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Message from Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans

Eve Wiggins

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In this Special Edition Newsletter I am very pleased to share with you a host of changes and improvements to the services we provide to our Wheel-Trans customers.

The Wheel-Trans team has been out in the city, discussing the Transformation Program and 10-Year Strategy at the Toronto Seniors’ Forum, People in Motion, the City of Toronto’s Newcomer Day and a number of travel training information sessions across the city. Our staff also had a booth at Lawrence West station to provide information about the Community Bus, and in Stan Wadlow Park after participating in the East Canada Day Parade. We look forward to meeting with you at our future events, starting with the 2018 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit on September 13 and Humber River Hospital’s community open house on September 22!

After a successful pilot, the Family of Services is now a permanent service offering, allowing for more travel choices for our customers. I would like to thank everyone who made the pilot a success! Travel training will continue to be offered for all those who want a bit of support prior to regularly using the new services offering.

We have a number of exciting improvements to our customer service, beginning with the new call-back phone system. We also have a new booking website coming out later this fall, new options for PRESTO fares and a Share the Space Campaign on our subways, buses and streetcars to raise awareness for customers who require seats on conventional transit.

We recently launched a number of new policies, including a new Code of Conduct, Door-to-Door, Mobility Aids and Assistive Devices and Environmental Sensitivity policy. We look forward to even more policies rolling out in the coming months reflecting the new ways we’re delivering services to you.

The TTC continues to work on infrastructure changes in meeting AODA requirements for 2025; the Coxwell Station elevators are now complete, and elevator projects at six new stations are underway. Platform gaps are also being evaluated and fixed to meet with accessibility standards.

Finally I would like to welcome the TTC’s new CEO Rick Leary, who has been a champion of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy and Transformation Program from the very beginning. We look forward to continuing to work with him in all of our endeavours towards continued and improved accessibility on the TTC.

Tips for trips

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Here are some tips to keep in mind when travelling on Wheel-Trans:

  • Book trips as soon as possible. Bookings can be made up to seven days in advance
  • Visit www.mywheel-trans.ttc.ca to book trips online. Online booking is available two hours earlier than the reservations line, allowing customers to book their trip anytime between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week.
  • When calling the Reservations Line, please have your registration number ready along with the destination address, day and time you would like your trip
       scheduled.
  • Take conventional transit for all or part of your trip with Family of Services.
  • Same day trips are guaranteed if you travel Family of Services.
  • Make sure your destination's operating hours coincide with the time you plan to arrive.
  • If possible, consider travelling at off-peak times to avoid heavy traffic.
  • Be ready and waiting five minutes before your scheduled pick-up time.

Share the Space campaign

Blue poster featuring seated figures with one in a wheelchair. Once you see me please share the space with me.

Listen to an audio version of Share the Space campaign (2 MB)

Maybe you've seen the following advertisement on conventional buses, streetcars and the subway?

This is part of the TTC's Share the Space campaign encouraging customers to offer their seat to people with disabilities, the elderly or pregnant customers. 

The TTC has been working hard to make the system accessible to everyone by providing priority seating on every vehicle to accommodate people with disabilities, elderly and pregnant women as well as flip-down seats on new buses to create more flexible space for customers with strollers and wheelchairs. This campaign helps to remind customers to share the space with their fellow commuters.

TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit

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The Public Forum on Accessible Transit is just a few weeks away. This year’s forum will update customers about TTC accessibility initiatives, including Family of Services, Travel Training, the Community Bus pilot and the Easier Access Project. We will also be gathering feedback from customers about possible improvements to the TTC’s conventional and specialized transit services.

Date:
Thursday September 13, 2018

Location:
Beanfield Centre (formerly Allstream Centre) Exhibition Place
105 Princes' Boulevard

Meet with TTC management, staff, and ACAT members between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The forum will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

How to get there:
An accessible TTC  bus will operate a shuttle service from Bathurst Station to the Beanfield Centre starting at 5 p.m. Return buses will start at 9 p.m.

Customers can also travel on the accessible 509 Harbourfront streetcar from Union Station to the nearest stop to the Beanfield Centre at Strachan Avenue (approximately 300 metres walk).

For assistance in planning your trip using the conventional TTC call 416-393-4636.
Wheel-Trans customers can book their trips starting one week prior to the event on-line at mywheel-trans.ttc.ca, calling Wheel-Trans, 416-393-4222 or the Family of Services line, 416-397-5852.

Due to the high volume of customers attending this event, please note that all return trips will be organized after the event finishes at 9:00 p.m. and will not be scheduled in advance.

Emergency Protocol

 The Designated Waiting Area at Sheppard-Yonge platform.

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The TTC is committed to helping all customers travel safely across the system.

Customers who require assistance in a subway station at any time, including during an unplanned closure/emergency, should use the intercoms located at the Designated Waiting Area (DWA) or any elevator to speak with station staff who will contact emergency responders.

If possible, customers may also return to the subway and travel to the next accessible station. Transit Control will advise customers of significant delays and any accessibility impacts via eAlerts at @TTCnotices on Twitter.

A Message from ACAT

ACAT Chair Rayond Dell'Aera

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Welcome to the fall issue of Access. So far, 2018 has been one of the busiest years on record for ACAT and accessibility at the TTC.

There are many new initiatives that ACAT has had input on that will significantly improve your experience using Wheel-Trans, such as a new phone system with call-back capabilities, a new booking website coming later this fall and a new clear set of customer policies.

Family of Services has now finished its pilot phase and due to the success of the pilot, Wheel-Trans will continue to offer this convenient and spontaneous service for our customers. Thank you to everyone who participated and provided feedback during the pilot, as this gave valuable insight into what worked well and what needs improvement.

I strongly encourage you to check out Family of Services and its benefits and determine how it could meet your needs. The TTC has recently launched a travel training program, which is a great way to safely learn how to travel on conventional fixed route services, buses, streetcars and subways with support from an experienced travel trainer.

Speaking of subways, I want to note two more pieces of good news. First, this year saw the completion of elevators at Coxwell station, with another six stations currently under construction.

Second, the TTC has begun work to fix large platform gaps at some stations, making it easier for customers using mobility devices to board and exit subway trains.

I hope to see you at the TTC’s Annual Public Forum on Accessible Transit on September 13. Your voice impacts priorities and helps us get closer to our goal - access for all.

Wheel-Trans in the city

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June was a busy month for the Wheel-Trans team who participated in numerous events throughout the city:

  • We presented the 10-Year Strategy to the Toronto Senior's Forum at City Hall.
  • We attended the People in Motion Show, along with the members from TTC's Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) to promote the 10-Year Strategy, Family of Services and Travel Training Pilot. 
  • We participated in the fourth annual City of Toronto's Newcomer Day to educate customers about the TTC and Wheel-Trans.
  • We held travel training sessions in Scarborough, Etobicoke, North York and East York to help customers learn more about accessibility and how to travel safely and independently on the TTC's conventional transit.

TTC staff will be at numerous community events over the coming months. For customers who wish to attend, information will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and on ttc.ca.

Accessibility at TTC's Line 1 extension stations

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Recently, an advocacy group posted a YouTube video raising concerns about accessibility at stations on the Line 1 extension.

The TTC remains fully committed to meeting or exceeding requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) by the deadline of 2025.

While the TTC has been proudly leading in the area of accessibility, the video did highlight a few issues. TTC staff are reviewing with a view to implement corrective measures where needed, including as an example, opportunities for new braille signage and installing a new curb ramp at York University Station to access the south side of the campus.  

Elevators are not required at every entrance, but in some cases secondary elevators have been installed. At York University Station, space has been allocated for future installation of an elevator at the south entrance, should funding allow.

The TTC’s priority under the Easier Access program is to continue to add elevators in stations that are not yet accessible. Design standards will be updated to provide additional elevators at future stations. Once all existing subway stations are accessible, the TTC will consider adding more elevators at existing stations as part of a future phase of Easier Access.

While many accessibility features are working well at new stations, the TTC is committed to correcting any deficiencies and ensuring customers can be accommodated.

TTC testing platform markers to improve customer flow

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The TTC has installed new markers along the platform at York University Station that will allow customers to see where the train doors will open and keep the areas clear for those exiting.

With the new Automatic Train Control (ATC) system operating on the Line 1 extension, the TTC is already testing ways to take advantage of the technology to improve operating efficiency where it can. These markers are possible because ATC guides trains to the same precise stopping location every time.

In addition to the markers on the floor, accessible symbols have also been installed at various places on the platform to indicate where accessible seating is located on the subway.

When fully rolled out on Line 1 in a couple of years, ATC will improve service reliability and provide an option to increase capacity on the line.

York University Station was selected because it is the busiest location that is not a terminal station with ATC available. The durability of the markings and impact on customer flow will be monitored throughout the fall before expanding the program.

Transformation Project

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Update on Transformation Program 
Over the past number of months, the Wheel-Trans team have been working diligently to meet the goals outlined in the 10-Year-Strategy, and have made significant headway to improve the customer experience and service delivery.

Family of Services part of regular service delivery
Due to the success of the Family of Services (FOS) Pilot, we are pleased to announce that Wheel-Trans is going to continue to offer this convenient and flexible service for customers.

More than 1,400 customers took 9,471 FOS trips, and 4,829 surveys conducted over the year-long pilot proved FOS was a welcome service delivery option. Over 70 per cent of Wheel-Trans customers are satisfied with the service, and over 85 per cent of our customers are going to continue to use the TTC's Family of Services program.

Customers also provided valuable insights and based on their feedback in the next few months, we will be adding more route selections and providing a simple, website application to book FOS trips.

No more holding on the phone!
In July a new, modernized telephone system was launched in the Wheel-Trans Reservations Contact Centre. The system provides customers with greater flexibility when booking trips. Instead of having to remain on hold, customers can now request a contact centre representative call them back. Callers will also be informed of their position in the queue and can simply provide a phone number to be contacted at and go on with their day. The system also accepts far more calls into its queue so you will always be able to get through to hold or ask for a call back if we don’t answer the phone.

Navigating conventional transit with Travel Training
Travel Training is the TTC’s new program for Wheel-Trans customers to receive free, personalized support to learn the features and things to look out for when riding a conventional bus, subway, streetcar and Community Bus.

The goal is to support customers who want to learn how to travel safely and independently by providing them with the skills and confidence to do so.

The program provides up to four, one-hour sessions to help customers with: trip planning, navigation, paying fare, boarding vehicles, requesting accessible features and problem-solving tips when unexpected challenges, such as delays and closures, arise. Desrianne McIlwrick, Lead Travel Trainer, described why she loves the Travel Training program:

“As the TTC’s Lead Travel Trainer, I am honoured to have the opportunity to support customers as they learn to travel on the conventional fixed-route service. Walking alongside a customer through their journey to greater independence and self-confidence is so meaningful. The TTC’s Travel Training program has been designed to give customers the personalized one-on-one training that works for them, making each customers’ experience unique to them. Seeing someone master the skills they didn't think were possible, seeing an increase in their self-esteem and knowing the positive impact that it has on their life is so rewarding and why I love my job!”

The switch from Wheel-Trans to conventional transit, or a combination of the two, have been rewarding for many of our customers. ACAT Chair Raymond Dell’Aera shared his motivation for using conventional transit and how the transition from Wheel-Trans has made his life easier on the TTC.

“I decided to try using conventional buses and subways several years ago while attending university in order to travel to and from school without having to do as much planning. I found that quickly got comfortable with this new form of transit, and began using it more regularly than Wheel-Trans. It allowed me to stay on campus for events and activities that I wasn’t able to know about in advance, increasing my independence. I also felt more integrated with my peers. Today, I mostly use conventional transit when travelling within the city, and would recommend that those who can should try to experience the same, because it has had a positive impact on my life.”

Stories like Raymond’s are the reason why the TTC has created the Travel Training program. We understand that using conventional transit may be new to some and intimidating for others. The TTC aims to ensure the best travel experience for all customers and is working to ensure our customers have the tools they need to use TTC services safely and independently.

Daniel Waldman being travel trained by Orientation and Mobility Specialist, Desrianne McIllwrick.

Change in Booking Experience
You will have noticed that your trips are held longer on the wait list before a definitive pick up time is provided. This is to make the most efficient use of all of our resources and continue to give almost all customers a trip.  We've heard from many customers that they are taken far out of their way or have to go past their destination and back track in order to pick up other customers. To eliminate this and provide better group trips, we have to hold a 30 minute window on your trip time to be able to best match your trip with others in the area so that in the end you receive the most efficient and direct journey possible.

We know that this change has been frustrating to many customers who rely on the exact trip time to book other services such as home care and we are working to try to limit the amount of time your trip will be held on the waiting list. 

New policies for a safer and more respectful transit experience 
The Wheel-Trans Customer Experience Strategy includes a commitment to update all customer policies over the next year with goals of creating policies that are simple and flexible, as well as creating a safe and respectful environment for all. By defining clear rules and guidelines for all persons using or interacting with Wheel-Trans, customers will know what to expect and how Wheel-Trans will support them on their journey.

To date, Wheel-Trans has implemented five policies:

Code of Conduct:  The Wheel-Trans Code of Conduct Policy protects the integrity of the TTC in accordance with By-Law No. 1.  The Code of Conduct Policy defines rules and guidelines that all persons must follow while using TTC services or interacting with TTC customers and staff. The new Code of Conduct Policy enables Wheel-Trans to take immediate action if a customer threatens the TTC's safe and respectful environment. In an effort to keep Wheel-Trans safe, customers who violate the code of conduct policy may be suspended. For extreme offenses, customers can face criminal charges.

Door-to-Door: The Door-to-Door Policy presents clear guidelines on what to expect when being escorted to and from the vehicle during Wheel-Trans pick-ups and drop-offs for both door-to-door trips and trips to Family of Services landmarks.

Mobility Aids and Assistive Devices:  Accommodating customers using mobility aids or assistive devices is important to us. This policy ensures that customers know what equipment and devices Wheel-Trans can accommodate on its vehicles in order to ensure everyone's safety.

Vehicle Exception: Wheel-Trans offers a variety of different vehicles in their fleet, in order to provide efficient service to all customers. A vehicle exception occurs when a customer requires a specific vehicle type due to the nature of their disability. When customers are unable to travel in one or more of the vehicle types in the Wheel-Trans fleet, this may limit both the customers' available trip options and the efficiency of Wheel-Trans scheduling. This policy defines the rules and guidelines for addressing these vehicle requirements.

Environmental Sensitivity: For customers prone to chemical sensitivities, allergies and scent sensitivities, the Environmental Sensitivity Policy will be put in place to encourage a scent-free environment while using Wheel-Trans services and to define how Wheel-Trans will handle situations when customers encounter scents while on board a vehicle.

Late cancellation/No-Show:
Last September the late cancellation/no-show policy came into effect whereby we encouraged consideration among customers when booking/cancelling their trips because of the adverse consequences associated with late cancellation, no-show and cancel-at-the-door occurrences.

Detailed information about these policies can be found on www.ttc.ca/WheelTrans/Customer_Polices.jsp

More Access Hubs!
The TTC's first Access Hub, a shelter aimed at providing a comfortable waiting space for Wheel-Trans customers in transit, is now in service at Meadowvale Loop in Scarborough. The Access Hub boasts multiple features, including heaters and accessible doors that are wave activated, good lighting and generous seating that can accommodate several customers using mobility devices.

The second Access Hub will be opening in the next few months near Humber College north campus, with 16 more hubs scheduled for construction in 10 key locations across the city over the next year. This initiative is part of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy and is partially funded by the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.

Results from public consultations
Last spring, the TTC hosted four public consultation meetings on the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy. They outlined the changes we are making and were also held to get feedback from our customers. We focused on improving the customer experience by anticipating customer's needs and making Wheel-Trans more modern, simple and flexible.

The four public meetings were held between April and May and began with an open house where guests were welcome to explore information about the 10-Year Strategy and speak with TTC staff and ACAT members. After the open house portion we gave a presentation and then a panel of Wheel-Trans and ACAT leadership answered questions from the audience.

For a complete report on the meetings, please go to http://www.ttc.ca/WheelTrans/Strategy/summary.jsp

People speaking at a meeting

Community Bus events
The Community Buses provide local service in various neighborhoods in the city, linking important destinations for those who need it most. Anyone can ride the community bus for a TTC fare. All they have to do is be at one of the community bus stop locations or wave down the bus anywhere along the route. The TTC is piloting route expansions to the 400 Lawrence Manor and the 404 East York Community Bus routes.
In an effort to increase ridership, TTC staff has been promoting these expansion routes as well as updating information on our other three Community Bus routes. 

TTC staff hosted an information booth in Lawrence West Station to inform customers about the 400 Lawrence Manor service and hand out goodies. Those we spoke to were happy to learn that anyone can ride the Community Bus for a TTC fare or transfer.

On Canada Day, the Community Bus, along with TTC staff, ACAT members and friends and family, proudly participated in the East York Canada Day parade. After the parade, participants and their families and friends gathered in Stan Wadlow Park where the TTC hosted an information booth to promote the 404 East York Community Bus.

Upcoming Events:
Wheel-Trans will be participating in Humber River Hospital’s community open house on September 22. As a major community destination on the 400 Community Bus route, we are thrilled to be part of this exciting event. We will also be hosting numerous information booths along the 400 Lawrence Manor route this fall to promote this service. Route 404 East York also provides Ride n’ Learn opportunities, with the next one taking place on September 13, at 1:16 p.m., when a Pharmacist from FreshCo boards the 404 and remains on the bus until 2:57 p.m.

Wheel-Trans Transformation Program team members Yuval Grinspun and Kathleen Barret having fun in front of the Community Bus at East York Canada Day Parade

Faster complaint resolution
The TTC recently launched a new system where the turn-around time for resolution of customer complaints will be significantly reduced. The new system will better track customer complaints coming in through both Wheel-Trans and TTC call centres, websites and social media. Routing of incidents will be sent to the appropriate customer service departments in a few hours instead of days.

We want to know…
If you prefer to receive this communication electronically, or if you require this information in an alternate accessible format, please let us know by contacting Wheel-Trans customer service: wtcs@ttc.ca or 416-393-4111.

More fare options available on PRESTO

Listen to an audio version of More fare options available on PRESTO (11.5 MB)

TTC Monthly Passes and 12-Month Passes are now available for all adults, seniors and youths to purchase on PRESTO.

The TTC Monthly Pass on PRESTO costs the same ($146.25 for adults and $116.75 for seniors/youths) and provides the same unlimited travel for a month as a regular Metropass.

The 12-Month Pass on PRESTO costs the same ($134 for adults and $107 for seniors/youths), provides the same monthly discount and unlimited travel for a month, and requires the same 12-month commitment as the Metropass Discount Plan (MDP).  However, unlike the MDP pass which is mailed each month, the 12-Month Pass on PRESTO is automatically available on a customer's PRESTO card each month.

Customers can purchase their TTC Monthly Pass or 12-Month Pass on PRESTO in the following ways:

TTC Monthly Passes on PRESTO 

  • At select Shoppers Drug Mart locations
  • From PRESTO Fare Vending Machines at select TTC subway station entrances
  • Online at www.prestocard.ca
  • Seniors and youths must bring government issued identification to Shoppers Drug Mart or the TTC's Customer Service Centre to set their fare type on their card before they can purchase a TTC Monthly Pass on PRESTO. 

12-Month Pass on PRESTO 

  • Only available online at www.prestocard.ca.
  • Before customers can purchase at 12-Month Pass on PRESTO they must:
         1. Set their fare type on their PRESTO card (i.e. senior/youth) at select Shoppers Drug Mart locations or at the TTC's Customer Service Centre above
             Davisville Station. You must show government issued photo identification.
         2. Create a My PRESTO Account (register your card) online at www.prestocard.ca.
         3. Sign up for the 12-Month Pass at www.prestocard.ca.

Current MDP customers who would like to switch from MDP to the 12-Month Pass must cancel their contract with the TTC before the fifth of the month, anytime between now and December, and sign a new contract with PRESTO. Cancellation fees will be waived. If customers do not cancel their MDP before the end of this year, their last MDP pass will be mailed in November for the December pass period.

In addition to the TTC Monthly Pass and 12-Month Pass on PRESTO, a new two-hour transfer is available to PRESTO customers only. With the two-hour transfer PRESTO customers can hop on and hop off the TTC and switch direction within two hours from their first tap, without being charged another fare. The TTC's same transfer rules still apply to customers who pay by cash, tickets or tokens (continuous one-way journey with no stop overs).

PRESTO card readers are available on all Wheel-Trans buses. The TTC continues to work with PRESTO to find a solution for the sedan taxis. Until PRESTO is available on sedan taxis customers must pay their fare by tickets, tokens, TTC passes or cash. More information will be provided when it's available.

To learn more about PRESTO visit ttc.ca/presto.

Please Offer Me a Seat Program

Blue button that reads

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Earlier this year, the TTC launched the new Please Offer Me a Seat Program to help customers living with accessibility needs find or obtain a seat when travelling on the TTC.
 
Customers may request a Please Offer Me a Seat button or card from a Customer Service Agent located at a subway station or from a Collector Booth at TTC stations. New Wheel-Trans customers will also receive a card in their welcome package. Customers have the option of wearing the button or presenting the card when travelling on the TTC.  When customers are in possession of the button or card:

  • They do not have to give reasons or explain why they may need a seat.
  • It does not guarantee a seat. The buttons and cards are intended to create awareness that customers who are pregnant, living with a disability or are elderly may require a seat.

Participation in the Please Offer Me a Seat program is voluntary and customers do not have to wear or present a visual identifier when asking for an accessible seat on TTC vehicles.