Gunn in the first act

Some transit news got buried under the TCHC stuff last week, notably the story that David Gunn, who managed the TTC between 1995 and 1999, was returning to the agency as an unpaid consultant to help work through the transit agency’s 2012 budget process.

Kelly Grant and “City Hall Bureau Chief”:

Although he and TTC chief general manager Gary Webster still have to sort out final details, Mr. Gunn is expected to start the short-term gig the week of March 21 or March 28.

Mr. Gunn won’t be paid. However, the TTC would cover his expenses, including his flights, hotel and meals, TTC spokesman Brad Ross confirmed.

“We’re just preparing ourselves for 2012. Dave brings a lot of credibility. He’s one of the best transit managers in the world,” said Gary Webster, the TTC’s chief general manager.

via Former manager returning to help balance TTC books – The Globe and Mail.

Steve Munro’s post on the subject and the subsequent comment thread is good reading. Gunn was very much focused on maintaining the existing transit system at a ‘state of good repair’ and tended to be critical of expansion plans.

Notably, Munro notes that Gunn refused to attend the opening of the Sheppard Subway. The Urban Transport Fact Book quotes Gunn as saying “You would never have built the Sheppard subway if the decision was based upon transit principles. The only time you build a subway is when the street is clogged with buses.”

Still, though, he seemed to have earned the respect of TTC employees, which is no easy task.

The other big transit story from last week had to do with cellphone use. It all culminated in the Toronto Star publishing a story indicating when exactly operators are allowed to pee. While the story indicated management had made some critical mistakes the undercurrent to the story was that the TTC has gotten serious about cellphone use while driving, which is a good thing.

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