ACAT Meeting - March 30, 2023

Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, March 30, 2023
Start Time:1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location:Virtual Meeting
Meeting No:390
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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  1. Call to Order / Attendance
  2. Land Acknowledgement
  3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
  4. Approval of Agenda
  5. Remarks from TTC Executive
  6. Remarks from ACAT Chair
    1. ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with TTC CEO and TTC Chair
  7. Review and Approval of February 23, 2023 Minutes
  8. Outstanding Items
  9. Deputation:
    1. Snow clearing and streetcar stops – Chris Stigas
  10. Review of Correspondence:
    1. Wheelchair seating positions and stop announcements
  11. Wheel-Trans Transformation & COVID-19 update from Cameron Penman
  12. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates
    • -Communications
    • -Design Review
    • -Service Planning
    • -Wheel-Trans Operations
  13. ACAT Meeting Times Review Update
  14. Other/New Business:
    1. DRS Motion - Line 2 Scarborough Centre
  15. Next Meeting – April 27, 2023
  16. Adjournment

Minutes of Meeting:

ACAT General Meeting

Meeting Date:

Thursday, March 30, 2023
1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Virtual meeting via WebEx


Anita Dressler, ACAT Chair
Gwyneth Dalzell, ACAT Co-Vice Chair
Maria Marin, CS Chair
Craig Nicol, DRS Chair
Lauri Sue Robertson, WTOS Chair
Howard Wax, SPS Chair
Mei Hung
Rob Lackie
Bobbi Moore
Wangari Muriuki
Lavarnan Mehavarnan
Betty Rivington-Law
Valdo Tammark
Tammy Adams, Pool Member
Nicolas Paterson, Pool Member
Jason Osborne, Pool Member


Erica Tanny, Co-Vice Chair


Chris Stigas

TTC Representatives:  

Rich Wong, Chief Transportation and Vehicles Officer Cameron Penman, Head of Wheel-Trans
Frank Trianni, Head of Streetcar Maintenance
Levenson Lincoln, Assistant Manager, Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
Heather Brown, Director of Customer Experience
Matt Hagg, Manager of Customer Policy, Strategy & Foresight
Natalie Francis, Manager, Planning and Policy, Wheel Trans
Gary Papas, Project Development and Coordination Manager, Project Development and Planning
Dean Milton, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans
Omar Jabbar, Wheel-Trans Transformation Program Manager
Ross Visconti, Project Manager, Wheel-Trans
Cyril Cromwell, Engagement Consultant, Racial Equity Office, Diversity Department
Dorna Zaboli, Engagement Consultant, Racial Equity Office, Diversity Department
Warren Rupnarain, Accessibility Consultant, Diversity Department
John Boucher, Manager - Lakeshore Garage, Wheel-Trans
Kevon Wilks, Streetcar Way Supervisor
Jeff Short, Senior Planner, Strategy & Foresight
Natashia Singh, Customer Experience Analyst, Strategy & Foresight
Jason Albom, Chief Instructor, Operations Training Centre
Adrienne Isaac, Administrative Assistant, Wheel-Trans

Items Discussed

  1. Call to Order / Attendance
  2. Land Acknowledgement
  3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
  4. Approval of Agenda
  5. Remarks from TTC Executive
  6. Remarks from ACAT Chair
    1. ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with TTC CEO and TTC Chair
  7. Review and Approval of February 23, 2023 Minutes
  8. Outstanding Items
  9. Deputation:
    a. Snow clearing and streetcar stops – Chris Stigas
  10. Review of Correspondence:
    1. Wheelchair seating positions and stop announcements
  11. Wheel-Trans Transformation & COVID-19 update from Cameron Penman
  12. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates
    -Design Review
    -Service Planning
    -Wheel-Trans Operations
  13. ACAT Meeting Times Review Update – Warren Rupnarain
  14. Other/New Business:
    DRS Motion - Line 2 Scarborough Centre
  15. Next Meeting – April 27, 2023
  16. Adjournment

1. Call to Order/Attendance

Anita Dressler, ACAT Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:07 p.m. and welcomed attendees.

2. Land Acknowledgement

A member read the Land Acknowledgement.

3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest


4. Approval of Agenda

Howard Wax brought a motion to approve the Agenda as presented, Betty Rivington-Law seconded. Carried.

5. Remarks from TTC Executive

Rich Wong, Chief Transportation and Vehicles Officer, provided an update about the TTC bus fleet and streetcars. A new bus model, New Flyer, will arrive in April 2023. Features of the new bus model include a new wheelchair ramp, Qpod securement system instead of securements from the floor, a companion seat beside priority seating, and USB ports on the priority seats. ACAT members will have an opportunity to visit and review the new bus model at a later date and will be updated about the date.

Frank Trianni, Head of Streetcar Maintenance, discussed an issue with the GPS system that occurred on March 19, 2023 affecting audio and visual announcements on 92 TTC streetcars. The affected GPS systems reverted back to August 4, 2003 and update attempts failed. The issue was caused by outdated microchips, which were installed by the supplier not TTC. GPS units on all affected vehicles have been disconnected which has allowed announcements to be restored with the exception of the interior announcement function. Operators are calling out stops in the interim. TTC staff are in the process of procuring replacement chips as a short term solution and are seeking a vendor for new GPS units as a long term solution. The estimated timeline for the short term solution of replacement of microchips is 10 to 12 weeks before the streetcars are back to functioning normally with customers noticing no difference. For the long term solution of new GPS units, once the design has been completed and approved one unit will be built and tested for 4 to 5 weeks. Upon successful testing an order will be placed for the entire fleet. While the exact installation date for the new GPS units is unknown, it is estimated to be at the beginning of 2024.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member asked if this GPS issue affects buses and subways as well as streetcars and asked how many streetcars are affected. Frank explained 92 streetcars were affected, however, TTC has the parts to repair 14 so a total of 80 streetcars are affected. Buses and subways are not affected.

A member commented that the companion seat in the new interior of the Flyer bus appears to be close to the wheelchair spot. A quick stop might force a wheelchair into the companion. The member suggested moving the companion seat to behind the chair.

A member asked if the four-wheel scooters can get into the door and around the driver as there is not enough space in buses that are currently used. TTC staff will take this back and also suggested ACAT members try this when the bus is available.

A member asked if ACAT was involved when the buses were chosen. Rich Wong confirmed ACAT was involved in part of the initial review and a prototype bus was brought on property at the time.

A member suggested the design of the new GPS system should include a socket design so that the chips could be easily replaced should the issue occur again in the future. TTC staff advised this has been requested but the design is not complete so it is unknown if the suggested change will be implemented.

A member asked again for clarification on whether the GPS issue would affect buses. Frank Trianni confirmed TTC staff are looking into this but do not expect the same issue.

A member asked if the new buses were hybrid or electric. TTC staff responded that they are hybrid and TTC is working to convert to zero emission by 2040.

A member suggested it is important for the missing GPS services to be communicated to customers as it might impact a customer’s trip. Another member also encouraged communication as a tactic to mitigate the impact the GPS issue has on customers and suggested that many customers depend on visual cues inside buses to access their route. Another member also suggested announcements became automated because Operators were inconsistent when calling stops. TTC staff explained Operators and supervisors have been reminded about the importance of calling the stops and spot checks are conducted periodically. Frank explained having Operators announce stops is an interim measure and also confirmed that external announcements and signs are working. Rich Wong confirmed notices will be sent to customers.

A member asked if the TTC was working on the audio systems to improve announcements and suggested drivers announce the bus route number when picking up passengers. Rich confirmed TTC is always looking to improve audio systems.

6. Remarks from ACAT Chair

a) ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with TTC CEO and TTC Chair

Anita Dressler, ACAT Chair, discussed the items reviewed at the ACAT Executive Quarterly meeting held on March 14, 2023. The meeting focused on safety and stakeholder partnerships; Metrolinx feedback, station review, standards of accessibility and responsibility for accessibility failures; and finally PRESTO support person fare accommodation. The next quarterly meeting will be on June 7, 2023.

7. Review and Approval of February 23, 2023 Minutes

Lauri Sue Robertson brought a motion to approve the February 23, 2023 minutes as presented, Howard Wax seconded. Carried.

8.  Outstanding Items

The TTC Diversity Department is preparing a report on ACAT meeting times, which will be discussed later in the meeting.

9. Deputation

Chris Stigas outlined issues with accessing the streetcar on the King Street pilot project over the winter and suggested blame was shifted between the TTC and the City. Chris suggested stops are specifically designated as TTC and the snow and ice clearing should be provided by the TTC. He provided pictures to demonstrate that various TTC stops were not accessible six and nine days after a snowfall.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member suggested clearing is a City issue too and suggested referring this concern back to the City of Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC). The TTC Chair suggested this issue be presented to TAAC.

A member suggested that when the TTC engages a plowing company details should be added to the contract so it is clear these types of stops are included and to ensure someone is held accountable. Kevon Wilks, Streetcar way supervisor, and Cameron Penman, Head of Wheel-Trans, confirmed TTC staff will take back the feedback and reach out to the City so this can be improved. 

A member asked if there is a phone number to call to request to prioritize a stop being cleared. Ross Visconti, Project Manager, Wheel-Trans, suggested calling 311, which the member found did not help in the past.

Another member stated that these stops should be treated as all other TTC streetcar stops when snow falls, as it should be the responsibility of the TTC. Sidewalks are the responsibility of the City, not these TTC designated stops. This will be discussed further.

10. Review of Correspondence

a. Wheelchair Seating Positions and Stop Announcements

Correspondence received will be forwarded to the Service Planning Subcommittee for review and discussion.

11. Wheel-Trans Transformation and COVID-19 update from Cameron Penman

Cameron Penman, Head of Wheel-Trans, provided an update about Wheel Trans. Wheel-Trans plans to upgrade the AVL system which provides us with vehicle tracking. Steps are also being taken to secure a contract to implement a new Interactive Voice Response phone system. The reregistration of legacy customers is moving ahead and people have been receiving the reminder notices and there is a reminder on the Self-booking Website. A customer communication program is also being launched with the assistance of Heather Brown, Director of Customer Experience.

Cameron confirmed 7M ProMaster buses continue to be added to the Wheel-Trans fleet and there are now 80 of these buses in service. Customer and Operator safety remain a top priority and as such, the mandatory masks/face coverings policy, where medically possible, will continue at this time on all vehicles. Ride sharing on sedan taxis has not resumed and will be reviewed in April.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member asked the difference between the sedans and taxis. Cameron explained sedans were cars suitable for ambulatory customers only and an accessible taxi is a larger accessible van. Customers are sitting directly beside one another on a sedan, which is why ridesharing has resumed in phases. The member suggested ride match up for people using ambulatory devices can be difficult as sometimes there is less room in the accessible taxi. Cameron confirmed the number of passengers and types of mobility device used is considered to ensure vehicle capacity is not being exceeded and welcomed feedback regarding configurations that could be problematic.

A member asked if shorter wait times for passengers being picked up during inclement weather could be considered. Cameron explained staffing and the daily number of runs are increasing which should allow more room in scheduling and the ability to have more contracted trips as needed. TTC staff will be reminded to avoid knowingly adding trips that will cause a delay. Cameron also explained that system updates will assist drivers enroute so they know where there is traffic, closed roads, etc. This will allow Wheel-Trans to provide a more timely service as less drivers will be stuck in traffic and will lessen the need to assign last minute trip additions to drivers. ACAT input will be sought when Wheel-Trans is closer to implementing system upgrades.

A member commented that Line 5 is expected to open in 2023 and information about Wheel-Trans stops and station updates is outstanding. Information write-ups should be prepared well in advance of the Line 5 opening. Dean Milton, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans, discussed that reviews and testing at stations to determine optimal Wheel-Trans stops has commenced.

A member asked if there might be issues with people re-registering and not being accepted and suggested that concerns about not being eligible for Wheel-Trans may be keeping people from re-registering. The member also suggested fees doctors charge to complete eligibility forms may also be factor. Cameron suggested if a customer was accepted for Wheel-Trans previously it is extremely unlikely that they would not be accepted now. The customer would likely have some eligibility under the new AODA-mandated eligibility standards. With respect to fees to complete forms, it is up to individual doctors or healthcare professionals to decide whether they charge a fee or not.

A member discussed an experience where a driver told them the trip was a last-minute addition and that often drivers state they come from far away to accommodate the ride. Cameron explained that sometimes there is a need to change drivers as the original driver is behind schedule or stuck in traffic. Additional drivers are being added and the system updated in an effort to make trips as smooth as possible. The Where is My Ride Feature is currently available for TTC vehicles and Wheel-Trans is working to have all contracted services’ systems updated and this feature implemented on contracted vehicles by the end of 2023.

A member asked if there was a way to file a complaint about a driver and whether contracted drivers are allowed to make food deliveries or work for Uber. TTC staff agreed to look into contracted drivers’ obligations. Cameron encouraged members to contact Wheel-Trans customer service at (416) 393-4111 if they need to make a complaint. The complaint will be recorded and if the option is selected by the customer, Wheel-Trans staff will follow up with the customer.   

12. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates:

Communications Subcommittee (CS) Report

The Communications Subcommittee did not meet in March. The next CS meeting is scheduled for April 20, 2023.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) Report

Craig Nicol, DRS Chair, reviewed the items discussed at the DRS meetings in March.

March 7 Meeting:

  • The stairs at the York University Station were discussed and it was recommended that the railing be changed the next time the station is renovated.
  • The York University Station has two escalators and one elevator. The DRS recommended that one of the escalators operate in the up direction and one down.
  • Scarborough Centre Station motion was proposed and sent to the ACAT General Meeting for approval and comment.
  • The Waterfront LRT route. The TTC is partially responsible and Waterfront Toronto is responsible for the rest. This will expand Union Station and provide a connection to the 504 Streetcar loop and better access from Bay Station.
  • The DRS discussed the issue of the Yonge/Bloor platform doors, which they will be looking at in more depth.

March 21 Meeting:

  • Reviewed the Easier Access Phase 4 Program. A rating system was put in place to prioritize certain stations for the additional elevator to assist in accessibility. They received some details and potential costing for the project. The DRS also made some suggestions on other stations that could be prioritized, St. George and Osgoode Stations. This is very preliminary, as there is no funding set up to deliver this project yet.
  • They had a presentation regarding 1141 Bloor Street West, that will connect the southwest corner of the Bloor and Dufferin intersection to Dufferin Station via an underground pedestrian pathway, that will improve accessibility options.
  • The TTC provided the developer with the TTC elevator standards for accessibility. They would not guarantee they could implement all of the standards, but they were willing to look at it.
  • The door in the vestibule has some potential issues and they were highlighted and discussed.
  • The bus pre-boarding announcement was discussed. These announcements will soon be of a longer duration. However, there is still an unresolved issue in which the announcements do not run when the buses are parked at the station and turned off, which they are still working on.

The next DRS meeting is scheduled for April 4, 2023.

DRS Meetings Highlights:

  • York University Station escalator and elevator review and recommendations
  • Scarborough Centre Station motion
  • Waterfront LRT route
  • Yonge-Bloor platform doors
  • Easier Access Phase 4 Program
  • 1141 Bloor Street West development - new entrance connection to Dufferin Station
  • TTC elevator standards of accessibility
  • Bus pre-boarding announcements

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) Report

There was no meeting held in March. The next SPS meeting is scheduled for April 4, 2023.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) Report

Lauri Sue Robertson, WTOS Chair, provided an update about the topics discussed at the March WTOS meeting.

  • Wheel-Trans staff are looking into options for the heat blowing on passengers’ legs while on Wheel-Trans vehicles.
  • Updates to Lansdowne Station Wheel-Trans stops.
  • Dean Milton updated the FOS usage.
  • The impact of inclement weather on services and snow and ice clearing at stops
  • ACAT were asked to notify staff if they notice any driver accepting monetary tips from customers
  • Customers being penalized when something happens that is out of their control and a trip is missed.

The next WTOS meeting scheduled for April 19, 2023.

WTOS Meeting Highlights:

  • Heat flow on Wheel-Trans vehicles
  • Lansdowne Station Wheel-Trans stop
  • FOS update
  • Customer no show penalties

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member questioned the decision about moving the Wheel-Trans stop at Lansdowne Station and suggested information on accessibility should be ready for the public sooner rather than later so that the information can be updated for the public.

A member asked if the TTC could consider putting stickers on maps that are currently on the system to illustrate new stations that are accessible. A member reminded everyone that Donlands Station should be accessible in late 2023 and that Bay Station will not be accessible for several years starting later in 2023 or in 2024 as the building that the elevator is in is being redeveloped. The member suggested TTC staff share communication to customers notifying them once a station is accessible and also about Bay Station becoming inaccessible.

A member discussed a previous request for seating on the outside east side of Lansdowne Station and asked for seating to be explored now that the station is complete.

13. ACAT Meeting Times Review Update – Warren Rupnarain

Warren Rupnarain, Accessibility Consultant, Diversity Department, shared that the report about ACAT meeting times is being finalized and will be ready to be presented at the next ACAT meeting.

14. Other/New Business

a. DRS Motion - Line 2 Scarborough Centre  

Jeff Short read out the recommendations from DRS regarding the future Scarborough Centre Station on the Scarborough Subway Extension. Craig Nicol brought a motion asking TTC to reject the Scarborough Centre Station design that requires customers to use three elevators to travel between bus platforms and the subway platform via concourse levels. The motion further asked for TTC to require that elevators extend to the lower concourse level and for fare paid zones to be required in the station. Howard Wax seconded. The motion was approved by all ACAT members. Carried.

Gary Papas, Project Development and Coordination Manager, Project Development and Planning, provided an update on this project. The Reference Concept Design (RCD) represents a proof of concept for delivering this station. This does not mean the RCD is set in stone and will be designed and delivered this way. The delivery agent will be able to tweak the RCD, and in many cases improve it. TTC staff agree with ACAT on the vertical connections issue raised and will continue to advocate for a more seamless and efficient vertical connection from subway platform to the bus terminal. Currently, Metrolinx is hosting workshops to improve the customer experience at this station, including addressing ACAT’s concern of poor vertical connections. As it relates to the fare paid bus terminal, given this bus terminal will house TTC, Durham Region Transit, and GO Transit, there are multiple agencies and Metrolinx, as the asset owner, has recommended that all transit customers be treated equally. Gary noted TTC conceded on this issue.

A member suggested part of the unpaid area could be partitioned off for use as Metrolinx sees fit. ACAT’s concern is the wayfinding and number of elevators to traverse to get to and from the subway and buses.

15. Next Meeting

The next ACAT General Meeting is on April 27, 2023.

16. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned on a motion by Lauri Sue Robertson at 3:16 p.m.

Cindy Edwards

Recording Secretary


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