The chair of a new TTC advisory panel says that responsibility for better customer service rests with both TTC managers and workers.
During a public meeting at City Hall on Feb. 17, Adam Giambrone, TTC chair, and Joe Mihevc, the vice-chair, introduced Stephen O’Brien, 44, as head of the new TTC Customer Service Advisory Panel. The hotelier and manager of One King West Hotel & Residence in Toronto took the position as an unpaid volunteer. He offered this view of the panel’s priority.
“We at the TTC have to be raising the level of customer service higher and higher,” O’Brien said. “Both management and the union understand that … Customer service can be improved and most likely should be improved.”
Bob Kinnear, head of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, worried that O’Brien does not have sufficient experience with the TTC system.
“Mr. O’Brien has acknowledged that he has no understanding of the transit system,” Kinnear said. “It’s wonderful that he rides the Go Train, but the Go Train doesn’t have the same issues that we have here in Toronto.”
O’Brien defended his credentials in the hospitality sector and related them to his work on the new panel.
“At the end of the day as a hotelier, the TTC is very important, from a tourism perspective (and) an employer perspective,” he said. “If staff have a good experience on the way to work, they’ll all be happier at work.”
Kinnear added that his union, which represents 12,000 TTC workers, had no say in the appointment of the chair of the new panel.
“I think it’s important … for the travelling public that they have someone heading this committee that understands some of the troubles that they’re facing,” Kinnear said. “I think we’re off to a bad start.”