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An Open Letter to the TTC

In the weeks following Reading Toronto's challenge to the TTC to improve their web site, the response from the blogosphere and mainstream media has been overwhelming.

On this site, as well as Spacing, Torontoist and Reading Toronto, readers submitted more than a hundred comments suggesting what the TTC should do. Thank you for all your input.

Now, Reading Toronto as well as blogTO, Spacing and Torontoist have summarized the feedback and drafted an open letter to TTC chairman Adam Giambrone in hope that the TTC will formally consider this input as they embark on the redesign. Here is the open letter:

Attn: Mr. Adam Giambrone

Chairman, Toronto Transit Commission

Dear Mr. Giambrone,

The city's four major Blog sites dealing with city issues - Blogto.com,
Readingtoronto.com, Spacing.ca, and Torontoist.com - asked for their
readers' ideas on how to improve the TTC's rider information website.

Thousands read about our call for suggestions. Hundreds responded. The
city's major media outlets also covered our challenge.

Attached to the formal version of this letter are two documents. One
includes the complete list of suggestions made by our readers. The other
integrates those suggestions in an easy to use spreadsheet. That document
lists the recommendations by reader popularity and refers to the blog and
comment number where the suggestion can be found.

For example, the most popular suggestion for the site is to improve the User
Interface & Information Architecture. Forty-five readers made that
suggestion. The second most popular recommendation is to add a
"Point-to-Point" trip planner. Twenty-seven readers asked for that. In
addition, many readers offered examples of transit websites they thought
worked. Those are also listed in their own category.

In general terms the four Editors have three key points:

1. Our readers - who are frequent users of the TTC - believe that their
ideas, if implemented, can significantly improve the TTC website.

2. We believe the budget for this website should reflect its importance in
terms of the numbers of people who refer to it (millions every month) and
the potential for increasing TTC ridership. The site should be considered an
essential operational budget line item rather than a marketing "frill." A
good site will add to the TTC's bottom line.

3. While we applaud the TTC for issuing a RFP for a new site, the user
input our challenge generated and the media firestorm that followed it
suggest the RFP be reissued to reflect the now better understood needs of
TTC users.

Your truly,

Robert Ouellette, readingtoronto.com
Tim Shore, blogto.com
Matt Blackett, spacing.ca
David Topping & Marc Lostracco, torontoist.com


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