has worked with committee members representing both Western University and Fanshawe College to provide details of the Travel Safe Program which will be distributed to students at the start of the academic year.
3.6 Zero Emission Bus Implementation Strategy With Commission approval in principle of the Zero Emission Bus Implementation Strategy and direction to continue participation in the CUTRIC Joint Procurement initiative, focus has been directed toward the development of the Request For Interest for potential bidders to the Request for Proposal for the supply of both electric buses and their associated charging infrastructure. In addition, administration has been working with civic administration to identify possible sources of funding and gathering the required supporting documentation for the business case to support the funding request.
4.7 Analysis of MagnusCards Usage and Impacts The MagnusCards project was undertaken in an effort to provide an easily accessible guide to utilizing the conventional transit service. As part of the program, MagnusCards tracks the number of downloads of the application and provides predicted usage noting once the application is downloaded data is not required to view the materials. Since the launch of the LTC card decks in November 2021, there have been approximately 100 downloads of the application. Usage of the cards has continued to increase since the launch, noting the views of LTC cards for the period May-Jul 2022 were three times higher than those recorded in the initial launch period of Nov 2021 – Jan 2022. Administration will continue to monitor reports and more detailed analysis will be completed once the program has been in use for a year in an effort to determine the cards with the most views as well as those that are not being accessed which may result in adjustments to the deck going forward.
5.2 2022 Health and Safety Work Program Implementation In June a working group completed the 2022 Inspector Risk Assessment which was part of a multi-year project on the work program. A risk assessment defines the hazards/risks associated with the job functions, the current controls (such as engineering, procedural and PPE) and what further controls should be evaluated to reduce hazards/risks. Through the assessment, a number of recommendations were brought forward, noting the following provides a brief overview of approved initiatives either completed and or underway:
- A one-year trial to provide enhanced Inspector on-road coverage, including adding an Inspector to the complement and revising the work schedule to ensure two Inspectors are on duty where possible and can act as backup and support when dealing with difficult situations
- Improved designated locations in the core of the City to ensure Inspectors can respond to urgent calls promptly.
- Discontinuation of the practice of Inspectors transporting passengers in their vans.
- Provision of Workplace Violence Training to all Inspectors, covering how to deal effectively with escalated situations on board buses in addition to specific on-road training on de-escalation through the London Middlesex Paramedic Services.
- The introduction of further support for Inspectors following traumatic events by having a designated CISM Peer Support from the team.
- Currently working with an external agency on developing a training program specifically focusing on dealing with customers experiencing mental health issues safely and effectively. The program is expected to be completed in mid-fall 2022 and will be rolled out by the end of 2022.
6.8 Annual Review – Legislative Compliance Changes to legislation impacting the workplace are monitored throughout the year and responded to accordingly. In early 2022, amendments were made to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) which require all employers with more than 25 employees to have a written policy on disconnecting from the workplace. The term “disconnecting from work” is defined in the ESA to mean not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or sending or reviewing other messages, to be from the performance of work. The requirement does not require the employer to create a new right for employees to disconnect from work and be free from the obligation to engage in work-related communications in its policy. Consistent with the requirement, a written policy was created and shared with all London Transit employees in July and will be included in employee hand books going forward.
6.10 b) Additional Training for Management One of the recommendations stemming from the third party review completed by Rubin Thomlinson included additional training for the management group specifically focused on the use of respectful language within a diverse workplace as well as managing difficult conversations and respectful leadership. This program was planned to be delivered in the spring, however has been deferred to the fall due to resource issues and the availability of a trainer. It is anticipated this program will be completed by the end of the calendar year.
8.1 Prepare Draft 2023-2026 Business Plan A draft of the future business plan is traditionally shared with the current Commission near the end of their term in order to provide the opportunity for feedback and suggested priorities going forward. This feedback is shared with the new Commission as part of the Business Planning process. Administration is currently assessing ways to gather feedback from transit riders, current and prospective members of municipal council, and the general public with respect to the priorities for London’s public transit services over the next four year period. In addition to online surveys, drop in sessions are also under consideration. The gathering and compilation of this important feedback is the first step in the preparation of the next Business Plan.
9.1 & 9.2 OPTA and CUTA Membership Advocacy efforts on behalf of the transit industry both provincially and nationally have continued throughout 2022. The Ontario Public Transit Association (OPTA) provided a pre-budget submission to the Province and also met with several Provincial Ministers to discuss the details. The submission focussed on the continued need for pandemic-related relief funding (Safe Restart) through the remainder of 2022 with the potential for further relief required in 2023, and the need to ensure that Provincial Gas Tax allocations are not negatively impacted by the decline in fuel sales during the pandemic. A transit awareness day at Queen’s Park is being considered for late November/early December where these topics will again be discussed.
The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) held a workshop with a representative group of transit systems from across the country and the Federal government (Infrastructure Canada) as part of the current outreach initiative relating to the Permanent Transit Fund which is slated to provide $3 billion annually beginning in the 2026/27 fiscal year. This consultation will also include regional sessions as well as the ability for stakeholders to provide written submissions. The key areas of discussion for this consultation include; stronger coordination and planning, future proofing and alternative finance, housing supply and affordability, triple bottom line impacts (social, environmental and economic), and how the program will be delivered.
Administration will continue to participate in these advocacy efforts and will work with civic administration to ensure all feedback provided specific to transit funding remains consistent.
10.1 Voice of the Customer Survey Timing The Voice of the Customer survey process has proven to be a reliable method to obtain feedback from transit riders. These surveys are undertaken with riders while they are utilizing the service, and ask respondents not only to prioritize various service qualities based on their expectations of a public transit service, but also to rate their level of approval for each of the qualities. These surveys have offered valuable insight into rider priorities and expectations, and have been utilized as input into previous business plans. On-board Voice of the Customer surveys have remained on hold throughout the pandemic, the timing of the next survey is currently being reviewed noting this feedback is a critical component of the business planning process.
10.3 Assess Opportunities for Additional Public Engagement Options This initiative was included in the work program for 2020 and was subsequently placed on hold due to the pandemic. The intent of this initiative is to identify additional ways for the public to engage and provide feedback for various initiatives including the Business Plan, Accessibility Plan, Conventional and Specialized services plans etc. As indicated above, Administration is currently assessing options with the expectation that some may be planned for the fall depending on the state of the pandemic and related public health measures that may be in place.
12.12 Ceridian Payroll System Upgrade The processing of the Commission’s payroll is outsourced to Ceridian noting there are several internal payroll systems that gather and compile the required data to be uploaded to Ceridian each pay period. Ceridian has upgraded their software which required an upgrade and transition for LTC-generated input files. This upgrade also provided the opportunity to move to digital payroll records (versus the traditional paper pay-stub), and this process is underway. Beginning the first pay period in September, employees will log into their individual Ceridian account to retrieve their payroll records and paper pay stubs will no longer be supplied. This upgrade offers some additional features which will be assessed for applicability and potential implementation subsequent to this initial transition.
Added – Highbury Facility Replacement Review and Business Case As set out in Communication #2 dated August 3, 2022, Municipal Council directed civic administration to work with London Transit to develop a joint application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program Public Transit Stream (ICIP-PTS) for a new facility at 450 Highbury Avenue North to accommodate transit service growth and the conversion of the LTC fleet to zero-emission buses. The guidelines for the ICIP-PTS program require that a completed business case be submitted to the Province for review and consideration by November 30, 2022 and subsequent to Provincial approval, will be forwarded to the Federal government for approval no later than March 31, 2023.
The Facility Review completed and presented to the Commission in 2019 determined that rebuilding a purpose-built transit storage and maintenance facility at 450 Highbury Avenue North was the preferred option for accommodating future fleet growth. At the time the study was completed, a transition to zero-emission buses was not considered. In order to prepare the business case for funding, the facility plan requires updating to include consideration of the charging infrastructure associated with zero-emission buses as well as to provide a more detailed cost assessment. As such, IBI has been retained to undertake an update of the 2019 study. The review is underway and will be complete in time to provide for the required input into the required business case.
Mike Gregor, Director of Finance
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources
Craig Morneau, Director of Fleet & Facilities
Caroline Roy, Manager of Corporate Communications
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager