ACAT Meeting - June 29, 2023

Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, June 29, 2023
Start Time:1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location:Virtual Meeting
Meeting No:395
  • 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. Sam Savona remarks
  7. Review and Approval of May 25, 2023 Minutes
  8. Outstanding Items
  9. Deputation:Nil
  10. Review of Correspondence:Nil
  11. Wheel-Trans Transformation & COVID-19 update from Cameron Penman
  12. Electric Wheel-Trans Buses
  13. ACAT Meeting Times
  14. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates
    1. Communications
    2. Design Review
    3. Service Planning
    4. Wheel-Trans Operations
  15. Other/New Business
  16. Wheel-Trans Appeals Location Update
  17. Next Meeting – July 27, 2023
  18. Adjournment


Minutes of Meeting:

ACAT General Meeting

Meeting Date:

Thursday, June 29, 2023
1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Virtual meeting via WebEx


Anita Dressler, ACAT Chair  
Gwyneth Dalzell, ACAT Co-Vice Chair
Erica Tanny, ACAT Co-Vice Chair
Lauri Sue Robertson, WTOS Chair
Craig Nicol, DRS Chair
Bobbi Moore
Frank Lockhart
Maria Marin, CS Chair 
Lavarnan Mehavarnan
Betty Rivington-Law
Howard Wax, SPS Chair 
Wangari Muriuki
Tammy Adams, Pool Member
Jason Osborne, Pool Member
Nic Paterson, Pool Member


Mei Hung
Valdo Tammark

TTC Representatives:

Michael Atlas, General Counsel
Keisha Campbell, Chief of Diversity and Culture
Gary Downie, Chief Capital Officer 
Josie LaVita, Chief Financial Officer
Cameron Penman, Head of Wheel-Trans
Heather Brown, Director of Customer Experience 
Loris Dametto, Senior Program Manager, Wheel-Trans and City Bus Procurement
Matt Hagg, Manager of Customer Policy, Strategy & Foresight
Lodon Hassan, Divisional Manager of Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
David Lo Presti, Manager, Contracted Taxi Services, Wheel-Trans
Dean Milton, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans
Ike Onuoha, Program Manager, Wheel-Trans Procurement
Ross Visconti, Wheel-Trans Project Manager
Levenson Lincoln, Assistant Manager of Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
Michele Edwards, Project Coordinator
Sneha Madhuri, Communications Advisor, Corporate Communications
Adrienne Isaac, Administrative Assistant, Wheel-Trans

Invited Guest:

Sam Savona 

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 
    a. Sam Savona remarks 
  7. Review and Approval of May 25, 2023, Minutes 
  8. Outstanding Items 
  9. Deputation:  Nil  
  10. Review of Correspondence:  Nil
  11. Wheel-Trans Transformation & COVID-19 update from Cameron Penman
  12. Electric Wheel-Trans Buses – Loris Dametto 
  13. ACAT Meeting Times 
  14. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates
    - Communications 
    - Design Review 
    - Service Planning 
    - Wheel-Trans Operations
  15. Other/New Business
    a. Wheel-Trans Appeals Location Update 
  16. Next Meeting – July 27, 2023   

1. Call to Order/Attendance 

Anita Dressler, ACAT Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:06 p.m. and welcomed attendees.  

Levenson Lincoln, Assistant Manager of Wheel-Trans Customer Service, reminded all attendees that only ACAT members and invited TTC staff may participate in the discussion. Members of the public and ACAT pool members are observers only.

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, Bobbi Moore seconded. Carried. 

5. Remarks from TTC Executive 

Keisha Campbell, Chief of Diversity and Culture, thanked ACAT members for their feedback and guidance in helping to move things forward. She discussed the second diversity and cultural report that was released on June 12, 2023 and invited ACAT members to review the report. The report provided highlights about how the TTC is supporting customer accessibility and diversity and also employee representation. Keisha noted that employee representation of persons with disabilities has improved from 1.3% to 2%. The TTC looks at the experience of customers and also representation from an employee perspective. TTC has also been working on reviewing how accessible spaces are for employees and customers. Keisha shared that the annual accessibility report and Wheel-Trans report will be available at the July TTC Board Meeting. The reports will highlight how things have progressed as well as the progress made based on feedback received at last year’s Public Forum on Accessible Transit. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee


6. Remarks from ACAT Chair 

The ACAT Chair paid tribute a former ACAT member, Sam Savona, on his championing of accessible travel for people with disabilities serving six terms on ACAT, and thanked him for his years of dedicated work. She read a letter from the Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie, the TTC CEO and the TTC Chair, Councillor Burnside, along with a letter from another former ACAT member. 

Cameron Penman, Head of Wheel-Trans, acknowledged Sam Savona’s contributions and thanked him on behalf of the TTC. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member also congratulated the former ACAT member and thanked him for his years of friendship.

7. Review and Approval of May 25, 2023, Minutes 

Betty Rivington-Law brought a motion to approve the May 25, 2023 minutes as presented, Howard Wax seconded. Carried. 

8. Outstanding Items 

The ACAT Chair provided an update on the following outstanding items:

a) Scarborough Centre Station Motion

This item is pending and there should be updates in the Q3 2023.

b) Recommendation for Honorarium 

This is ongoing and an update will be provided at a future meeting.

Questions and Comments from the Committee


9. Deputation 


10. Review of Correspondence 


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

Cameron Penman, Head of Wheel-Trans, provided an update about Wheel Trans. Wheel-Trans plans to upgrade the Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) system, which provides vehicles with vehicle tracking. Wheel-Trans anticipates that the procurement steps will begin before the end of 2023. Steps are also being taken to secure a contract to implement a new Interactive Voice Response (IVR) phone system. 

Cameron Penman discussed the ongoing re-registration of legacy customers and advised letters have gone out to 1000 Wheel-Trans customers, along with reminder letters. The second wave of letters has begun and the Self-booking Website also has reminders to customers about re-registering. He provided an update about the Wheel-Trans vehicle fleet and shared that there are currently 90 7 metre ProMaster buses in service. These buses are more comfortable and are replacing the older ‘Friendly’ buses. Customer and Operator safety remain a top priority. As of July 2, 2023 partition barriers will be removed from accessible taxis and sedans and passengers will be allowed to use the front seat of these vehicles. The mandatory masks/face coverings policy, where medically possible, continues on all Wheel-Trans vehicles. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member asked if a human rights complaint regarding the legality of the re-registration had reached the TTC. Cameron Penman stated that there has been media coverage about the topic of re-registration recently and confirmed that nothing has been provided to the TTC yet and he did not know if anything was filed. 

12. Electric Wheel-Trans Buses 

A presentation about electric Wheel-Trans vehicles was previously circulated to ACAT members for review. The ACAT Chair asked if members had any questions. 

A member commented that the contract for the purchase of conventional buses had gone to Nova and asked if Nova had been approached about providing the Wheel-Trans buses. Loris Dametto, Senior Project Manager, Vehicle Programs, explained that Nova and New Flyer will be providing conventional buses but neither company can provide smaller vehicles required by the TTC.  

A member noted that the presentation mentioned six companies expressed interest in the Wheel-Trans contract but none of the companies have a vehicle that meets all the requirements. The member asked if the companies are being asked to provide new designs. Loris Dametto confirmed that most vehicles do not currently offer a rear ramp but that the TTC will not deviate from the requirements and vendors are aware. The TTC does not expect to procure the bulk of the Wheel-Trans buses prior to 2028 so a ramp solution should be established by then.

A member commented that some of the designs feature two side doors. Loris Dametto commented about one vehicle that has a rear ramp however the vehicle appears to be too small for Wheel-Trans requirements. The reason for the pilot vehicles is to learn more about the electric vehicle platform, how it operates in TTC’s environment and apply any lessons learned to bulk procurements. Loris noted that rear ramp uses will be evaluated over the course of the two year pilot study. He further noted that the reason for vehicles not having rear ramps typically is that battery packs are located in the rear of the bus.

A member asked about the lifespan of the new vehicles as opposed to the older ones.  Loris Dametto stated that one of the new proposed pilot vehicles has a lifespan of 12 years. The current 6 metre and 7 metre buses have a lifespan of six to seven years. TTC will also review what overhaul might be required at the mid-life time to ensure they are reliable and available. 

A member suggested more research should be done regarding the rear ramp and questioned if it was cost efficient to purchase pilot buses that the TTC has no intention of using in the future. Loris Dametto explained that the pilot vehicles will be used every day and will be used as tools to learn what works for the TTC and what needs to be improved from the perspective of the Operator and customers. The intention of the two-year pilot study is to learn from the vehicles to inform future bulk procurements and to also publish the findings for the broader paratransit community.

A member suggested that the TTC consider having doors on both sides of the bus as letting people off on one-way streets would be safer as the customer can exit from either side. Loris Dametto commented that side and rear ramps on Wheel-Trans vehicles has been a longstanding requirement through ACAT and TTC intends to keep these options but will also review the option of having an exit door on both sides of the vehicle. In order to electrify the Wheel-Trans fleet by 2040, which is the requirement of the City of Toronto, TTC would like to start the process of procuring pilot electric vehicles.  Loris confirmed that the pilot vehicles would have two exits even if there is no rear ramp and that customer safety will not be compromised. 

Anita Dressler brought the following motion: 

ACAT moves to approve the PowerPoint information and presentation to approve electric buses as presented. 

Howard Wax seconded. Carried. 

The vote was 2 abstain, 1 opposed and 6 in favour.

13. Meeting Time Motion 

At the last ACAT General meeting, the motion about ACAT meeting times was seconded inadvertently by a pool member and requires re-approval. Anita Dressler brought the following motion:

ACAT brings the subject of ACAT meeting times to a close for 2023.  Furthermore, candidates being interviewed for the 2024 ACAT year will be asked their preferred meeting times if they could choose. Answers will be recorded by TTC staff and if ACAT requests the information in the future to further consider this issue, this information will be provided to ACAT members. 

Anita Dressler brought the motion. Lauri Sue Robertson seconded. Carried.

The vote was 1 abstain, 9 in favour 

14. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates: 

Communications Subcommittee (CS)

 Maria Marin, CS Chair, provided a summary of the Communications Subcommittee Meeting held on June 1, 2023.

The Wheel-Trans Access Newsletter was reviewed. The Subcommittee discussed the potential for sensory notices to be included on platform video screens and having sensory alerts on the TTC website. This initiative is being worked on by the Customer Communications and Digital Communications teams.  

The next Communications Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for July 6, 2023 at 1 p.m. 

CS Meeting Highlights:  

  • Review of the Wheel-Trans Access Newsletter.
  • Potential for sensory notices on platform video screens and TTC website

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member asked for clarification about sensory alerts on websites. A member explained that as customers are notified of physical accessibility alerts, there would also be alerts to let customers know about stations that may be impacted by sensory issues, such as construction noise. 

A member asked about the status of Line 5 stop announcements. Heather Brown, Director of Customer Experience, explained that TTC staff are waiting for direction and for a meeting to be scheduled. 

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS)

Craig Nicol, DRS Chair, discussed the items reviewed at the DRS meeting held on June 13, 2023. The York University stair handrail has been redesigned by TTC architects, altering the right and left stair handrails that are not perpendicular to the stair risers. This work is expected to be completed later this year. 

An update was provided about bus door chimes on the Nova and NewFlyer bus purchases. The back door of the new buses would chime when someone is leaving the bus to alert to the doors closing. The Subcommittee suggested that customers should be able to hear the chimes outside the bus as well. The Subcommittee was updated about the Scarborough Centre Station plans. Designs have not been presented to the Subcommittee yet but attempts are being made to improve accessibility to bus platforms and possibly eliminate one of the elevator transfers so that customers do not have to transfer between as many elevators to access the subway platform. The Subcommittee also suggested having one escalator so people do not need to transfer levels. 

The Subcommittee reviewed Eglinton Station and determined there is no accessibility issue as both sides are open on either side of the stairs. The Subcommittee also discussed the power doors that seem to be frequently out of service at Yonge-Sheppard Shopping Centre, which connects to Sheppard Subway Station. The Subcommittee discussed who might be responsible for the maintenance of the third-party doors and whether clear direction could be given and specific clauses included in negotiations for future stations that have third party entrances. 

The next DRS meeting is scheduled for July 11, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. 

DRS Meeting Highlights: 

  • York University stair handrail update 
  • Door chimes on new Nova and NewFlyer buses 
  • Scarborough Centre Station design update 
  • Accessibility of Eglinton Station 
  • Yonge-Sheppard Centre power doors

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS)

Howard Wax, SPS Chair, presented about the SPS meeting held June 6, 2023. A fire safety presentation was made detailing evacuation protocols. The presentation will be presented at a future ACAT General Meeting. Metrolinx staff also observed the presentation. Line 5 plans are expected to be presented to the Subcommittee in the future by Metrolinx so that ACAT knows how Metrolinx intends to incorporate the TTC safety plans. The Subcommittee also reviewed dwell times for connecting buses at the surface connection for stations where there is no bus platform.
The next meeting is scheduled for July 4, 2023. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee: 
The ACAT Chair suggested having the fire safety presentation deferred to the September ACAT General Meeting. 

SPS Meeting Highlights:

  • Emergency Management and Fire Safety protocols
  • Bus dwell times mid-route  

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS)

Lauri Sue Robertson, WTOS Chair, discussed the topics reviewed at the WTOS meeting held on June 14, 2023. 

Opening the full ride share service model was discussed and the Subcommittee was asked to support suggested changes. An update was provided about the re-registration efforts for legacy customers. A presentation was made about the procurement of new electric buses for the future. This presentation was later shared with all ACAT members for review and feedback as well. Lastly, the Subcommittee was updated about Family of Service trips and survey results from the diversion mode usage survey.

The next WTOS meeting is scheduled for July 12, 2023 at 1 p.m. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member asked whether partition barriers were being removed from all vehicles. Cameron Penman advised barriers will be removed from all accessible taxis and sedans only. 

WTOS Meeting Highlights: 

  • Full ride share model resumption 
  • Customer re-registration update 
  • Procurement of new Wheel-Trans electric buses

The next WTOS meeting is scheduled for July 12, 2023 at 1 p.m. 

15.Other/New Business 

a. Wheel-Trans Appeal Location Update 
b. Signage at Kennedy Station
c. TAAC motion  

a. Wheel-Trans Appeal Location 

The ACAT Chair provide an update about Wheel-Trans appeal locations. She will be doing a site visit with the Wheel-Trans Assistant Manager of Customer Service to review and ensure accessibility on a proposed interim location for appeals. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member suggested that it is important to ensure a location is not just accessible inside but also accessible by regular transit. The ACAT Chair suggested that door-to-door service is allowed for people attending the appeal panel.

b. Kennedy Station Signage 

A member suggested that the directional signs at Kennedy Station need to be clear, specifically about how to get to Yonge. Heather Brown will review this with the Wayfinding Department and see how improvements can be made. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee: 

A member suggested signs at the front of buses should have the destination displayed not just the route number. The member also suggested that the Wheel-Trans appeal location should also consider the proximity to a TTC stop. 

c. TAAC Motion 

A member discussed a motion that was brought by the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee at their last meeting. The motion was for City Council to request that the TTC board requests that the TTC CEO arranges a presentation about service changes being made to Wheel-Trans service, including the rationale for the changes, details about how people with disabilities were consulted in the proposed changes, the status of the re-registration process and FOS cost savings details. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee: 

Cameron Penman advised that TTC staff are working on the request internally and that some steps are required in terms of the TTC Board first. 

The ACAT Chair asked for a copy of the motion to be provided to her. 

16. Next Meeting 

The next ACAT General Meeting is scheduled for July 27, 2023 at 1:00 p.m.


The meeting was adjourned on a motion by Betty Rivington-Law at 2:31 p.m. 

Cindy Edwards 
Recording Secretary

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