The TTC may be reaping an unexpected windfall from its washroom renovation campaign.
TTC problems have long been bread and butter for The Fixer, with no end of beefs about its service. The complaints provided us with good material for columns and reflected a deep dissatisfaction among its riders.
A lot of them focused on problems at its 59 stations – litter, broken doors and escalators, water leaks and overall griminess – but the washrooms often provoked the most vivid complaints.
And with good reason. Most were decades old and dank, stinking pits that nobody used without a shiver of dread when crossing the threshold.
The TTC finally got off the pot this year and did something about it; a top-to-bottom renovation of privies in the 10 stations that have them, and a new housekeeping regimen that calls for more frequent cleaning.
The washroom re-do coincided with the hiring of the TTC’s first chief customer service officer, Chris Upfold, and improvements that include ongoing renovations at stations and fast cleanups of subway cars during rush hour.
We’ve fielded far fewer complaints about the TTC in general over the last six months, and believe it may have something to do with the shiny new washrooms.
When riders have to do their business in a can that is filthy and stinks, it quite likely colours their perception of the service in general and magnifies all other problems.
If those same washrooms are transformed into facilities that people don’t mind using, chances are they’ll depart them in a more genial frame of mind and better tolerate the shortcomings.
The combination of cleaner subway cars and new washrooms may be the two most important steps the TTC has taken to improve its relationship with riders, and a plausible explanation for the drop in complaints to us.
Call it the Clean Washroom Dividend.