ACAT Meeting - August 28, 2014

Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, August 28, 2014
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:281
  • 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.


  • Susan Davidson, Chair
  • Mazin Aribi, Co-Vice Chair
  • Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair
  • Sarah Adams
  • Judy Berger
  • Karma Burkhar
  • Bill Castor
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • Angela Rebeiro
  • Sam Savona

Pool Members

  • Anna Barath
  • Jerry Borins
  • Margaret Hageman

TTC Representatives

  • Sirsten Watson
  • Jacqueline Darwood
  • Matt Hagg
  • Wayne Reynolds
  • Ross Visconti
  • Rick Leary
  • Orest Kobylansky
  • Mary Leo-Oliver


  • Andy Byford
  • Richard Leary
  • Chris Upfold
  • Orest Kobylansky
  • Sameh Ghaly
  • Vince Rodo
  • Brad Ross
  • Gary Shortt
  • Mitch Stambler
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Susan Davidson, Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. Attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest


3. Approval of Agenda

On motion by Bill Castor and seconded by Sam Savona, the Committee reviewed and accepted the Agenda with the following revisions:

  • Under Other Business, inclusion of a Centre Platform Safety Discussion
  • Under New Business, inclusion of a Union Station Accessibility discussion

4. Review and Approval of June 26, 2014 and July 31, 2014 Minutes

June 26, 2014

On motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Marian McDonell, the Committee reviewed and accepted the Minutes with the following revisions:

  • Page 8, bottom line, revise "audible pedestrian symbols" to "audible pedestrian signals"

July 31, 2014

On motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Sam Savona, the Committee reviewed and accepted the Minutes with the following revisions:

  • Page 3, Item 6, addition of the sentence "ACAT informed the deputant that it is not within the scope of the Committee to provide such a letter." Sentence to be inserted prior to "The Committee thanked ..."
  • Page 5, bottom line, revise "long strip" to "long vertical strip"

5. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items

Regarding the June Minutes in which a Priority Seating presentation was mentioned, this presentation was made at a following Joint Communications and Service Planning Subcommittee meeting. A report will be given in the Communications Subcommittee report.

Regarding the Outstanding Item - PRESTO Accessibility Features, Craig Nicol reported that the audio features of the PRESTO machines were tested on August 22, 2014 and found nearly acceptable with only minor modifications required.

Regarding the Outstanding Items - Accessibility at Bus Bays and Accessibility at Transit Stops, the Design Review Subcommittee has discussed the first item and will revisit it. The second item is under the purview of the Communications Subcommittee, and may be worded differently on their Outstanding Item list. Marian McDonell will confirm.

Regarding Outstanding Item - Deputation from Alan Yule, the streetcar has had LED lights installed over the doors, additional warning lights installed on the side, and the warning sign will flash on the back of the streetcar. Item completed August 28, 2014.

6. Deputation


7. Election Accessibility Plan

Aretha Phillip presented the City's Election Accessibility Plan, which was developed with assistance from Wheel-Trans. The presentation will be distributed to Committee members.

A new application, MyVote, will be available. This is a new tool providing key election information including the list of candidates in an elector's ward, ensures that they are on the list, tells them when and where to vote with a map to show the location in relation to their home, and accessibility information about the location.

The 2010 Accessibility Plan had been developed with public consultations. It ensured that communications, information, and voting locations were accessible. Voting opportunities were provided for those who could not attend the voting location and time. Election officials were trained to provide accessible service.

Lessons learned in 2010 were integrated into the 2014 plan. There were public consultations with individuals and groups knowledgeable in providing services to share ideas and identify barriers. September 8, 2014 is the next meeting, and Committee members will be informed of when and where. Communications and information will be provided on an accessible website with alternate formats including videos, audio, and ASL, and there will be a dedicated phone line for accessibility concerns. Information sessions with the candidates will be held in accessible locations, with information provided in alternate formats. Election staff will be given accessibility training, with reference materials on accessible customer service.

Alternate voting options will be provided for electors with disabilities including a voter assist terminal (accessible voting equipment) with elector controlled zooming, font selection, high contrast, audio features, and puff and rocker paddle control. Electors will be able to transfer their ballot to an advance voting location to have access to the terminal, and the terminal will remain in the ward at the advance location. Also available will be curb side voting, voting locations in long term care and retirement facilities, proxy votes for those electors who are home bound, and on-site assistance by election officials to mark ballots. Service animals and support persons will be admitted.

The 1,700 voting locations are listed on the website. Officials are currently ensuring that there is access and that entrances are identified. There is an opportunity for the public to share feedback on the proposed locations. Notifications of disruptions can be called in to the Call Centre.

The 2014 Communications plan includes a print campaign, a niche market campaign, online advertising, a social media campaign, the Pattison TTC network four weeks in advance of the vote, an out-of-home campaign four weeks in advance of voting, and extensive community outreach and partnership building.

The partnership with Wheel-Trans includes a presence on the Wheel-Trans website, a message on the IVR system, election information in the newsletter, and promoting that customers book early for advance vote and Election Day, and a potential to advertise on Wheel-Trans vehicles. Reservationists will be educated on the voting locations to ensure that booking goes smoothly. Wheel-Trans will look into modifying the 90-minute minimum between rides for customers who are voting. Customers will be able to vote inside the Wheel-Trans vehicle with curb side voting.

Transportation information will be available, including a list of transportation services if that is required. Wheel-Trans users will be advised to book early, and also informed of the community buses. Information about the nearest transit stops will be available, and accessibility will be ensured.

Craig Nicol brought forward the issue that people with visual impairments tend to discard mail that does not come in an envelope, including voter registration cards. Aretha Phillip advised that the registration card is not required as long as an individual brings in ID with a name and address, a bill, or a lease. Electors can also call in to request information in an alternate format, such as Braille, or a card in an envelope.

8. Update on Public Forum

Mary Leo Oliver, TTC Special Events, presented an update on the 2014 Public Forum. Invitations have been sent out in several formats to respondents.

The preliminary floor plan was distributed to Committee members. The large main room will be divided into two areas with a temporary pipe and drape wall. The smaller Market Place will have several tables set up with information boards and staff to engage in one-on-one conversations with attendees. The larger area will be set up with seating, with a stage at the front with tables for the panel and a podium for individual speakers. ASL interpreters will be stationed on risers to either side of the stage. Two large screens with rear projection will show the presentations with captioning. Speakers will be set up around the room.

There are two components to the event, the Market Place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. and the Forum in the larger seating area from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. During the Market Place, a looping 7 to 8 minute presentation will be playing in the Forum area to inform attendees of the evening schedule, that they can speak with staff in the Market Place, how to ask questions during the forum, and a “Did You Know?”. The presentation is visual only, without an audio component due to the acoustics of the hall.

The Committee felt that a presentation that is not accessible to people with visual impairments is not acceptable, and suggested that the presentation be made available in advance in accessible formats, or that the audio be played quietly. No matter what, it is essential to tell all attendees what is happening, either ahead of time or by having staff available as people enter the area. Staff will discuss this with TTC Customer Communications.

When the Forum begins, staff ushers will manage the seating and mobility device sections, ensuring that aisles remain clear.

The Committee suggested that there be fewer seats and greater spaces between the rows and columns, as many attendees will come with mobility devices that require space and will need to be able to manoeuver around each other. However, persons using mobility devices may attend with ambulatory persons, and want to sit together, so types of seating should not be restricted to certain areas. As well, ensure that the aisles are clearly demarcated and enforced by ushers. If more seats are needed, they should be made available. Staff will modify the seating as per the Committee's suggestions.

All staff, ushers, and attendants will be clearly marked, either in coloured T-shirts or vests, and large-print name tags. The role of each type of staff person will be included on the website and looping presentation to ensure attendees know who to look for or ask for if they need something.

The Committee suggested that ACAT members also have a recognizable shirt.

For attendant care, the Committee suggested that attendants be trained not to hover over attendees, but to check occasionally to see if they need anything.

The stage will be set up with tables and microphones for panel members, who consist of TTC senior staff responding to questions from the audience. The ACAT Chair will be seated on the stage as well. Emphasis will be placed on the purpose of the Public Forum as an opportunity for the public to give feedback to TTC senior staff and TTC Board Members.

The Forum details will be finalized at the September 3 Service Planning Subcommittee meeting which Mary Leo-Oliver will attend.

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Angela Rebeiro, Chair

A joint meeting was held with the Communications Subcommittee on August 7, 2014. The report is found under the Communications Subcommittee.

The next meeting will be held on September 3, 2014.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Lynn McCormick, Chair

No meeting since last ACAT meeting.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

On August 13, 2014, the Subcommittee met at Hillcrest Yard to review the new streetcar and was debriefed by TTC Vehicle Engineering. Further discussion will take place at the next Subcommittee meeting.

The next meeting will be held on September 3, 2014.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marian McDonell, Chair

The last meeting was held on August 7, 2014, and the Service Planning Subcommittee was invited to attend. Marian McDonell chaired the meeting. The Minutes from May 8, 2014 were approved and then issues were addressed that pertained to both Subcommittees.

New Streetcar Launch Update/Discussion

Cheryn Thoun, Head of Customer Communications, and Susan Sperling, Manager of Corporate Communications, attended to make a presentation and discuss issues that both Subcommittees had. Their presentation in relation to the new streetcar involved its introduction, the campaign immediately prior to the launch as well as the weeks following the launch. Customer Communications and Corporate Communications are collaborating on ways to inform people of the new features, the accessibility, air conditioning, all door boarding, and fare payment options.

The streetcar information campaign began the first week of August 2014. Information is to be released in sections to educate the customer. Ads will be placed in the Metro as well as local community and student newspapers, both in print and digital. As the new streetcar is to be first launched on the Spadina line, there will be ads in the Chinese Community newspapers.

Subcommittee members had many questions concerning public education, given the accessibility features of the new streetcars. Staff assured members that the public education campaign is ongoing, and they will monitor the situation as the new streetcars roll out. There was a concern that there may be competition for space in the designated areas for people using mobility devices, for example if crowded, strollers may be in the designated areas, and the response was that 'strollers have to be accommodated as there are customers in them.'

Initially, information will be given in many ways, including through TTC Ambassadors. TTC Ambassadors are being trained and will be on the new streetcars for the first six weeks. There will be two on each streetcar, one at each curbside single ride vending machine, and one at Spadina Station. Ambassadors will be given print information in Chinese and English to hand out, and they can help in any of the areas from the payment features to the accessibility area, locations for storing bicycles, and the ramp functions. It was suggested that some of these Ambassadors could be people with disabilities so that they can be an important part of ongoing public education.

Different methods of payment were outlined and will be highlighted in materials produced and distributed to customers.

The Subcommittee asked that a template be used for information provided in order to avoid confusing people. This can be used over all areas from signage to directions and any information that is made available in each location.

Details for the August 31, 2014 Launch Day were discussed. The event will take place at 10:00 a.m. at Spadina Station and will include music, giveaways, a photographer, and a barbershop quartet.

Priority Seating Decals Update/Discussion

Priority seating for people with disabilities, seniors, and pregnant women will now be easily identified by blue upholstery. There will be an information campaign in the Fall.

Review of Outstanding Items

  • New Streetcar Education Program: members suggested monitoring complaints about the new streetcar and reviewing this information in late October/early November 2014 to determine what other information people are looking for so the system works better for everyone.
  • Toronto Rocket Station Map: Customer Communications continues to work on this item.
  • Customer Safety Program: Cheryn Thoun noted that initially this was based on one incident, however, there will be a more in-depth analysis and then a campaign will be put together based on that research in 2015.
  • Subway Interchange Station Announcements (New Item): Customers are no longer informed about the interchange stations on the Toronto Rocket subway trains. Members suggested that this information is helpful to customers and should be reintroduced.
  • Review ACAT Information on Website (New Item): A customer comment was received noting that ACAT information on the TTC website was difficult to find. ACAT members suggested that a review should be undertaken to determine how to improve this information.

Wheel-Trans Newsletter Content – Fall 2014

Dean Milton presented the content for the Fall Newsletter. Members went through and various issues were highlighted and/or questioned.

There was a question posed as to the reasons for the Accessible Toronto Election piece in the newsletter. It was explained that an effort was being made to inform as many people as possible about accessibility concerning voting equipment, voting information, and voting locations.

There was a concern that the request for volunteers for ACAT on the back cover also needs to outline that application forms for the request for volunteers can only be obtained at one of these information sessions.

It was noted that information on the new streetcar could be added if there was space. Staff will insert this on the last page.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Since the Communications Subcommittee Meeting, the announcements for the interchange stations have now been replaced by an announcement specifying which line it connects to. The Committee agreed that this is better information for customers.

The streetcar track construction on Queens Quay has not been completed and the new streetcars on 510 Spadina will continue to turn back at King or at Queens Quay and Spadina until October. Note that at King, the streetcar will have street-level boarding.

Regarding the event at Spadina Station for the new streetcar, Susan Davidson, Chair, and Mazin Aribi, Co-Vice Chair, will be attending. However, ACAT is otherwise not involved. Although ACAT Executives were invited to a media event, that event conflicted with the August 28th ACAT meeting.

10. Customer Liaison Panel Report

Presented by Angela Marley, the 2014 CLP ACAT Representative.

There was no meeting in August, 2014.

11. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

Presented by Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair.

The TTC Board Meeting was held on August 19, 2014, and most of the items were not directly related to accessibility.

The first presentation was about the new streetcars and a discussion about PRESTO and implementation. ACAT has already seen and heard this information.

A package of nine recommendations was brought forward by Staff for immediate service improvements:

  •  implement all door boarding and proof of payment on all streetcar routes;
  • reduce wait times and crowding on bus and streetcar routes;
  • establish a City-wide network of ten-minute or better bus and streetcar service;
  • expand the Express Route network with new and improved express bus routes;
  • implement more transit priority measures;
  • add resources to improve service reliability and route performance;
  • operate all routes all day, every day across the city;
  • change the one-trip-per-fare to a two-hour-travel-privilege-per-fare; and
  • expand the overnight bus and streetcar network.

The majority of the meeting was spent discussing these recommendations. The Board voted in favour of the changes, and then they will go before City Council for debate. Additional funding would be required for implementation.

The next meeting will be held after the October election.

Sam Savona informed the Committee that the motion put forward at the last Board Meeting to ask Staff to report on where they can put money into continuing the Easier Access Program was withdrawn.

12. Report on ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with CEO and Chair

Presented by Susan Davidson, Chair.

Public Forum - September 17, 2014

ACAT representatives advised of the purpose of the Public Forum and stressed the importance of having as many of the Board Members as possible attend the event. Andy Byford indicated that TTC senior personnel will be encouraged to attend. The Forum provides an opportunity for riders to express their concerns directly to the policy makers who, in turn, can provide reasons for the policies or look into revising them if appropriate.

ACAT Concerns Regarding Safety with the New Streetcars

Appreciation was expressed for the many improvements that had been made to the new streetcar in response to ACAT's previously identified concerns. However, it was noted that some members who attended the streetcar demonstration on August 13, 2014 are still concerned about the Stage 2 steepness of the ramp. In addition, it was relayed that ACAT is still waiting for the Standard Operating Procedures so that an education and communication campaign can be developed for Operators, passengers, and motorists prior to the roll out date of August 31, 2014. The ACAT Executive was informed that the development of the SOP is being drafted by an outside group. The ACAT Executive has since been provided with the SOP for ramp deployment.

Referral of Motion From Toronto's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) to the General Manager, Transportation Services Steve Buckley

ACAT executive advised that the result of the motion from ACAT to the Board and subsequently to Toronto's PWIC was that the motion was passed referring it, in turn, to the General Manager, Transportation Services Steve Buckley.

ACAT Concern Regarding the Potential Budget Shortfall

ACAT Executive reiterated its concern that the budget shortfall may result in the TTC's inability to meet the Easier Access Phase 3 initiatives by 2025 as required under the AODA. ACAT Executive offered to lend ACAT support to TTC senior management in its appeal for funds from the Federal or Provincial governments.

Other Business

The timing of the next Quarterly Meeting in relation to the election and the appointment of the TTC Board was discussed. It was agreed that the December 4, 2014 meeting be used to introduce the new members to ACAT and its role in an advisory capacity. The ACAT Executive will pursue possible opportunities to speak to the entire new Board.

Mazin Aribi reported on Andy Byford's experience in using a mobility device on TTC services. On August 22, 2014, Mazin Aribi and Andy Byford took a trip organized by Angela Marley, Susan Davidson, and Mazin Aribi. The organizers wished him to experience ongoing issues such as connecting with accessible stations, riding a power chair on streets and encountering curb cuts, entering a station through an automatic entrance, reading schedules, experiencing the gap at Eglinton Station, transferring from Line 1 to 2 at Bloor Station, catching the articulated bus at Bathurst Station, and securing a mobility device. They had lunch and used the accessibility features in the restaurant. They rode from a bus stop to Spadina, and then travelled to Union Station by going east and catching a southbound train. At Union Station, the elevator was not working, and the TTC Ambassadors were not able to provide an alternate route. Andy Byford then spent time in a wheelchair in his office. The trip was successful and will be reported at the Public Forum. The media was not involved. Andy Byford wore casual clothing and a baseball hat so he could focus on the trip as a learning experience.

The Committee commended and thanked the organizers of the event. Angela Marley commented that ACAT will need to encourage Andy Byford to integrate his experiences, and the video and pictures, not just at the Public Forum but in making other presentations and in educating the public.

13. Review of Correspondence

Susan Davidson, Chair, sent a response after the streetcar presentation to thank Stephen Lam and Andy Byford. They responded with complimentary remarks about ACAT and the role the Committee plays.

14. Culture of Accessibility Meeting

Presented by Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair.

A potential agenda was distributed via email to Committee members for feedback, originating from the discussion at the March ACAT General Meeting.

The Committee discussed the possibility of moving forward with a meeting on the Culture of Accessibility. Comments included that the agenda topics were too broad and should be confined to topics relating to transit and the TTC. Some members supported the idea; some members stated that such a meeting would not fall within the scope of ACAT as an advisory committee to the TTC.

The Committee voted on moving forward in the organization of a voluntary meeting focused on the culture of accessibility within the scope of transit and the TTC. Eight members approved, four were opposed, and one abstained.

The ACAT Executive will continue organizing a culture of accessibility meeting.

15. Other Items / New Business

a) Rick Leary, TTC Chief Service Officer, stood before the Committee to request ACAT input into two issues. The first was the reliability of Wheel-Trans vehicles. They break down at a higher rate than other vehicles in the industry, requiring costs of up to $100,000 to operate for two additional years, for a total of $410,000 for a vehicle that lasts for 10 years. In comparison, there are other vehicles used in Canada that cost $140,000 for five years.

Potential solutions include getting new vehicles, with the possibility of getting smaller vehicles that can take fewer people, but are more cost efficient. Additionally, hiring contractors to provide the vehicles may also be a possibility.

The second issue is service integration between Wheel-Trans and conventional service, wherein a person can be picked up at home and dropped off at a station.

The Committee referred the new vehicle issue to the Design Review Subcommittee, and the issue of service integration to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee, with the potential for a joint meeting with Service Planning if the issue overlaps both Subcommittees.

b) Craig Nicol brought forward an article written about centre platform safety, with input from David Leposky. Although the article is about Metrolinx, the TTC was mentioned in the article heading. His position was that centre platforms are not safe for people with visual impairments, and these are his personal views. Although there was a statement by John Rafferty of the CNIB supporting his position, other members of the CNIB do not. Side and centre platforms are equally accessible so long as people use their orientation and mobility training to navigate. The TTC operates 28 centre platforms and is building more following accessible standards; this is standard and has never proven hazardous to people with visual impairments.

Craig Nicol cautioned that the community is not standing behind the article and not to take the article as design guidance.

Because the article was written about Metrolinx, the Committee will not act on this matter, but will continue ensuring that designs are to standard.

c) Angela Marley brought forward the issue that the TTC Ambassadors at Union Station are lacking critical accessibility information, such as alternate routes and elevators. The Committee suggested that Ambassador education needs to include this information, and in a timely manner as the construction changes are ongoing.

This item was referred to the Service Planning Subcommittee. As well, the Union Station description pages will be out shortly.

d) Debbie Gillespie related her experience with the new exterior door chimes on a Rocket Train, and commented that they may need to be louder.

This item was referred to the Design Review Subcommittee.

e) Mazin Aribi raised the issue that on Union Station platform, there are vertical steel H-shaped columns on the platform, which could be hazardous especially for people who are blind. Members agreed, recommending they need to be removed or covered.  The Committee was informed that the columns are temporary and will be removed when the construction is completed. 

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, September 25, 2014, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

17. Adjournment

Motioned by Debbie Gillespie and seconded by Judy Berger, the meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.
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