Below is a summary of the accessibility issues and suggestions for improvement raised by customers at the 2014 Public Forum regarding Wheel-Trans Operating Procedures. These suggestions were submitted during the meeting, on comment forms, and in comments to TTC Customer Service. Customer comments are accompanied by a summary of the current status of each issue.

Booking and phone wait-times

Comments:

“The reservations office is still very difficult to get through to.”

“Add more telephone agents to answer the phone lines as the wait time is excessive.”

“For people that can't use the Ride Line trip booking system they should have a voice mail so people can book trips without talking to someone.”

“Wheel-Trans need to incorporate a call back (leave your number) system to avoid being on hold for extended amount of time.”

Response:

Wheel-Trans appreciates that there are still some challenges with wait times for the reservationists lines. Seven new reservationists were added as of September 2014, and the overall wait time has decreased by three minutes. Wheel-Trans plans to add an additional six reservationists in 2015, which should further reduce the wait times for customers. Customers also have the option to book, cancel or confirm all of their trips on-line at mywheel-trans.ttc.ca or by using the automated system RideLine, at 416-397-8000. Unfortunately, Wheel-Trans operates primarily an in-bound call centre, and does not have the staffing levels to respond to and book trips via voice mail. Regarding a call back system, the current Wheel-Trans phone system is analogue, and does not have the ability to implement this feature; however, this suggestion will be considered when the system is upgraded to digital lines.

Dispatch and Pickup

Comments:

“At my church, there are two customers that go to the same direction 10 minutes apart, but yet Wheel-Trans would send two different vehicles for us. Why is that?”

“Wheel-Trans scheduling often has us at our destination 1.5 hour too early when doors are locked and it is cold or raining.”

“Provide more window time for bus drivers to avoid 20-30 minute wait for other scheduled next in line passengers.”

Response:

With a seven-day booking period, trips are booked at various times and it is not always possible to put trips between the same origin and destination on the same vehicle. In addition, even minor 10 minute variations in arrival or departure times may reduce the chance of being scheduled on the same vehicle.

Every effort is made to honour a customer's requested times but sometimes no vehicles are available and an alternate time is offered. Also, late cancellations en route may shorten a long trip and create an early arrival. Wheel-Trans will not leave a customer behind locked doors.

Schedules have been relaxed over the past three years by providing more embarking and disembarking time and slowing vehicle speeds. Schedules are monitored closely and adjustments are made for late vehicles.

Wheel-Trans eligibility and policy

Comments:

“I have asked for more information regarding the marking on the questions for what is eligibility, and if they are being re-checked, what is the marking scheme? I was told it was going to be put on the web.”

“TTC should divide Wheel-Trans single services into two services: Essential Services - for sick and dialysis patients who cannot withstand long time and non-essential services for recreation, going to the mall, restaurants and sightseeing.”

Response:

Under the direction of the Toronto Ombudsman's office, Wheel-Trans has placed their eligibility process and criteria on the TTC website. Applicants all receive a copy of the results of their assessments, and the points are listed on that document.

Under the AODA, there is no provision to prioritize the type of trip request. All trip requests are considered important, and every attempt is made to schedule each one. The accommodated rate is approximately 98-99% of all trip requests.

Wheel-Trans online booking website

Comments:

“The online booking is great but limited as some addresses for commercial buildings do not come up in computer.”

“Difficulty with the internet booking system.”

“I would like to see a service for us that do not use a computer as well as others. A teaching session would be good.”

“Need web reservations for Wheel-Trans on mobile phone.”

Response:

All addresses in the City of Toronto that Wheel-Trans provides service to should be available on our online site. Please contact Customer Service should that ever not be the case, so that the address in question can be added. Customer Service staff is available Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to assist customers with learning how to book online. Wheel-Trans offers group training to use the online system on a quarterly basis, and in 2015 Wheel-Trans will have comprehensive training videos available for customers. Wheel-Trans will also be looking to upgrade the booking website in 2015 to consistently work well on mobile devices.

Wheel-Trans service reliability

Comments:

“Wheel-Trans customers should not wait more than 30 minutes.”

“What will be done about the often extremely late Wheel-Trans vehicles? Is it entirely due to traffic delays? Could it be lack of vehicles? My 83 year old father is often left waiting over 45 minutes.”

Response:

Wheel-Trans provides over 10,000 rides daily, or over 3 million a year. Our standard is to arrive within 10 minutes of the scheduled time. In 2014, this standard was met over 85% of the time. If your ride is running 30 minutes or more late, you will be contacted by a dispatcher to provide you with an ETA, or you can call the Priority Line at 416-393-4311. Wheel-Trans also prioritizes service to assist customers who have been waiting for longer periods.

Wheel-Trans no shows

Comments:

“Buses and taxi cabs do not stay five minutes before they leave.”

“If I was listed as a no show and it was being investigated will I be informed of the outcome?”

“No-show policies goes against our human rights policies as well. When you have a no-show slip on a door, you wouldn't have a bounced cheque on a door, but you also have a person's name, first name, last name... My consideration is why do we even have that?”

“My suggestion is that the operator reminds him of the number of late cancellations or no-shows that he has for that month when he books his rides.”

Response:

All drivers are required to wait five minutes beyond the scheduled time before issuing a no-show. Please contact Customer Service if you feel the driver did not follow policy so that Wheel-Trans can investigate the incident. When a customer calls Customer Service to report a dispute over a no-show, the incident gets recorded and a unique reference number is generated. If the customer asks to be notified of the outcome of the investigation, they will be called back.

The no-show policy and the slip that gets left behind is intended to alert a customer to the fact that they will need to call Wheel-Trans to arrange for another ride. The reason the customer's name is placed on the slip is so they will know that they received a no-show. Wheel-Trans does not place the customer's address or phone number or registration number or any other personal information on the slip.

There are plans in 2015, for the Wheel-Trans automated call-out service to contact customers at their first and fourth late cancellation or no-show. We are also exploring the possibility of this information being available online under the customer profile.