ACAT Meeting - August 30, 2012

Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, August 30, 2012
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:256
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.

Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.

Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.

Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.


  • Valdo Tammark, Chair
  • Brayan Bratanov, Co-Vice Chair
  • Scott McArthur, Co-Vice Chair
  • Mazin Aribi
  • William Castor
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Lori March
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Carol Anne Monet
  • Anna Noviss
  • Angela Rebeiro
  • Howard Wax


Brayan Bratanov, Co-Vice Chair – representing ACAT at Metro Licensing and Standards Meeting

TTC Representatives

  • Bill Frost
  • Thomas Hartley
  • Tom McPherson
  • Ross Visconti
  • Bill Dawson


  • Andy Byford
  • David Dixon
  • Bill Frost
  • Sameh Ghaly
  • Vince Rodo 
  • Mitch Stambler 
  • Jim Teeple 
  • Chris Upfold
  • TTC Commissioners 

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Scott McArthur, Co-Vice Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:02 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

3. Approval of Agenda

On motion by Howard Wax and seconded by Carol Anne Monet, ACAT reviewed and approved the agenda.

4. Review and Approval of July 26, 2012 Minutes

On motion by Mazin Aribi and seconded by William Castor, ACAT reviewed and approved the Minutes with the following changes:

  • Pg 3, section 5, pp 1, add “regarding Station Pages.” after “ from Marketing.”
  • Pg 4, section 5, pp 7, revise “TTC in cabs” to “fare equipment in cabs”
  • Pg 4, section 7, first bullet point under Service Planning Subcommittee report, revise “Accessibility Forum Comments – Status Update” to “A status update was given on the Public Forum and attendees' comments”
  • Pg 4, section 7, third bullet point under Service Planning Subcommittee report, revise “LRV” (Light Rail Vehicle)” to “Legacy”
  • Pg 5, section 7, pp1 under Design Review Subcommittee, revise “pick up” to “select”
  • Pg 5, section 7, pp1 under Communications Subcommittee, revise “Carol” to “Carla Basso”

5. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items: Nil

6. Deputation: Nil 

7. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) - Anna Noviss, Chair

The Service Planning Subcommittee met on August 22, 2012 and the items addressed included the following:

  • Accessibility Forum Comments:

    Review and consolidation
    Plan for communicating results
  • Roncesvalles Streetcar Platform and Sidewalk Design 
  • Subway Service Disruptions – Conventions and Formal Strategies to Ensure Accessibility Strategies

Penny Lamy asked if there will be a report on customer service for the Committee and she was advised that a report will be provided.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – William Castor, Chair

The Design Review Subcommittee held an extensive meeting on August 22, 2012. Activities during the meeting included consolidation of the elevator audit and reporting on aspects of TTC system elevators that do not qualify as accessible. The Subcommittee commented on and is expecting reports back regarding the lack of external chimes on the Toronto Rocket trains. Currently, the chimes are not audible on the station platforms. TTC Engineering is working on ways to satisfy this requirement, primarily for the visually impaired. DRS went over the outstanding item list.

William Castor performed a survey on the Spadina Station walk. This station is only accessible for people who can go up an escalator and the distance to walk between stations is an issue. This distance is approximately 400 feet and is uphill coming back to Bloor. DRS recommended the positioning of benches in the middle to divide traffic flow and prevent merging. The outstanding item list is attached to the minutes; the rest will go over in approved minutes.

After the DRS update, Mazin Aribi requested that when DRS goes over issues, to ensure that the space reserved for mobility devices in trains should be large and clear, including a divider so that people have enough room to manoeuvre. The minimum for accessibility devices should not be accepted.

DRS has asked for verification of what they have provided.

Angela Marley inquired if the vehicle at CNE is what Metrolinx will be buying. She was advised that this is just a mock-up by Bombardier for marketing, and not what Metrolinx will be providing.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) - Howard Wax, Chair

On August 9, 2012, CS met with Carla Basso and Dante Nocera, the TTC Marketing Summer Student. Craig Nicol was in attendance as well. CS was dealing with station description and found that many of the remaining issues deal with wayfinding, which is Harrison's responsibility. CS has asked for another meeting with Ms. Basso and Harrison to discuss these issues. This meeting addressed the text announcements on the Rocket Trains.

CS looked at the materials distributed at the People in Motion Show and at TTC Family Day.

The next meeting will be held in September when Harrison is available.

William Castor made an observation that, on the website, Bloor and Spadina are marked as accessible. This is incorrect as only half is accessible. The website should clarify this because it is written in very small print by the Yonge/University Line, whereas the station has a big blue accessible logo. Instead of small print, they should use the accessibility logo with a line through it.

Mr. Castor raised a concern that someone unfamiliar with the TTC website and the subway system may come in and get confused, because the logo is big, and the sign stating “Bloor Line Only” is small and may not be seen.

Mr. Castor added that there are a lot of stations where this happens. When announcements indicate that a station is an interchange station, someone may misinterpret this as being accessible for both stations. One thing that is being overlooked is that, although the wording is there, people may not be able to read or understand, as some people may have a limited knowledge of the English language. This has to be kept in mind, and the use of symbols would be better.

Mazin Aribi advised that for Spadina Station, it was requested to have the wording “Bloor Line Only” in brackets.

Penny Lamy stated that, as Committee members and Staff went through the process of looking at each station, it was acknowledged that there is a lot of information. Penny said that she went up and down the subway the day after the last meeting and talked to people about the website service. There is a lot of excitement about the service. Penny stated that the website must be monitored and ensured that the information is as accurate as possible.

Angela Marley commented that she has been working on the Station Pages, ensuring that the station descriptions are accurate and make sense. Other issues that have come up in doing so include descriptions where the subway platform is above street level, ensuring that the Pages have the same format, station naming, listing accessible station entrances first directly after the main entrance, listing accessible stations, and using TTC words that are familiar to users. The station descriptions are currently “bare bones” and will be fleshed out as the project continues.

If any ACAT member has feedback, particularly regarding station entrances, they can forward this to Carla Basso through Angela Marley. Eventually, there will be maps, as maps and symbols will be easier and more universal for the users to understand. Regarding walking distances and how to get to the entrances, this is something that needs to be added to the station descriptions.

Howard Wax noted that there are station names where the station address is different from the name, for example Davisville Station is on Chaplin Crescent. These are things that are being addressed.

Anna Noviss suggested that the TTC door and elevator numbers be used as part of the station descriptions. Angela Marley stated that she would ask this.

Debbie Gillespie presented 2 suggestions, as follows:

  1. There are types of entrances that her guide dog will not use. The station descriptions need to specify the type of entrance; not only if it is automated, but if it is an elevator, a swing bar, or a revolving door. The descriptions “Automated” and “Accessible” do not provide enough information.
  2. All of the web pages need the same heading structure and format, for quick navigation with assistive technology/screen reading software, so it will be easier to know which headings to look for to find what you need. Not only the actual descriptions and information accuracy, but the web page design also needs to comply with the screen reading software.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee

No meetings were held.

8. Executive Meeting with TTC Chair and CEO

Presented by Valdo Tammark.

LRV - The CEO took the ACAT comments on the LRV mock-up and review them in the meeting with Metrolinx. They will ask questions about information/communication between TTC and Metrolinx.

People in Motion Show and Family Day - The TTC Chair and CEO were pleased that ACAT assisted during these events. Mr. Tammark mentioned that the people who participated are already planning improvements and saw their participation as beneficial.

Bill Frost brought up improvements in talking to Operators in TTC locations other than Hillcrest.

Some Secret Shopping tests are ongoing for ramps and lifts. There is a push to test and improve. There was really only one lift that did not work, mostly because the driver was used to ramps and forgot to push both buttons; so the lift did work. This is coming along.

Ribbon-cutting on newly accessible stations - Since Victoria Park Station, there has been no ribbon cutting/photo opportunity for when a station becomes accessible. The Committee thinks that it is important, to announce to the public and to media that stations are becoming accessible. ACAT will go through TTC Marketing/Public Relations. There will be a photo opportunity for St. Andrew Station.

9. Costumer Liaison Panel (CLP) Update - Mazin Aribi: Nil

No meetings were held. A reminder was given to the Committee that the next CLP meeting is on September 12, 2012. There is also a Town Hall meeting on Saturday, September 15, 2012 in Etobicoke (address on TTC website).

Angela Marley pointed out the Rogers Cable network has been taping these Town Hall meetings and, at least twice, has replayed the Town Hall meeting on their channel.

10. Report on Commission Meeting and Accessibility Matters

No Commission Meeting was held; nothing to report.

11. Review of Correspondence - NIl

12. Initiatives to Improve Customer Service for Persons with Disabilities, using Conventional TTC Bus Service 

Bill Frost presented the ongoing initiatives.

  1. An aggressive program to ensure that lifts and ramps on buses are functional. On a frequent basis, they are checked at Management level. One of the reasons they got into this situation was that Operators were asked not to take action physically. So the TTC developed a tool to free up ramps as required. They are in the process of procuring these tools and they should be in use by the beginning of 2013 and should improve service.

  2. Persons with disabilities are interacting on a personal basis with Operators at TTC Divisions. This is an informal session at each of the 7 work locations in order to foster awareness among Operators in dealing with persons with disabilities and get rid of the fear factor. This has made significant impacts already, so Mr. Frost is encouraging his employees to continue and for those involved to keep in touch with their Division. Mr. Frost is confident that they are headed in the right direction. 

    A session that was held at Birchmount Division had fantastic feedback. As there is some apprehension among Operators when dealing with persons with disabilities when Operators saw Mr. Frost and Sam Savona engaging, they realized it was okay. This relaxes the Operators. People learned a great deal during the session. The Operators recognized that customers depend on the system and the consequences of not picking someone up. Also, every single Route Supervisor is going to go down to Wheel-Trans to learn “the day in the life of a WT Operator”, including escorting customers, securing mobility devices, etc.

  3. As Valdo Tammark mentioned, there are “Secret Shoppers” observing Operators interacting with persons with disabilities. The most recent ones had no issues and there have been huge improvements. The process is two-fold: Secret Shoppers randomly select locations and have persons board and they also observe Operators indicated by customer reports as not performing to expectations. They are trying to broaden this monitoring.

Debbie Gillespie commented that, in British Columbia, there is a program where people give a presentation during Operator Training, like getting on the bus, assisting people find a seat. She thinks that this is really helpful for the drivers. One clear issue is that TTC Operators are 5 years between certifications and had no idea of the devices in use. There are lessons to be learned here; to ask the customer for help.

Angela Marley asked if there are initiatives to ensure WT customers move on to the conventional system. Mr. Frost responded yes, these are planned for a later time.
Mazin Aribi had positive feedback on this initiative.

13. Other / New Business 

Debbie Gillespie commented that she noticed that the 95 Express Bus stops at Bayview and stop announcements are not quite correct. Some buses announce all stops, whereas some the Operators announce stops themselves. Debbie suggested that the stop announcements need to say if the bus is an express vehicle before it reverts to regular stops.

Operators have been requested to announce destinations at terminals.
Penny Lamy requested an update on taxi contracts. Howard Wax responded that there are currently no updates with respect to contracts. But he and Brayan Bratanov attended the Training Recertification Program. At the next Communication Subcommittee meeting, they will go over the Training Program.

Bill Dawson pointed out that Metrolinx is starting up their Annual Accessibility Meeting (September 27, 2012). Mr. Dawson will ensure that the notification is sent to ACAT members.

Howard Wax reminded the Committee that Monday is Labour Day and ACAT was invited to join the parade.

14. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Wednesday, September 26, 2012, in the 7th Floor Boardroom, 1900 Yonge Street.

Action: (Valdo Tammark) This will be noted on the website under public meetings.

15 Adjournment 

On motion by Debbie Gillespie and seconded by Mazin Aribi, the meeting was adjourned at 2:17 p.m.

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