Below is a summary of the accessibility issues and suggestions for improvement raised by customers at the 2015 Public Forum regarding Wheel-Trans Operating Procedures. These suggestions were submitted during the meeting, on comment forms, and in comments to TTC Customer Service. Customer comments are accompanied by a summary of the current status of each issue.

Phone wait-times

Comments:

“The waiting time for customer service is too long.”

“The wait time to book a ride by telephone is often very long.”

“Waiting 30-60 minutes on phone is not acceptable.”

Response:

We acknowledge that there are still some challenges with wait times for the reservationist and customer service lines. We added two reservationists in 2014, seven in 2015 and plan on adding an additional two reservationists in 2016, which should further improve the wait times for customers. We also added two additional customer service representatives in 2015. Customer Service can also be reached at wtcs@ttc.ca. We continue to strive to improve our internal processes.

Booking Suggestions

Comments:

“It would be great if we could book regular trips longer than just a week prior to the trip request.”

“Eliminate the need for customers to book rides seven days in advance and go back to the old system of booking one day in advance.”

“If I call 1 week ahead for a ride but still can't get the desired time or any ride at all, it's frustrating!”

“Free cell call number 1-800 for virgin or #number like taxi.”

“TTC Wheel Trans booking representative was not polite and hung up the phone. What can I do to prevent this happening again?”

“It should be mandatory for all employees on phone to give their name.”

“I hope complaints to customer service make it to the right people so scary suspension warnings are not sent out.”

Response:

Regular trips can be booked up to 4 weeks in advance. Most customers have indicated that they prefer being able to plan their occasional trips up to 7 days in advance. On occasion Wheel-Trans is unable to accommodate a customer's trip request, even when booked in advance. This usually occurs when a customer has vehicle restrictions or requires a very specific time with no flexibility. We do accommodate more than 99% of customer trip requests. We are reviewing our booking processes to determine the best level of service.

Currently Bell, Telus and Rogers offer no charge calls to our Priority Line by Dialing # or *88298. We will investigate if this service can be extended to Virgin Mobile.

All phone lines are recorded for quality assurance. Employees are trained to answer the phone with their first name. All customer service reps can investigate and forgive a no show or late cancellation if it was issued in error. If you have any customer service issues when booking a ride, please contact Customer Service at 416-393-4111 to report it, or by emailing wtcs@ttc.ca.

Dispatch / Pickup

Comments:

“A phone call by the cab drivers should be automatic upon arrival. Sometimes they would arrive early and just sit there instead of notifying us.”

“Wheel-Trans are not allowed to buzz an apartment.”

“Sometimes medical appointments run late. Can there be a convenient option for a return pickup when it is missed?”

“Could you consider allowing a group pick up and drop off for the purpose of access to ongoing (week to week) recreation programs. These programs are usually offered in the off hours so it will not compete with rush hours.”

Response:

Thank you for the suggestions. We are reviewing new technologies and changes to the booking and scheduling system and pickup process to improve the level of service for all customers.
Currently we ask customers to allow for additional time should your medical appointment run later than expected. We are reviewing improvements in this area. In the meantime, if possible, a call to the Priority Line would assist you.
Wheel-Trans would be happy to create more group booking opportunities. Please contact customer service for group booking requests at 416-393-4111 or wtcs@ttc.ca

Wheel-Trans service reliability

Comments:

“Pickups time are not always reliable especially on the weekends.”

“Make Wheel-Trans more reliable.  People who use the service should not have the vehicle come really early when it is not expected”

“If the Wheel Trans bus is late than there should be a way of letting us know.”

“Notification system for late pickups to reduce use of priority line.”

“Could the TTC drivers use the new AVL system to call customers when late?”

“My suggestion is for the Wheel Trans driver to have access to the customer's phone number, in case they're late in traffic.”

“30 minutes is too long to find out if your ride is coming. It means an hour delay or more if your driver is late!”

Response: 

We are reviewing changes to the pickup process to provide the best level of service for all customers as well as reviewing new technologies to improve the level of service for all customers. We are planning to implement a call ahead feature that will notify customers of changes to their scheduled pickup.

Wheel-Trans trip length

Comments:

“Wheel-Trans should not keep me in the vehicle for more than 45 minutes.”

“The length of time in the vehicle should not be longer than 1.5 hours but it often is.”

Response:

Wheel-Trans is a share-ride service and we must accommodate as many trip requests as possible while still adhering to scheduled times. Current policy is a maximum in-vehicle time of 90 minutes. We are reviewing improvements to our booking and scheduling system.

Wheel-Trans eligibility

Comments:

“People with cognitive disabilities or brain injuries have difficulty using regular transit. They cannot manage getting to the bus stop without getting lost. I hope you will be opening up your accessibility to include more than mobility issues.”

“There needs to be better Wheel Trans services for individuals with mental disabilities such as autism.”

“I have heard rumours circulating for the last few months that Wheel-Trans has hired a consultant to review service delivery and customers eligibility. If this true, then customers/operators/drivers should be told about this as a means of giving feedback.”

“I noticed that while using this service that many people did not look like they really needed this service anymore.”

Response:

Wheel-Trans will be changing the eligibility and registration process in 2016 in accordance with AODA. The TTC has hired consultants WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff to complete a review on all Wheel-Trans processes. Public consultation will be a key part of the review and the recommendations for change. The TTC is developing a 10 year Wheel-Trans strategy, and public consultations will be a key part of the process.

Wheel-Trans does have a "Questionable Rider" program to identify customers who may no longer qualify for service. However, please keep in mind that there are many Wheel-Trans customers with invisible disabilities which may not be readily apparent to others.

Wheel-Trans policy

Comments:

“Pan Am games services - what did you do that worked so well? We need a priority on getting to work and doctor’s appointments.”

“Give priority to medical appointment bookings.”

“Not all policies are on the web despite request by Ombudsman.”

“Are contracted taxis and accessible taxis able to use subway station bus platforms or do we need to pay an extra fare? I was told on the phone that they could not use the platform.”

“There should also be provisions for those with disabilities to bring companion animals (only if well behaved) on Wheel-Trans. There are many people with disabilities that have dogs that aren't 'service dogs' and who need to be able to get them to the vet, etc.”

“Need to travel with more than one escort any day.”

Response:

Wheel-Trans was fortunate to participate in and benefit from the collaborative efforts of many city agencies during the games. Wheel-Trans does not prioritize trips based on purpose.

Wheel-Trans is compliant with all of the Ombudsman's requests for information to be posted to the TTC website. Please visit: http://www.ttc.ca/WheelTrans/index.jsp

Wheel-Trans buses and accessible minivan taxis can access the paid area at subway stations, so a customer would pay the driver as normal. If customers are accommodated on a sedan taxi they will be escorted inside the subway station.

Customers can travel with pet companions which are on a leash and or in a cage.

Wheel-Trans allows all customers to travel with one support person or companion Monday-Friday, and an unlimited amount on weekends and holidays. Unfortunately, space limitations on vehicles mean that we cannot offer this every day.

Wheel-Trans no shows

Comments:

“Is the driver who's assigned to pick you up not required to wait some time if he or she does not find you when he arrives?  If so, how long?”

“5 min wait time not honoured. Too many drivers go to the wrong address and no show you, not reading instructions on bookings.”

“Wheel-Trans is still communicating to riders by post-it notes.”

“Are there any plans to introduce a digital tool that would allow for better flexibility in scheduling trips, in changing trip plans, in being notified if Wheel-Trans drivers are late or if they are not coming beyond. I have missed so many Post-It Notes when I have missed a ride. I don't know where to look for the Post-It Notes.”

“No signage for no shows - public identity in plain view.”

Response:

Drivers must wait five minutes passed the scheduled pick-up time. We are reviewing improvements for the no-show policy in 2016 and will include your views. As well we are reviewing new technologies to improve the level of service for all customers.

Wheel-Trans RideLine and online booking

Comments:

“Why is there no capacity for customers to change or delete their regular rides online when our schedules change?”

“Cannot modify trips online.”

“When entering data regarding a booking, if I had to immediately cancel because the timing was too late and I wanted to put in an earlier time instead, everything had to be re-entered. It would be helpful to be able to recall the last attempted booking and repopulate all the fields to save time.”

“Create a line in booking menu for therapy dog. Sometimes dog comes and driver doesn't know.”

“Be clearer on online trip booking process. I am still not clear how it works and have been late for a couple of appointments.”

“I would like to see on the online system exactly what the driver sees on his run sheet!”

Response:

Upgrades to the online system are being reviewed for 2016, thank you for the suggestions. Customers can choose "service animal" from the list of assistive devices in the drop-down menu. The trip confirmation screen on the online system provides a specific pick up time and estimated drop off time. The drivers run sheet has the same information displayed slightly differently. Please contact Customer Service at 416-393-4111 or wtcs@ttc.ca to discuss any suggestions for improvements or questions regarding the "RideLine" system or online booking.

Wheel-Trans smartphone app

Comments:

“Would like to see an app for smartphones to easily register for rides.”

“Increase online system functionality such as ability to make same-day changes online.”

“Develop app for iPhone & Android. Updates/notifications via email, text messaging.”

“Can we have an app to indicate the location of the Wheel-Trans bus coming to pick me up?”

“Any updates re: type of vehicle or taxi company name being sent by email would be very helpful. Or texts to a cellphone.”

Response:

We are reviewing new technologies to improve the level of service for all customers. Thank you for the suggestions.

Other Wheel-Trans Questions

Comments:

“I really want to volunteer my time … so please pass my number to whoever needs. I want to help their seniors and Wheel-Trans users make it easy for them and drivers.”

“Can Wheel-Trans and taxi cabs clean their safety straps daily. I could smell the strong perfume on the straps.”

“I don't always receive the automated call after 9:00 p.m.”

“I was not able to understand the pick-up times or the taxi company picking me up.  The outgoing message was quite distorted.”

Response:

Thank you for the offer, at this time Wheel-Trans does not use volunteers. Wheel-Trans has a belt cleaning program and encourages customers to be considerate of others.

The call-out messaging for customer trip times and vehicle types has been tested. Please contact customer service at 416-393-4111 or wtcs@ttc.ca so that an investigation into the issues you are experiencing can be started.