ACAT Meeting - October 25, 2018

Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, October 25, 2018
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:335
  • 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.


  • Raymond Dell’Aera, Chair
  • Mazin Aribi, Co-Vice Chair
  • Angela Rebeiro, Co-Vice Chair
  • Louise Bark
  • Mary Burton
  • Anita Dressler
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Jessica Geboers
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • Thomas Richardson
  • Lauri Sue Robertson

Pool Members

  • Scott McArthur
  • Igor Samardzic


TTC Representatives

  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
  • Heather Brown, Manager - Customer Communications
  • Alicia Sgromo, Project Coordinator, Communications
  • Rick Leary, Chief Executive Officer
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Paolo Chermaz, Divisional Manager, Eglinton Division
  • John Boucher, Manager - Lakeshore Garage
  • Dwayne Geddes, Manager - Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Ashley Elliott, Human Rights Consultant, Diversity & Human Rights
  • David LoPresti, Assistant Manager - Contracted Services
  • Aislin O’Hara, Project Lead – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Desrianne McIlwrick, Travel Trainer, Wheel-Trans
  • Louise Riggi, Project Co-ordinator, Wheel-Transa


  • Rick Leary, Chief Executive Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Acting Deputy CEO/Chief Customer Officer
  • Collie Greenwood, Acting Chief Service Officer
  • Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
  • Dan Wright, Chief Financial Officer
  • Brad Ross, Executive Director – Corporate Communications
  • James Ross, Acting Chief Operating Officer
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Jacqueline Darwood, Head of Strategy & Service Planning
  • Deborah Brown, Acting Head of Customer Communications
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Raymond Dell’Aera called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest


3. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Anita Dressier and seconded by Marian McDonell, the agenda was approved with the following amendment:

Addition under New Business: Call for input regarding PRESTO payment and tapping system.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair Raymond Dell’Aera

Raymond Dell’Aera asked that a moment of silence be observed for Joan Jordan who passed away on September 22, 2018. Joan Jordan was a valuable colleague and a member of ACAT from 2015 to 2017.
Raymond Dell’Aera stated that the deadline for the submission of applications for ACAT membership has now passed. During the month of November, applications will be reviewed and interviews will be held to select five new members for 2019.

Raymond Dell’Aera informed ACAT members that he was interviewed by the Disability Channel station. During the interview, he discussed accessibility issues regarding the TTC and the role of ACAT. He will pass along details of the filming and how to watch the interview once they are received.

5. Review and Approval of September 27, 2018 Minutes

On a motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Craig Nicol, the minutes of the September 27, 2018 meeting were approved with the following amendments.

  • Item #4, Remarks from ACAT Chair, 3rd paragraph, a third bullet to be added: “Given the potential for inclement weather and that it will be dark on the date of the TTC Public Forum on December 13, 2018, Wheel-Trans should investigate having a shuttle bus between the Front Street entrance and an accessible subway station. This shuttle will enable more Wheel-Trans conditional customers to use conventional services.”
  • Item #14, 1st paragraph, under: Communications Underground at St. Clair West Subway Station, amend to read, “It was reported that the Wheel-Trans stop at the St. Clair West station is underground where the Wheel-Trans Stop Bus Bay is located. However, drivers and other staff are not aware of where the stop is located. In addition, there is no cell phone reception underground and the No. Show board is located at the station entrance on St. Clair Ave West. The No Show Board should be placed at the WT Stop on the bus and streetcar platform, so that drivers come underground. There should be a phone line that is linked to the Priority Line.
  • Item #14, Other / New Business, under Update on Audio Stop Request Announcements, amend to read, “A report was made of a 11 Bayview bus that featured verbal “stop requested” announcements. Feedback had been provided that this is not desired and that the announcements should be in the traditional form of an audible chime instead.”

It was noted that in 2013, ACAT recommended that Express Buses announce the next stop and to also announce “arriving at…” when approaching the stop. This was piloted and is on the 95 York Mills Express and this announcement is now occurring on other Express routes.”

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

Item: Give Higher Priority to Resolving Inconsistencies with Wheel-Trans Pick Up and Drop Offs at Subway Stations in support of FoS

At the September 27, 2018 ACAT meeting, a motion was made to request that TTC prioritize correcting the inconsistencies with Wheel-Trans stops at subway stations. ACAT members met with Wheel-Trans staff to discuss this topic and provide recommendations. Staff will determine what is feasible and how the recommendations will be integrated.

Business Arising

  • TTC Public Forum on December 13, 2018 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC)

The Wheel-Trans section of the TTC website has been updated to include correct date and location details for the Public Forum.

Customer Communications has confirmed that no shuttle bus service from St. Andrew Station will be available; however, door to door Wheel-Trans service is available.

It was confirmed that pick up and drop off locations at the MTCC will be on Front Street. A staging area will be set up.

Advertising regarding the Public Forum will be played on screens in subway stations and promoted on social media channels in the coming weeks. A livestream will be available and will be heavily promoted for those who cannot attend and would like to participate.

GTA Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) Joint Meeting

The minutes have been provided. The next meeting is being planned for the spring of 2019. The ACAT Executive will be discussing the next steps and will reach out to parties involved to discuss logistics. The meeting invitees will once again include staff and executives.

  • Concerns Regarding Cellular Communication at St. Clair West and Don Mills stations

ACAT members met with Wheel-Trans staff to discuss concerns regarding cellular communication at St Clair West, Don Mills, and York Mills stations. Wheel-Trans staff will follow up on this item.  

  • Subway Train Pre-Boarding Announcements

In November 2018, TTC staff plans to conduct a site visit to demonstrate to ACAT the revised wording on the subway train pre-boarding announcement system to address previous ACAT comments.

7. Deputation: Chris Stigas

Chris Stigas delivered a deputation to highlight his recent experience while riding Line 1 and to ensure accessible options are clearly noted and available in the event of subway closures.

Prior to his journey, Chris Stigas visited the TTC website and was informed that there was a closure at Eglinton Station and that shuttle buses would be provided. He boarded the subway at Finch Station and headed south. When he reached Lawrence Station, an announcement came on instructing all passengers to exit as the train would be terminating. Lawrence Station is not an accessible station. In order to take a shuttle bus, Chris Stigas would have needed to get off at the previous station, York Mills, which is accessible.
A suggestion was made that, in situations like the one described, two announcements should be made -- one to announce the final accessible station and a second announcing the final station stop.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

When you travelled back to York Mills, was staff available to direct and inform you that Wheel-Trans was available? Chris Stigas replied that Wheel-Trans was clearly identified once getting off that station but it was not announced over the subway system.

Did you receive alerts of the closure on the website? Chris Stigas stated that the website listed that Eglinton station was closed and shuttle buses would be available. No mention of the last accessible stop.

Was Wheel-Trans available at the York Mills station or did you have to call for one? Chris Stigas stated that he had to wait a few minutes for a Wheel-Trans bus to arrive as it was out at the time.

Staff responded to the deputation and described the current procedures and the actions that will be taken to resolve the issues raised in the deputation.

  • That a two-announcement system is supposed to be used in these situations. An Operator must make the accessible station announcement manually as this is not automated.
  • In the situation that Chris Stigas described, a manual announcement was not made. Staff apologizes for this and will be doubling their efforts to ensure that all announcements are made on every trip when arriving at the York Mills station.
  • A Supervisor will be conducting random audits during the next subway closure to ensure the two-announcement system is being used properly.
  • Staff will ask that alerts to announce closures and final accessible stops are also added to the website.

Chris Stigas was thanked for taking the time to address these issues with ACAT members.

8. Update on Taxi Contracts

David LoPresti advised that an outside consultant has been hired to complete a review of taxi contracts. The objective is to review the current contracts as well as the previous contracts from the year 2009 until 2014. Wheel-Trans services, as well as driving and training requirements, in cities of similar size and service delivery (e.g. Montreal, Chicago, York Region, Calgary, and Atlanta) will be reviewed for comparison. Recommendations will be made on improvements to the current contracts.

David LoPresti stated that two public consultations will be held in the month of December 2018. An Industry-Specific Consultation will be held on December 7 at Eglinton West, York Civic Centre, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and expected to attend are drivers, contractors, alternative transit providers, and non-profit agencies. An evening public session will be held on December 10, 2018 in the Memorial Hall in North York from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and expected attendees are members from ACAT, customers, and the public who are interested.

A link will be provided for anyone attending at home or for those interested in providing feedback online.

David LoPresti also informed ACAT that staff is currently working to get a PRESTO solution for the Sedan Taxis so they can accept PRESTO payments, by the second quarter of 2019. The preferred solution is an app on a tablet that the customer can tap. Staff will review how other transit systems are utilizing PRESTO systems and determine recommendations. A suggestion was made to review Vancouver’s current system for comparison.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

When will information be gathered from stakeholders? Staff is hoping to provide an update by first quarter in 2019.

A concern was made about cell phones being used by taxi drivers while under contract.

Taxi drivers are provided their own schedule and GPS. Therefore, they do not need to communicate with the office while driving.

A comment was made that the review and public consultations are an excellent opportunity to improve conditions and job satisfaction for taxi drivers. A suggestion was made to review current and previous contracts as well as customer complaints to determine what areas need to be improved.

A suggestion was made to promote the public consultation in taxi news and the Toronto Metro to generate more feedback from taxi drivers.

9. CEO Update

CEO Rick Leary stated that, with the recent municipal elections, changes will be made to the TTC Board. Only one of the existing Board members will be returning. The size of the Board and number of members is not yet known.

Regarding the issues that customers are experiencing loading payment on PRESTO cards, Rick Leary stated that discussions have been held with Metrolinx to address these concerns.

Rick Leary stated that, by end of 2019, all of the low-floor streetcars will have arrived. This will have a positive effect on accessibility and the customer experience. Operators are currently in the process of receiving AODA training. All streetcar and bus Operators will receive the training.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

Will ACAT have the opportunity to be involved in AODA training for Operators? It was noted that training for Operators should be an ongoing activity.

Discussions were raised regarding issues surrounding the use of PRESTO cards. Many customers are experiencing issues understanding how to use the card. Cognitive issues or second languages must be taken into account when providing instructions. More education needs to be emphasized on teaching customers how to use the cards. Education may need to include icons to simplify the message. 

Many comments were expressed surrounding issues with the location of the PRESTO card readers when getting on the bus. It can be difficult to reach the reader when using assistive devices to get up the ramp, and a second location for the reader may be necessary. A suggestion was made to have staff complete a strong audit of where PRESTO card readers are located and ensure they are placed in convenient and accessible locations. This issue will be taken away and addressed at the next meeting.

ACAT members commented on the TTC Board changes and the importance for Board Members to have knowledge about accessibility and to ensure that issues are properly represented on the Board. A suggestion was made for ACAT to have a representative on the Board and/or be involved in the orientation of the new TTC Board Members. ACAT members also urged that the new TTC board include someone with a disability. Rick Leary responded that he would pass the suggestion along and ensure the Board is inclusive.

10. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

A presentation was made by Aislin O’Hara, Desrianne McIlwrick, Louise Riggi, Brian Putre, and Daniel Waldman on the new Travel Training Pilot Program.

So far 110 customers have participated in the Pilot Program and 26 completed one-on-one sessions. Eight more outreach sessions are planned. Participants from all demographics have participated in the pilot including Daniel Waldman, the youngest participant at 17 years old, and Vivian, the oldest participant at 92 years old.

The purpose of the pilot is to implement this new type of program, measure its impacts, and eventually roll it out as permanent long-term initiative. Team members conducted industry research by reviewing UK and US best practices, and developed a curriculum and travel training handbook.

The team members worked with ACAT members to discuss how to create the travel handbook. Test sessions were also conducted with members of ACAT.

To join the program, customers contact a travel training Program team member. Customers then attend a 45-minute interactive orientation session where they complete a pre-survey for travel trainers to assess how often they ride transit and for what purposes. A team member will work with the customer to complete an intake form and map out meaningful routes that are custom to the customer’s needs, making note of specific accommodations, accessible stations, ramps needed etc. Customers have the ability to receive up to 4 one-on-one sessions with their travel trainer. A travel trainer meets the customer at their home and they complete the route together.

A follow up survey is conducted 30 days following the session to learn about the impact the program has had on the customer.

Daniel Waldman presented on his findings from participating in the pilot program. At 17 years old, Daniel is the youngest participant. Daniel mentioned that he was hesitant to attend these trips as he had a fear of the subway and navigating over the subway gaps. A travel trainer was able to overcome his fear by pointing out the accessibility features that he was not aware of and would be helpful for him to utilize when travelling alone. He felt the learning process was easy to understand and allowed him to be more assertive with his rights while riding the subway.

Vehicle Exploration Day

Vehicle Exploration days have been held at Variety Village and Leslie Barns to enable potential conventional service customers to test getting on and off a bus and a streetcar using their mobility devices in a supportive setting when the vehicle is not in service. During the test, a presentation is conducted for the customers to experience how they will be supported.

More travel training information sessions will be held in the coming weeks. ACAT members who would like to attend will need to coordinate with the ACAT Chair.

Next Steps for the Pilot Program

An early findings analysis will be completed on October 30, 2018. A presentation to the Chief Service Officer (CSO) will be delivered on November 13, 2018. A first draft of the business case will be prepared with the final business case produced by December 10, 2018. The business case will address how to move the pilot program to a permanent travel training solution. Further findings will be presented at the ACAT meeting in February 2019.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

How often are travel training sessions completed and how long does a person have to wait to be accepted? Two sessions per month in different areas of the city are conducted and no wait list is required.

Time of day and crowding can be a barrier to travel, how would team members deal with these situations? Addressing fear and anxiety is a major component of the program. The first session is geared towards setting a customer up for success. Teaching opportunities are available on routes outlining ways for the customer to navigate difficult situations.

Is there an opportunity for customers to take the program again to learn additional routes if needed? Team members would like to get ACAT’s opinions on how to run the program long term. A comment was made that the team members need to be flexible when rolling out a long-term program to accommodate all customers’ needs. 

It was mentioned that team members were contacted by Northern Heights Secondary School for the deaf to provide a program for students graduating that do not have access to a school bus system. Team members will be meeting with the school in the next two weeks.

Originally, team members were recruiting Wheel-Trans customers and team members found that the majority of customers who approached them to take part in the program were conventional travellers. Team members are intentionally trying to support travellers to take conventional transit as an alternative to Wheel-Trans services.

11. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Deferred to next month’s meeting.

12. ACAT Subcommittee Meeting Highlights for the Next TTC Board Meeting

Deferred to next month’s meeting.

13. Report on Customer Liaison Panel

Deferred to next month’s meeting.

14. Review of Correspondence


15. Other / New Business


It was stated that customers are experiencing issues understanding the payment system and also tapping PRESTO cards on readers. Focus needs to be placed on educating customers as well as correcting the location of readers to make tapping easier to navigate. Staff will discuss this issue and report back.

Metrolinx Public Accessibility Meetings are going to be held in November. More information will be provided to ACAT members.

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on November 29, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

17. Adjournment

On a motion by Mazin Aribi, the meeting was adjourned at 3.51 pm.

Brittany Haavaldsrud
Recording Secretary

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