1:00  -  3:30 p.m.
7th Floor Boardroom
1900 Yonge Street

Minutes of Meeting:

Advisory Committee on Accessible
Transportation – Meeting No. 245

Meeting Date:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Location:

7th Floor Boardroom
1900 Yonge Street

Present:

Sam Savona (Chair)
Mazin Aribi
Dorothy Creaser
Heather Green
Scott McArthur
Robert Muzzy
Anna Noviss
Craig Nicol
Lori March
Carole Anne Monet
Angela Rebeiro
Valdo Tammark (Vice Chair)
Howard Wax (Vice Chair)

TTC Representatives:
Bill Frost
Tom McPherson
Janet O’Sullivan
Glenn Johnston
Donna Bryant

Regrets:

Elaine Prescod
Brayan Bratanov
Susan Davidson (Ex-Officio)

Copies:

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

Items Discussed

  1. Call to Order / Attendance
  2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
  3. Approval of Agenda
  4. Review and Approval of September 29, 2011 Minutes (ATTACHED)
  5. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items
  6. Deputations: Mr. Anthony Fernando
  7. PRESTO – Update
  8. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
  9. Report on Commission Meeting and Accessibility Matters
  10. ACAT Terms of Reference
  11. Review of  Correspondence
  12. Other / New Business
  13. Next Meeting –  November 24, 2011
  14. 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 Howard Wax and seconded by Carol Anne Monet, ACAT reviewed and approved the agenda.

4) Review and Approval of September 29, 2011 Minutes

On motion of Carol Anne Monet seconded by Anna Noviss, ACAT reviewed and approved the minutes of September 29, 2011 meeting with amendments.

5) Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items – Nil

Outstanding Items – October 2011

Action: Last column, last line, change “TBD” to “pending date from Marketing”.

6) Deputations

Mr. Anthony Fernando, a representative of taxi drivers contracted by Wheel-Trans, presented issues regarding working conditions faced by Wheel-Trans contracted taxi drivers. Approximately 50% of the Wheel-Trans service is provided by contracted taxi drivers.
 
Mr. Fernando will be seeking further meetings with the TTC to address these issues.

Bill Frost informed the members that, in 2008, TTC awarded a 5-year contact to three accessible taxi services (Royal, Scarborough City Cab, and Associate Toronto Taxi Cab Cooperative) to supplement current Wheel-Trans services. Beck Taxi and Coop Taxi were also given the right to provide sedan services. This contract will be reviewed next year. 

The Wheel-Trans contracted taxi service is negotiated with the various taxi companies and not with the individual drivers; consequently, individual drivers should be voicing their concerns to the contracted companies.

ACAT members felt that this was not a matter for ACAT to address and that this was a matter to be resolved between the drivers and their brokers. ACAT referred the issue to staff.

7) PRESTO – Update

David Smith from PRESTO gave a presentation providing an update on PRESTO services, what they mean for the TTC, and how ACAT would be involved in the TTC’s application for PRESTO. Mr. Smith also wanted to ensure that the language used is clear and understood between all parties during the various phases of creating, designing, and implementing the devices.

The PRESTO card is designed as:

  • A way to pay fares
  • A way to settle payments to transit service providers and banks
  • A way to collect information, fares, and revenues, and distribute them (serves as a central service bureau)
  • A single fare card for paying fares across the GTA

PRESTO is a large part of Metrolinx and their regional plans. It will be a platform for Metrolinx to deal with integrated fares and increased ridership across the GTA. It has customer, local transit, and regional implications.

The following benefits of PRESTO to customers were identified:

  • One card, one form of payment
  • Can use multiple systems for payment
  • Can get information on services using many different methods (e.g. web, call centre, in person)
  • Auto load option allows the balance on a card to be increased, so customers do not have to worry about not having enough balance on their card when taking public transit
  • Protection for lost or stolen cards if registered. There is no cost for registering a card.

The benefits of PRESTO to Transit Operators were identified as:

  • Customer trip analysis 
  • Reduce fraud
  • Offers flexible payment schemes
  • Better for the environment

Currently there are 8 transit systems that are fully deployed with PRESTO, including the TTC (on a limited basis). 5,000 devices have been installed which includes over 2,000 buses, all 7 GO regional lines, all 61 stations. 130 Viva stations are involved. Twelve devices at TTC subway stations have been installed (2 more to come by the end of the year). Currently, with those 12 TTC stations, 6,000 to 8,000 customers per day are being served.

PRESTO services in Ottawa were presented. PRESTO services will be started in Ottawa in 2012. Ottawa is using different devices to what is being used in the GTA, and is using a different manufacturer. This past spring/summer, PRESTO looked into the devices with consumers, including those with accessibility needs. They also looked into the physical design of the device (e.g. height, etc.) and the man-machine interface (i.e. font, brightness, sounds).  Generally, there was positive feedback from consumers in Ottawa who were invited in that process. 

Craig Nicol asked if the design features such as brightness and accessibility are being addressed for Toronto, as that is a big concern. He feels that all of the design features mentioned so far do not address accessibility issues faced by a visually impaired person.

Mr. Smith stated that for devices at any unattended location, Ottawa required that audio jacks be provided. Options are available to accommodate any accessibility issues in Toronto.

Mr. Smith addressed accessibility, some of the roles and responsibilities, how features are incorporated into the system, and ongoing communication with ACAT. Some key messages were stated:

  • With the TTC, ACAT will be consulted on a regular basis
  • The current relationships that ACAT has, as a Committee, and with the TTC will be maintained
  • ACAT will be involved at key points in the design phase.

PRESTO is committed to meeting current accessibility standards and guidelines, and to be able to evolve as those standards and guidelines move forward. PRESTO’s intent with customers, in particular customers with disabilities, is to allow them to be as self-reliant as possible, and to use the system with independence and dignity. This is why multiple channels are offered e.g., to check balances via the web, call centres, etc.

An accessibility advisory group has been set up to ensure that PRESTO receives information on whether or not the system is accessible, how it is usable, and what can be done in the future. The group was set up with representatives from municipal and regional transit agencies. PRESTO asked a number of other organizations involved in accessibility to participate. The participants looked at the physical aspects of prototype devices (e.g., design height, tilt of the device, and man-machine interface). Requirements for these devices were already established, but participants looked at whether or not various aspects could be changed (e.g., font, speed, volume, and other items that need to be accommodated).

Going forward, PRESTO will be setting up customer panels. PRESTO had asked some customers with accessibility needs to test the PRESTO card and to discuss their findings. Customer service issues rather than system issues were identified (e.g., difficulty in registering the card).  PRESTO intends to continue to get feedback from a broader group.

Features of PRESTO:

1) The card is contactless (i.e. the card does not need to be taken out of a wallet or bag).
2) It does not matter how the card is oriented to the device.
3) Can put money on the card in four different ways. Customers do not have to go to a ticket agent (e.g., auto-load, website, call centre, agent)
4) Ease of device use (e.g., messaging on the screen, there are lights and audible sounds)
5) Website is WAG 2 compliant. Introductory lessons are available based on American Sign Language.

Currently, PRESTO is in its first phase and continuing on to its next generation. A second generation of software is being developed and is designed to be applicable to the TTC. 

In November, TTC staff will be providing business requirement recommendations to the Commission with regard to PRESTO. Once approval from the TTC has been received, PRESTO will move to the design phase. ACAT will be able to provide input through the TTC. Once the design is finished, PRESTO will move to a manufacturing process. A prototype will be developed which will be a specific design device made with the application requested. At this point, TTC and ACAT will be asked to look at the man-machine interface and review the progress (e.g., is it loud enough, how big is the font). PRESTO will then move into phased implementation and then into operations.

There was concern from members when PRESTO indicated that they would like to get the Commission to approve the project by November 23, 2011. It was felt that before this occurs, ACAT should be able to provide recommendations to the Commission and know if the design is going to be in line with ACAT standards. Donna Bryant answered that, as part of the approval to proceed with PRESTO, it is subject to acceptable agreements between the TTC and Metrolinx. The TTC has provided PRESTO with very detailed requirements and has recommended the requirements. The requirements submitted to Presto do not just state that it should be AODA compliant, information was taken from the ACAT Design Review Subcommittee and have included specificity to the level of the CSA Standard 651.1 (Accessible Design for Automated Banking Machines). The standards for accessible design for self-service interactive devices, and tactile lettering and symbols have also been included. 

PRESTO stated that there is an initial design, a preliminary design, and a final design, and that ACAT would have input into those design stages.

Brian Drew, Senior Policy Advisor with the Province of Ontario assigned to the PRESTO program, stated that the TTC has provided PRESTO with the business requirements needed for the TTC to operate a PRESTO system. Brian Drew assured ACAT that the PRESTO design requirements will meet ACAT requirements. 

Action: David Smith to provide ACAT with an electronic copy of the presentation.

Donna Bryant will provide ACAT with an update regarding the meeting on November 23, 2011 and subsequent next steps.

8) Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Action: Subcommittees to provide brief summaries/outlines of their respective reports to go into the meeting minutes.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS)

Anna Noviss provided an update on actions and on the report from the Service Planning Subcommittee. 

The SPS had two meetings in October and the members participated in a joint meeting with some members of the ACAT Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.

The majority focus of both meetings was the continuation of the assessment of the public’s comments as a result of the 2011 Public Forum and receiving input from the Chairs and/or the members of the other ACAT Subcommittees. The other items discussed included the Subcommittee’s reply to a City of Toronto department, the assessment of the terms of reference for a new subcommittee, the Subcommittee’s consideration for updating the customer service report, and updates on the activities of other subcommittees on matters referred to them by the ACAT Service Planning Subcommittee.

Advice – Public Forum

The Subcommittee continued to provide advice on the comments received from the public as a result of the 2011 Public Forum.

The SPS’ classification of comments into the four major groupings (Specialized Service, Conventional Service, Other (policy issues, fair issues, etc.) and Conduct on the Forum) has assisted in determining what items should be referred to the Chairs of other subcommittees.

Further details on the discussions on the Public Forum can be found in the minutes of the SPS meetings.

The SPS discussed how staff could proceed with the development of summaries of the information and actions to be taken as a result of the 2011 Public Forum.

The SPS is asking the other three Subcommittees to periodically provide updates on the investigations, generating advice to the TTC, and actions taken to address the potential improvements requested by TTC’s customers with disabilities.

City of Toronto Responsibilities

The SPS concluded the discussions on the difficulties for people with disabilities accessing stops and shelters on the streets of the City of Toronto. The Subcommittee’s observations were subsequently shared with the City department responsible for the removal of snow and other impediments from City streets.

Customer Service – Notes

The SPS decided not to update the paper on Customer Service until ACAT has selected a representative for the Customer Liaison Panel and, in consultation with the representative, it will be determined what may be required.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS)

Dorothy Creaser provided an update on the report from Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.

The members of the WTOS were asked to attend a joint meeting with the ACAT Service Planning Subcommittee on October 5, 2011 to discuss the list of customer comments pertaining to the TTC’s specialized transit services. ACAT members shared observations on the public’s comments from the Public Forum in each of the five groupings pertaining to specialized services as follows:

a) Reservations/Appointment Bookings - six broad concerns from registrants were discussed.  It was suggested that Wheel-Trans and/or the WTOS investigate and provide advice on the improvements suggested by the public.
b) Scheduling Complaints/Suggestions - there were six broad concerns for more detailed assessment and advice as determined appropriate.
c) Marketing and Customer Service – a single broad concern for investigation and advice.
d) Service Reliability – a single broad concern for investigation and advice.
e) Vehicles (Buses, Taxis, Minivans) – four broad concerns from registrants were discussed.  It was suggested that Wheel-Trans and/or the WTOS investigate and provide advice on each of these.

The WTOS will periodically update the ACAT Service Planning Subcommittee and ACAT on the progress being made on the various action items to be pursued to improve specialized service in Toronto.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS)

Craig Nicol provided an update on the Design Review Subcommittee.

The DRS had one meeting in October, which focused on dealing with items from the Public Forum presented to the DRS by the Service Planning Subcommittee. Recommendations were provided for the DRS to consider various issues related to future station and vehicles designs. The DRS feedback was forwarded to the Service Planning Subcommittee.

Communications Subcommittee (CS)

Angela Rebeiro provided an update on the Communications Subcommittee.

The CS members discussed how to handle future meetings. Members learned that henceforth there would be two follow-up lists. One will be an Outstanding Items list, representing follow up requested by the TTC to Subcommittee advisors. The other will be a Proposed Items list, representing requests made by Subcommittee members regarding issues they might have bumped into when travelling the system, or ideas or opinions they might have about TTC accessible matters.

The Subcommittee has also completed the review of the Customer Service Panel Report.

9) Report on Commission Meeting and Accessibility Matters

Valdo Tammark provided an update on this agenda item.

In the TTC report from June/July, the Councillors had requested that the TTC look into expediting the process for making Keele Station accessible. TTC staff presented findings from the investigation to the Design Review Subcommittee. It was found that there is a fewer number of seniors using Keele Station now than when the request was initially put forward. For this reason, the TTC rejected the request to expedite making the station accessible. The report on this matter states that ACAT supported this decision.  

In regard to accessibility, a meeting was held by an organization called The TTC Riders at the North York Civic Centre. Chris Upfold attended the meeting. Four other organizations that deal with improving public transit were also present. Participants questioned and discussed why all stations are not accessible. ACAT members were informed that these meetings are interesting meetings to attend. This organization holds monthly meetings in other parts of the City as well. The website address is www.ttcriders.com and meeting minutes are provided on the website. Participants showed a keen interest in joining the Customer Service Liaison Panel. Chris Upfold suggested that the various organizations nominate one representative as their spokesperson to participate in his group.

10) ACAT Terms of Reference

An ACAT Special Meeting was held on October 12, 2011 to review and amend the ACAT Terms of Reference (TOR).

Bill Frost suggested a ratification be voted that is acceptable to everyone in advance of the next meeting so that it can be taken to the November Commission meeting and for the vote to be verified and ratified at the next meeting.

Action: A clean final copy version of the TOR is to be sent to ACAT members for review and to respond via email. ACAT members are to send their response (approval, objection, concerns, and changes) to the Chair. Any concerns raised or changes suggested should be sent to the Chair and all ACAT members for review. The Chair will contact respective individuals to discuss any concerns that they raise or changes that they suggest. The Chair will determine whether or not there is consensus for approval of the Terms of Reference and will notify ACAT members.

On motion by Howard Wax seconded by Dorothy Creaser, ACAT members were all in favour for a final clean version of the terms of reference to be sent to ACAT members for approval and for the chair to determine if there is a consensus for approval.

Subcommittee Guidelines have been reviewed and amendments will be made. A final version will be forwarded to ACAT Members.

Action: A final clean copy of the Subcommittee Guidelines is to be circulated to ACAT Members.

11) Review of  Correspondence – Nil

12) Other / New Business

Action: With respect to the email sent by Valdo Tammark regarding the Subcommittee roles and the regrouping of the Subcommittees, the Subcommittees will be listed in alphabetical order.

Glenn Johnston informed the members that no date has been determined for the viewing of the Legacy Streetcar as yet.

The presentation on November 4, 2011 will be from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will be held at 1900 Yonge Street.

Appointing a Member to the Customer Liaison Panel will be determined in the new year.

13) Next Meeting –  November 24, 2011

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, November 24, 2011, in the 7th Floor Boardroom, 1900 Yonge Street.

14) Adjournment

On motion by Howard Wax, the meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

Subashna Moktan
Recording Secretary