The Metrolinx Board of Directors held a special public session today as part of their annual strategy meeting. It was a first for our new President and CEO Phil Verster.
Phil opened the public session of the meeting by recapping his first month here at Metrolinx, including what he’s learned on his visits to the various work sites and facilities. He has made a point of spending time chatting with employees at the front of our business because according to him, “people…on a day-to-day basis do all of the tasks that are sometimes invisible to us and invisible to our customers. People that do difficult things in the middle of the night and get things done long before it affects our service.”
He recounted the various corporate achievements since the last board meeting, including the completion of the Transit Project Assessment Process for electrification, Rutherford GO Station shortlist procurement and the completion of the Ajax pedestrian bridge.
The rest of the agenda included updates on the Draft 2041 Regional Transportation Plan, Metrolinx’s investigation into hydrogen fuel technology and the GO/UP-TTC discounted double fare initiative.
Regional Transportation Plan Update
Chief Planning Officer Leslie Woo updated the Board on the progress of the Draft 2041 Regional Transportation Plan. Public consultation on the Draft Plan is now open and feedback is welcomed until November 17 (including employee feedback, via Ideas@Work). Leslie’s presentation covered updates on public meetings, consultation with municipalities and key stakeholders and digital and social media engagement.
Next steps include presenting a proposed Final Plan reflecting stakeholder and public feedback to the Board at the December 7 meeting.
Hydrogen Fuel Technology Analysis/Evaluation
An update on the feasibility study being prepared as a part of a Metrolinx investigation into hydrogen fuel technology was presented by Chief Capital Officer Peter Zuk and Vice President Regional Express Rail Mark Ciavarro.
The presentation provided an overview of the hydrogen program in Germany, discussed Germany’s Hydrail in the Ontario context and discussed the hydrogen work streams Metrolinx has committed to completing.
GO/UP—TTC Discounted Double Fare Initiative
Leslie also provided an update on the GO/UP—TTC discounted double fare initiative, which permits PRESTO customers making trips combining the TTC and GO/UP to pay the equivalent of $1.50 for the TTC leg of their journey. These terms were approved by the TTC on October 16, and will be presented to City of Toronto Council for approval later this month. Subject to final approval and execution of an agreement, discounts are planned to take effect in January 2018.