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192 Airport Rocket Reroute Calls into Question Who's in Charge at the TTC.

Yesterday evening, CBC News broke the story that the 192 Airport Rocket had been rerouted off of Highway 427 and onto local streets. The explanation given was that the crowds on the bus, as well as luggage, all travelling at highway speeds, had created a safety issue. The change lengthened the trip from Kipling station to Pearson Airport from fifteen minutes to over thirty.

The change was made on September 26th, however, without public consultation, and without, apparently, any contact with the TTC’s leadership. TTC Chairman Adam Giambrone only heard about this after customer complaints came across his desk. According to him, “This was a decision taken at the local level, at the division level.”

The incident is under review, and the Airport Rocket could be back on the highway as early as next week. As Giambrone notes, there are other TTC routes still operating on Toronto highways, including the 191 Highway 27 Rocket, and a number of premium express routes on the Don Valley Parkway. What is more disturbing is the discontinuity in internal communication that this incident reveals.

Recently, the TTC’s director of corporate communications, Brad Ross, announced changes to the TTC’s night services, to better serve Nuit Blance patrons. In addition to the subway being open from Eglinton to St. Clair West and from Keele to Woodbine, corresponding night bus services would be taken off of Bloor and Yonge streets and operated out of the subway terminals, in hopes of avoiding the crush of passengers that marred service at last year’s Nuit Blanche. Despite these statements, and maps to that affect, the change did not occur.

The Toronto Transit Commission is supposed to be a public agency serving Torontonians not only at the bus stop, but through our representatives at city hall. If the instructions of TTC commissioners are not getting through to the divisional level; if changes at the divisional level aren’t being communicated to TTC commissioners and, through them, to the pubic, then something serious is broken, and an investigation needs to take place to make this organization less bureaucratic and more responsive to the public.