ACAT Meeting - August 25, 2016

Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, August 25, 2016
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:307
  • 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.


  • Mazin Aribi, Chair
  • Angela Rebeiro, Co-Vice Chair
  • Debbie Gillespie, Co-Vice Chair
  • Louise Bark 
  • Jaspreet Dhaliwal
  • Raymond Dell'Aera
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Valdo Tammark

Pool Members

  • Anita Dressler
  • Lauri Sue Robertson


  • Karma Burkhar
  • Margaret Hageman
  • Joan Jordan
  • Howard Wax

TTC Representatives

  • Rick Byers
  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
  • Thomas Hartley, Division Manager, Wheel-Trans Transportation
  • Nitin Pardal, Diversity & Human Rights
  • Ihor Witowych, Division Manager, Bus Transportation
  • Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer


  • Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer
  • Richard Leary, Chief Service Officer, Service Delivery
  • Chris Upfold, Deputy CEO & Chief Customer Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Deputy Chief Service Officer, Service Delivery
  • Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
  • Vince Rodo, Chief Financial & Administration Officer
  • Brad Ross, Executive Director – Corporate Communications
  • Mike Palmer, (Acting) Chief Operating Officer
  • Jacqueline Darwood, (Acting) Head of Strategy & Service Planning
  • Cheryn Thoun, Head of Customer Communications
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

The meeting was called to order at 1:10 p.m. and attendance taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest


3. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Debbie Gillespie, seconded by Louise Bark, the agenda was approved.

4. Remarks From ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi

Mazin Aribi reported that he attended the Federal Budget Phase 1 announcement for Public Transit on August 23, 2016 at St. Clair West Station (not yet accessible) at the invitation of TTC Chair Josh Colle, who acknowledged ACAT in his remarks. Accessibility projects included in this funding announcement are:  Easier Access Phase 3; AODA requirements for subway fleet, buses, and streetcars; T1 Pre-Boarding Announcement System; 201 W-T buses; W-T Friendly Bus Rebuild Program; Bus Stop improvements for Accessibility; and the W-T Transformation Program.

Following the announcement, Mazin Aribi was interviewed by CBC Radio on the “Here and Now” program to discuss the funding and challenges faced by persons with disabilities in Toronto.

The TTC announced the appointment of Kirsten Watson to the new position of Deputy Chief Service Officer of the Service Delivery Group effective August 15, 2016. She will report directly to the Chief Service Officer for Bus Transportation, Streetcar Transportation, Stations and W-T Departments (Rick Leary).

The 2016 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit will be held Thursday, September 15, 2016, with one-on-one discussions from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and an Open Forum from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Allstream Centre, Exhibition Place.

Last year, ACAT members decided on the wording for a plaque memorializing former ACAT Chair Susan Davidson. In accordance, therefore, with the ACAT’s membership directive, the ACAT Executive has reviewed and approved the TTC’s design proposals for the plaque. Mazin updated the members that TTC staff has arranged to have the plaque made.

5. Review and Approval of June 30, 2016 Minutes and July 28, 2016 Minutes 

On a motion by Bobbi Moore and seconded by Marian McDonell, the Minutes of June 30, 2016 were approved as presented.

On a motion by Louise Bark and seconded by Angela Marley, the Minutes of July 28, 2016 were approved as presented.

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

The Outstanding Items list was reviewed as follows:

  • Item: PRESTO Accessibility Features - August 24, 2016 update was sent to members
  • Item: Accessibility at Bus Bays - An update to follow after next DRS meeting
  • Item: Accessibility at Transit Stops - under Item Description - change "vehicles" to "new accessible streetcars"
  • Item: Accessibility Flash Cards – completed June 30 - remove from list
  • Item: Wheel-Trans Buses be permitted to use GO Bus reserved lanes – under Action Required, change Service Planning "Subcommittee" to "Department"

7. Deputation


8. Review of Correspondence 

A letter from Mr. Michael McNeely of the Canadian Helen Keller Association and ACAT’s response were distributed to the members. Mr. McNeely requested and received information about Metrolinx, the transition to PRESTO fare payment on TTC, staff training on providing service for people with disabilities and deaf-blind customers accessing information while using the TTC.

9. Wheel Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

Thomas Hartley gave a brief update on:
  • Information, including the Appeals Process which is to be posted online mid-September
  • Budget preparation for presentation to the TTC Board on September 28, 2016 is in draft form, which includes the Business Case for funding, the 13 initiatives through the 10-Year Program, revised eligibility criteria and appeals process, and Family of Services in 2017.

10. Wheel-Trans On Time Performance

Thomas Hartley reviewed the Wheel-Trans on time performance through various graphs which showed considerable improvement over the past 3 years – very close to 90% which is the goal by the end of 2016.  The cost per trip by mode of transport and passengers per hour comparisons were reviewed, along with the unaccommodated rates. When the new scheduling system is installed, same day scheduling will improve. Projections of ridership were reviewed, including the move to the Family of Services starting 2017.

A member observed that at public meetings for W-T customers, they continue to talk about long wait times for making trip reservations. Mr. Hartley agreed more attention to this is needed. Members congratulated Mr. Hartley and his staff for the many improvements that continue to be made at W-T.

11. Remarks from Andy Byford

TTC CEO Andy Byford joined the meeting and added his thanks to W-T staff.  He acknowledged the presence of TTC Board Member Rick Byers and thanked him for attending.

Mr. Byford stated he recently spent a lot of time in the TTC work sites talking with employees – both new and long standing – to gauge their general mood. Most were engaged with the changes now coming together as a result of the Corporate 5-year transformation program.

He reported the good news regarding the Federal government funding for transit, but was concerned that he has been instructed to find over $200 million in savings in the Operating Budget by next year.  He is working hard to find a solution without cutting into service or going backwards on the new initiatives. Mr. Byford is confident that achievement of the 5-year plan is still possible, which is to bring the TTC up to world-class standards.

ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi thanked Mr. Byford for the update.

12. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

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

The next WTOS meeting is scheduled for September 8, 2016.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) - Raymond Dell’Aera, Chair

DRS held a meeting on August 3, 2016.

Allan Foster, Project Manager of the Fare Card Team, provided an update on PRESTO fare gate accessibility issues raised by ACAT members during the Main Street Station site visit in March 2016. ACAT's previous comments were addressed as follows:

  • A "Metropass only" sticker was added to the Metropass readers.
  • ACAT requested the International Symbol of Access be placed on both gate flaps. Since the gate flaps are transparent, to avoid confusion, square decal stickers were placed back-to-back on gate flaps, so the sticker will be on the rightmost going in and the leftmost going out.
  • An alternate solution to enter the stations will be required for some customers during the transition phase (i.e. Station Collector opens the accessible gate remotely). This includes customers using cash, tickets, tokens, day passes, paper transfers, PRESTO cards at stations with only one accessible gate (i.e. Metropass-equipped only), or customers who cannot reach the 1100 mm-high reader.
  • Software issues with the Local Device Controller (LDC) have been corrected. This device will allow Collectors to remotely control fare gates and allow customers access. Within the next few weeks, Station Collectors will be assigned a device ID and they will be trained on how to use the device.
  • A second reader will be installed on the accessible gate and implemented in the next phase, approximately 800mm above the floor. Eventually, all accessible gates will have dual readers; the current reader on top and the second reader on the face of the stanchion.
  • During the interim process (where PRESTO co-exists with Legacy fare media), all stations with the exception of two will have two accessible fare gates; one is for Metropass and the other for PRESTO.
  • When the transition to PRESTO is complete, all accessible gates will have two PRESTO readers while the standard aisle gates will only have one reader.

The following items are still under investigation and/or ongoing:

  • Volume levels need to be raised significantly to be heard over the ambient noise of the subway station.
  • Fare gates must make audible cues when passengers enter.
  • PRESTO error and decline tones should be different.
  • Provide colour contrast on gate flaps or border of the gate flaps.
  • Place Braille text that says PRESTO on the green target area; this was passed on to the branding group.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:
Q: Is there any reason why the reader has to be mounted on the face of the fare gate stanchion as opposed to the side? Could a stainless steel wedge be used with the reader on the side of the wedge?
A: This suggestion will be taken back to the vendor to see if it is a doable option.

Q: When will the retrofit be completed?
A:  Retrofit of existing accessible fare gates should be completed by October 2016.

Staff from PRESTO attended the meeting to advise of the proposed changes to the tactile symbols on the streetcar and subway station PRESTO vending devices.
Currently, the Add Value and Single Ride Vending Machines are being retrofitted to Grade 1 Braille (uncontracted). Since the tactile panels need to be replaced, the opportunity exists to update the tactile symbols. It was explained that most of the current symbols are not intuitive to blind users as they are not very helpful and they are not aligned with Metrolinx or any other commonly used symbol.


The changes were explained as follows:

  • PRESTO card reader symbol is changing from a star to the tactile symbol PRESTO
  • Contactless credit/debit card reader symbol is changing from a square to the EMV (contactless) symbol
  • Credit/debit card chip reader (AVM only) is changing from a diamond to a pictogram of a chip card
  • Dispensing tray is changing from a triangle to a down arrow

It was noted that the help text that includes description of tactile symbols will require modification.

On August 16, 2016, DRS attended a site visit at Hillcrest Garage regarding Nova Bus mobility device securement belt retractors. Staff took away two major actions from the meeting:

  • Proceed with modifications to allow upward rotation of the securement belt retractors to make more space for people using mobility devices to maneuver into the parking position on the bus. Attempt to clamp the retractors sufficiently so they do not fall into the original position until rotated down manually. Efforts will be undertaken to get this work started ASAP.
  • Upon the first opportunity, facilitate a meeting between interested members of ACAT, Nova Bus Engineering, and suppliers of PMD tie-down equipment during the engineering design review period for the next transit bus order when a design review is required. Staff expects such a review may be possible for the 2018 bus order.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marian McDonell, Chair

A CS meeting was held on August 11, 2016.

Of note related to the development of a future streetcar video, Mazin Aribi reported that, at the SPS meeting held on August 3, 2016, Ricardo Couto, Manager Streetcar-Transportation, Russell/Leslie Barns Division, attended and informed the Subcommittee that his department is developing educational materials in concert with the TTC’s Training department concerning the safe use of the new accessible streetcars. ACAT members were invited to participate. Matt Hagg is the contact.

Flash Cards are done and are with Wheel-Trans and Customer Service for distribution.

Wheel-Trans Stops (formerly W-T Transfer Points) are now being updated on the TTC website. The descriptions at some subway stops which are different from the address of the subway station are being worked on. Synchronizing the W-T Stop information so that customers and drivers meet at the same spot will contribute to the success of the W-T 10-Year Plan.

“Connecting Toronto” Accessibility Tips are currently being edited and any changes should be sent to Deborah Brown by August 31, 2016.  It was noted that the “24” newspaper could not be read by persons using screen readers.

The W-T Newsletter advertising the TTC Public Forum will be sent to all W-T registrants by the end of August. Details are on the website. The organizations which consulted on the revised Wheel-Trans Eligibility Criteria have been invited. The ACAT table will have Flash Cards, ACAT brochures, buttons, and PRESTO brochures on W-T. An ad will run across various media and information. Bathurst Station will have signage, PA announcements, and Ambassadors to assist attendees.

Ian Dickson, Manager, Design and Wayfinding, presented a preliminary exterior bus design.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Valdo Tammark, Chair

SPS held a meeting on August 3, 2016.

Ryan Duggan, Fire Safety & Emergency Planning, and Mark Biamonte, Fire Prevention Officer, attended the meeting and provided updates on the emergency evacuation procedures. They recently carried out two subway simulations – one using an emergency exit, the other testing One Person Train Operation (OPTO) procedures. Procedures for persons being separated from their mobility devices and subsequent return were addressed. A detailed review of the emergency procedures in the event of a power failure was given. The next test is scheduled for October, 2016 when they will undertake the evacuation of a streetcar from a smoke-filled Union Station tunnel loop. ACAT has been invited to participate, with details to follow.

The Low-floor Streetcar Operating Procedures were reviewed by Ricardo Couto, Leslie Barns Division. Members reported that Operators do not always operate the ramp from the external door and only come out if they notice that someone needs assistance. Mr. Couto stated that this would be followed up and corrected. Operators are required to exit the streetcar at on-street stops to deploy the ramp for persons using any mobile device. Operators are also required to assist customers using manual wheelchairs at platform stops, but may deploy the ramp from inside the streetcar.

Toronto Police is to conduct a month-long blitz this Fall to counter illegal passing of streetcar doors by motorists. An education video, to be filmed at Hillcrest, will include a skit using low-floor and Legacy vehicles depicting how to correctly enter and exit and would be shown on the TTC You-Tube channel.  ACAT was invited to participate.

13. ACAT Meeting Highlights for the TTC Board Meeting 


  • Reviewed design changes made to PRESTO fare gates based upon prior ACAT consultation
  • Visited Hillcrest Garage to consult on modifications to securement equipment on Nova Buses to make space for people using mobility devices


  • Emergency Evacuation Procedures (ACAT recommended that, once approved and in place, it be posted on the website). (2) New educational video re correct entry/exit procedures of the new low-floor accessible streetcars.


  • The Flash Cards are completed.
  • W-T Stops (formerly known as W-T Transfer Points) at accessible subway stations are in the process of being synchronized so that customers and drivers meet at the same spot which will make a major contribution to the success of the WT 10-Year Plan.
  • Accessibility Tips in 'Connecting Toronto' are being included in the "24-Hr newspaper".

14. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

No meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting. The next TTC Board meeting will be held on September 28, 2016.

15. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) – Angela Marley, ACAT Representative   

No meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting. The next CLP meeting will be held on September 7, 2016.

16. Report on Transit Fare Equity (TFE) Committee – Margaret Hageman, ACAT Representative   

No meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting.

17. Report on Accessibility Advisory Panel for Transportation Services – Valdo Tammark, ACAT Representative   

No meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting.

18. ACAT Terms of Reference Update

Debbie Gillespie gave a brief summary of the meeting held earlier this day. Several issues are to be clarified with the help of TTC staff. The next meeting has been scheduled on September 29, 2016, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. It was noted that only those items requiring further clarification will be addressed.

19. Other / New Business

The Chair encouraged members to assist with the recertification training sessions at Hillcrest, which has a major positive impact on Operators and is now especially important given the new W-T strategy.  Many members have participated in the past and all offered to help anyone volunteering for the first time. Other members added their endorsement of the program.

The Chair noted that the “Talking Points” needs to be updated.

The Chair thanked TTC Board Member Rick Byers for attending and asked if he had any questions. Mr. Byers said how impressed he was with ACAT’s work and thanked the members. He confirmed he planned to attend the TTC Public Forum.

20. Next Meeting 

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, September 29, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

21. Adjournment

On a motion by Debbie Gillespie, the meeting was adjourned at 3:20 p.m.

Avril Hylands
Recording Secretary
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