Location:

7th Floor Boardroom
1900 Yonge Street

Present:

Sam Savona (Chair)
Mazin Aribi
Brayan Bratanov
Dorothy Creaser
Heather Green
Carol Anne Monet
Robert Muzzy
Craig Nicol
Anna Noviss
Angela Rebeiro
Valdo Tammark (Vice Chair)
Susan Davidson (Ex-Officio)

ACAT Pool Members
Zoe Cormack Jones

TTC Representatives:
Evelyn Gartner
Bill Frost
Glenn Johnson
Tom McPherson

Regrets:

Lori March
Scott McArthur
Elaine Prescod
Howard Wax, (Vice Chair)

Copies:

Gary Webster
David Dixon
Bill Frost
Vince Rodo
John Sepulis
Jim Teeple
Mitch Stambler
TTC Commissioners

Items Discussed

  1. Call to Order / Attendance
  2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
  3. Approval of Agenda
  4. Review and Approval of March 31, 2011 Minutes
  5. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items
  6. Deputations -  None
  7. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
  8. Report on Commission Meeting and Accessibility Matters - Valdo Tammark
  9. Rocket Subway Trains - Glenn Johnston
  10. Redundant Elevators - Feedback on Motions - Ian Trites
  11. Bus Ramps - Operational Considerations - Bob Thacker
  12. Station Layout Pages - Bill Frost
  13. People in Motion - Evelyn Gartner
  14. Public Forum
  15. ACAT Minutes and Commission Agenda
  16. Distribution ACAT Subcommittee Minutes
  17. Other / New Business
  18. Next Meeting -  May 26, 2011
  19. Adjournment

1. Call to Order and Attendance

Sam Savona, Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest - Nil

3. Approval of Agenda

On motion of Craig Nicol and seconded by Carol Anne Monet, ACAT approved the agenda.

4. Review and Approval of March 31, 2011 Minutes

On motion of Carol Ann Monet and seconded by Craig Nicol, ACAT approved the minutes of March 31,  2011.

5. Business Arising from Minutes/Outstanding Items

ACAT reviewed and revised the outstanding items list.

6. Deputations – None

7. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Administration Subcommittee

The Administration Subcommittee met on April 21, 2011 and began reviewing the ACAT Terms of Reference and Guidelines. Further updates of their discussion will be provided.

Communications Subcommittee (CSC)

Angela Rebeiro advised that the Communications Subcommittee met on April 15, 2011 and that she is currently reviewing past CSC minutes to capture all outstanding items. Angela provided updates on two substantive issues.

Community Link

A good portion of the CSC meeting was dedicated to editing the Community Link publication with Dean Milton. The Subcommittee made the following general recommendations:

  • That the corporate name be used whenever possible throughout Wheel-Trans documents.
  • That an article featuring every WT passenger paying his or her fare demonstrates equitable service to all WT customers.
  • WT publications should try to avoid suggesting that friends or family members make bookings on behalf of WT customers, as this is contrary to independent living.

Decals to be applied to Conventional Vehicles

Carla Basso, Marketing, discussed a new decal with four pictograms. The caption on the pictogram identified Priority Seating. Two text messages below the pictograms were offered for consideration:

  • For Persons who are Elderly, Disabled, with a Service Animal or a White Cane, and Expectant Mothers.
  • You may be required to vacate these seats for Persons who are Elderly, Disabled, with a Service Animal or a White Cane, and Expectant Mothers.

The Subcommittee members decided in favour of the first Priority Seating message because it had less overtones of being a courtesy to give up one’s seat to a person with a disability, when the exercise was more mandatory.

Added to that decision was the notion that By-Law #1 should be applied to the pictogram, but Ms. Basso pointed out that would be inappropriate because the By-Law does not apply to elderly persons or expectant mothers.

The four pictogram images depicted:

  • A person with a cane being offered a seat.
  • A person on crutches being offered a seat.
  • A person with a service animal being offered a seat.
  • An expectant mother being offered a seat.

The Subcommittee members noted the absence of an image depicting a person with a walker, and argued strongly that an image of a person with a walker appear on the pictogram, even if it be at the expense of removing the image of the expectant mother.

Carla Basso agreed to consider these recommendations and stated that further checks were needed to be done with the TTC’s Legal Department regarding the by-law’s application and other points raised at the meeting.

Carla Basso was also going to check on other transportation services, such as Mississauga Transit, to see how they address the Priority Seating issue for people with disabilities.

Ms. Basso was pleased to hear that CSC had established a regular set of meeting dates for every other Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. as it permits her to keep in touch with the Subcommittee in a more timely fashion.

The next Communications Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for April 29, 2011.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS)

Craig Nicol (Chair) advised that the Subcommittee held one meeting in April. DRS received a positive update to their request for improvements to the Easier Access Phase III design for Coxwell Station and also received a positive response to their request for a design change to the Metropass card. Beginning in September, the Metropass card will have one corner cut off to aid in identification and orientation for swiping. 

DRS received an update on the Station Manager initiative indicating the stations to be covered and a roll-out plan for 21 Managers in 2011.

DRS plans to meet on May 4, 2011 to receive a presentation on the new Rocket Subway Train and to review its accessibility features. A further field trip meeting is anticipated in order to view the train in late May.

History Project

Brayan Bratanov advised that the History Project is steadily progressing. All ACAT history information has been compiled and will be further reviewed.

ACAT discussed and suggested that the most efficient way of reviewing, storing the documentation for future use, staff vs. volunteer administrative support, photocopying vs. digital files, be considered.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS)

Anna Noviss reported that the Subcommittee held three meetings in April. At the April 13th meeting, the Subcommittee discussed and provided advice on the 2011 Public Forum, using the June People in Motion as an opportunity to promote service integration, and other ways of promoting service integration to qualified customers with disabilities and accessibility regulations. 

Staff outlined how the Service Planning Department was arranging for ASL interpreters, captioning, support staff and others, and how the Marketing and Customer Service Department had developed a communications plan for conventional services (i.e. posters in stations, cards in conventional transit vehicles, etc.) and media (announcements, invitations/notices in the paper, etc.) based on what had previously been successfully implemented.

The enhancements to the previous communications plans for the annual forums include the use of Twitter and Facebook and an additional invitation/notice in the METRO paper.

The other items included the Rocket Subway cars and efforts to obtain the outstanding information for possible inclusion in the Subcommittee’s deliberations on customer service improvements.

The approved minutes of that meeting were distributed to ACAT and those wishing further information may consult them. 

All members of ACAT were invited to attend an April 20, 2011 meeting for the purpose of obtaining advice on how the TTC might conduct the annual accessibility event. The invitation to ACAT and a brief outline of two options (forum as in the past and planned for the future or an open house approach as suggested by an ad-hoc committee) were put forward in advance by Mitch Stambler, Manager of Service Planning Department, as that office has managed the past events and will manage the future ones. 

In addition to providing the TTC with the unanimous support for continuing to hold the events in a forum format, ACAT members suggested how the sessions might be fine-tuned to overcome some of the difficulties which occurred as a result of late arrivals at the 2010 session, shortening the presentations to provide more time for the ‘open microphone’ portion of the event, enhancing the displays tried for the first time last year, and enhancing the one-on-one session, which was also tried for the first time last year. 

The other items noted included the Commission Report regarding service to Variety Village, the Commission Report on customer service improvements (latest progress report), the invitation to the Steeles West Station Open House, and the request from a school for Train-the-Trainer type of support.

At the meeting on April 27, 2011, the Subcommittee received updates on the plans for the 2011 Public Forum, and outlined two of the ways of assisting in getting service information to customers and promoting service integration at the June 3rd and 4th People in Motion event.

On the advice from the Subcommittee, Glenn Johnston will forward to Evelyn Gartner rough outlines of 1) a single page hand-out promoting TTC accessible conventional and specialized services, and 2) a guide to ACAT volunteers assisting at People in Motion. The former is consistent with the Subcommittee’s role of identifying opportunities to promote integrated service/trips, and the latter is consistent with the Subcommittee’s role regarding training. However, it was felt that the final editing and confirming that the suggested materials are consistent with others to be available at People in Motion should be the responsibility of the Communications Subcommittee or the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee as Ms. Gartner determines appropriate and capable of addressing the drafts in advance of the event.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee

Dorothy Creaser advised that the following items were discussed on April 14, 2011.

Wheel-Trans Policy re: ‘Do Not Leave Unattended’ (DNLU)

Evelyn explained the DNLU policy and the impact it has if no one is there to accept the customer. If this happens, the customer is red flagged as “Must Have an Escort”.

Booking Accessible Subway Service

WT registrants can book after 7:00 p.m. the day before, for pick-up to the subway for rides before 11:00 a.m. the next day. However, they would not be able to use the “same day service line” and would need to call the Reservations line.

Attendants Escorting Customers Expecting Return Trip

Trips for attendants are only provided to WT customers.

WT 101

There was a general discussion on being able to reach more people to encourage the use of WT 101 Training and internet booking. Evelyn Gartner will have a discussion with Janet O’Sullivan. The Subcommittee is looking for ways of getting more people involved with WT101 and have placed information in the current Community Link newsletter, on the side of the bus, and in the New Registrant package.

WT New Registrant Application Process

The turnaround time for WT new registrant application process is about five business days, plus mailing.

Contingency Plans at Drop-Off Locations

If WT is provided advanced notice regarding restrictions or construction to drop off areas, they will make alternate plans. The best alternate drop off will be arranged.

2011 WT Operating Budget and its effect on Dialysis Trips

A report at the Commission meeting on January 2011 dealt with a budget deficit related directly to services provided to passengers using WT services for dialysis. As a background, in November 1996, service was extended only to dialysis patients to and from hospitals. At one time, payment for these trips was covered by the Province. Bill Frost requested that ACAT reassess WT dialysis trips. The Subcommittee made the following comments:

  • WT Eligibility Criteria related to people with physical functional mobility issues
  • WT serves passengers with mobility issues, with one exception, dialysis patients
  • The main concern with providing service to dialysis patients was that WT was catering to a select group. This could result in additional problems in the future, as passengers with other medical issues, such as patients undergoing chemotherapy, may demand the same service as dialysis patients.
  • WT cannot afford to continue to serve dialysis patients without being subsidized by the City and/or Province. While the WT deficit budget was approved this year, it will not be approved as a deficit budget next year. The imbalance in the budget is directly related to the provision of services to dialysis patients.
  • With the demand for WT service growing, due to an aging population; rising fuel costs, and provincial service legislation, the Subcommittee agreed that further discussion regarding WT service to dialysis patients is vital.

The Subcommittee agreed that further discussion and direction regarding the WT Operating Budget and its effect on dialysis trips needed to be discussed with Bill Frost.

WT Eligibility Criteria

The current plan is to provide fully accessible transportation in the City of Toronto for 2025. The Province will be setting AODA eligibility requirements in Ontario.

The Subcommittee agreed that further discussion regarding WT Eligibility Criteria be delayed until AODA criteria guidelines have been set by the Province.

“W” Plates on AT Taxis, Owner Restrictions

While the “W” Plate licensing issue is between the driver and the City, it is likely that the discrepancy between licensing for taxis may affect WT service in the future. Evelyn Gartner to discuss “W” Plates with staff and report back to the Subcommittee.

Report on Customer Concerns

A summary of customer complaints for WT and Contracted Services is provided 12 times per year. The five top complaints for the period of February regarding buses were vehicle no show, policy & fares, vehicle operation, vehicle late, and discourteous. The five top complaints regarding contracted services were vehicle no show, policy, discourteous, vehicle late more than 20 minutes, and vehicle operation.

New Computer System

The new computer system is scheduled to be fully implemented by August 7, 2011. Reservationists are currently receiving training. The AVL system will have a GPS available, will track vehicles, and can communicate one on one between Dispatcher and Operator.

Meeting Schedule

It was agreed that the Subcommittee would meet weekly until the end of May and then on the 1st and 3rd Thursday thereafter. Meetings would be from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. However, the issue of meeting space, the Public Forum etc., scheduled for May has prohibited this from happening. There are no WT Ops Subcommittee meetings scheduled at this time.

8. Report on Commission Meeting and Accessibility Matters - Valdo Tammark

Transit Service to Variety Village

Commissioners unanimously voted to operate every second bus trip on the 12 Kingston Rd route to a new bus stop on Danforth Avenue in front of Variety Village as of May 8, 2011. It was also approved to continue to operate the 406 Variety Village Community Link service to the recreational facility from Main Station during a transition period. The Community Link service is available to both ambulatory and non-ambulatory customers.

The TTC also provides services to Variety Village via the 20 Cliffside bus route and door-to-door service for Wheel-Trans registrants.  
ACTION: Glenn Johnston to provide Commission information regarding the new Variety Village stop to ACAT members.

9. Rocket Subway Trains  - Glenn Johnston

During the first week of May, one complete train set of Rocket Subway cars will be available for training purposes. Signs will be placed on these trains to indicate to passengers that they are for training only.

The first Rocket Subway cars, two to four trains, will be in operation in mid-June. ACAT members are invited to attend a presentation on the Rocket cars on May 4, 2011. Later in the month, it is likely that ACAT members will be able to view the Rocket cars. The media, the public, and employees will have the opportunity to view the Rocket on May 29, 2011.

10. Redundant Elevators – Feedback on Motions

At past ACAT meetings, the Committee strongly recommended that elevator redundancy be kept at the forefront of their agenda and that any new station designs incorporate elevator redundancy to better serve people with disabilities, the aging population, and increased ridership.

Ian Trites, Facility Co-ordinator - Architectural, TYSSE, advised that new station designs require a single barrier-free access route. In some cases, elevator redundancy could be provided; however, there could be significant costs. Some stations require more extensive renovations and might be done according to budgetary allowances. It was possible that reserving space within new designs could be done. (Steeles West Station has redundant elevators; York U and Finch Station designs have been able to set aside space for elevator upgrades).

ACAT expressed concern regarding the Yonge/Bloor elevators and future interchange stations between TTC and GO or other services.

Glenn Johnston reviewed a copy of Gary Webster’s correspondence to ACAT regarding elevator redundancy and confirmed that all of ACAT’s concerns had been addressed in the letter.

11. Bus Ramps - Operational Considerations

Bob Thacker, General Superintendent - Bus Transportation Department, supplied an update regarding the bus ramp deployment and Operator injury concerns while manually deploying ramps. The entire TTC fleet is equipped with ramps and/or lifts.

Statistics indicate that ramp reliability issues are high and that five Operators reported back injuries while deploying bus ramps. To manually deploy ramps, Operators needed to be down on all fours, and complete an awkward motion of lifting and pushing forward. The Bus Transportation Department has been working to create a ‘work-around plan’ to accommodate the needs of customers and address Operator safety.

The first idea of developing a tool to aid in manual ramp deployment was scrapped as it did not help deploy the ramp. A second tool, a wedge-like insert, which requires no lifting, is currently being developed to aid in ramp deployment. This wedge may involve a pilot project involving ACAT, and should be ready for use in the Summer of 2011.

Drivers must cycle ramps prior to completing the first round trip of the day. If the ramp is not operating, and if another vehicle is available, it will be dispatched. Maintenance has been diligently cleaning and maintaining the ramps. One ACAT member mentioned that during the last couple of months, issues with ramps have slightly subsided.

The current process is that Operators are asked to report ramp deployment issues to Transit Control. A supervisor will then be dispatched to their location to attempt to get the ramp working. (The response times using this method are poor.) The driver will be notified of when the next accessible vehicle will be able to pick up the passenger. The driver of the bus with the inoperative ramp will not leave the stop until confirmation that the following bus has an operative ramp.

If there are no other accessible buses available, as a last case scenario, TTC will arrange for Wheel-Trans to pick up the passenger.

Bob Thacker advised that all passengers who are affected by ramp deployment issues should report them to Customer Service, or call his office.

ACAT comments and suggestions:

  • Improved Operator education is required regarding accessibility issues.
  • A solution is needed for people who are already on a vehicle with ramp deployment issues, who need to get off at their stop.
  • If bus ramps are unable to be deployed, passengers can be taken to the nearest accessible subway station in order to be able to get off the bus.
  • Portable ramp bridge plates need to be developed, and stored at accessible subway stations
  • ACAT agreed that ramp deployment problems hinder the idea of integrated services, accessibility, and customer service.

12. Station Layout Pages

Bill Frost discussed the Station Layout Pages project with the Marketing Department and advised that funds are dedicated to this project in the 2011 and 2012 budgets. In the next month, work plans will be developed for this project.

13. People in Motion

The planning for the People in Motion event is progressing as scheduled. This year, the accessible bus will be parked outside of the building for a live setting. There are two 8’x10’ booths, with 6-foot tables located directly across an aisle facing each other. Informational DVDs will be presented, and maps will be available. There is also a vertical display with photos and/or accomplishments. Computers will be set up for trip planning, routes, maps.

Mazin asked if there would be print outs available for trips. The Service Planning Subcommittee has drafted an informational pamphlet that has been provided by the Communications Subcommittee.

ACAT provided their advice regarding the design and use of the Easier Access Flashcard which appears on the back cover of the Easier Access booklet. In spite of providing better visibility to Operators, the Subcommittee felt that the smaller-sized version of the card would be more beneficial as it could be worn around the neck or be easily transported. Although a larger size would allow the Operator to see it better.

The cards are designed for ambulatory passengers who may have a “hidden disability” and require the ramp to be deployed.

ACAT agreed that the smaller size card would be better.

Sam Savona asked if a staff member from the TTC conventional side could attend a Subcommittee meeting and also wanted clarification which Subcommittee is appropriate.

ACTION: Evelyn Gartner to check with the Service Planning Subcommittee Chair. Tom McPherson will talk to the Marketing Department.

14. Public Forum

Plans for the Public Form are proceeding according to schedule on the basis of advice received on April 20, 2011. Glenn Johnston has been in contact with TTC Marketing Department regarding materials for the Public Forum. All materials are in a similar format to that of the 2010 Public Forum.

In 2010, a three-part presentation included an introduction from the Chair, Mitch Stambler, and ACAT took place. The 2011 presentation has been shortened to allow for more time spent in discussion to gain public customer service feedback.

15. ACAT Minutes and Commission Agenda

ACTION:  Sam Savona to discuss ACAT Minutes and the Commission Agenda with Karen Stintz, TTC Chair.

16. Distribution ACAT Subcommittee Minutes

To facilitate prompt distribution of Subcommittee updates, the Administration Subcommittee recommended that all draft or approved Subcommittee minutes be distributed prior to ACAT meetings. 

It should be noted on all draft documents that they have not been approved; draft documents are not made available to the public and are for ACAT use only.

The distribution of Subcommittee minutes should be to the Subcommittee members and copy furnished to other ACAT members. There is no need for non-Subcommittee members to comment on draft minutes/notes.

17. Other / New Business - Nil

18. Next Meeting   -  May 26, 2011

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, May 26, 2011, in the 7th Floor Boardroom, 1900 Yonge Street.

19.  Adjournment

On motion by Heather Green, the meeting was adjourned at 3:15 p.m.

Lori Blinn
Recording Secretary