Below is a summary of the accessibility issues and suggestions for improvement raised by customers at the 2016 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.

The Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy has additional information on initiatives underway to improve Wheel-Trans services.

Phone wait-times

Comments

“Why such long wait times on the telephone?”

“My only concern is holding on the phone for over an hour.”

“When phone lines are full, there is no notification that lines are full and so the system hangs up but there is no busy signal.”

“Provide a message that gives an approximate time before you will be answered (e.g., customer service representative will be with you in 5 minutes, etc.)”

“Is there some way that we could have an alternative that instead of calling in to the priority line, we could e-mail?”

Response

The TTC recognizes and acknowledges the lengthy wait times that customers may encounter when contacting Wheel-Trans. Several improvements are in the works including a new telephone system as well as improved call centre processes that we hope will improve the call centre. We do plan to add the approximate wait time feature as part of the new system.

We are also working hard to improve the experience on the priority line. We will explore how different modes of technology could help both our customers and staff.

Booking Suggestions

Comments

“I have a therapy dog. It would be great if you could add a line in the accompany/assistant section of booking so I could indicate if he is coming. I have had problems with other passengers unwilling to have a dog in the car.”

“Allow customers that have a pre-booking to make changes on their own.”

“Time slots for pick-up/drop-offs not always available.”

“When booking online, it seems to have become more and more common that when booking rides, especially early morning rides, that if there isn't a ride for your desired time, that you are given an alternate time that is often hours earlier than you need. It would be more logical if you were either put on the wait list, or given a time closer to what you wanted/needed.”

“Whenever we book a ride, we have to wait four hours before our departure. It should be one or two hours.”

Response

As per the AODA, all service animals are allowed to travel on the TTC. Going forward, we will look at improving the booking process for those travelling with animals.

We will look into allowing customers to make pre-booking changes online as we make improvements to our booking system as part of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year strategy.

Part of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy includes improvements to schedules; however, Wheel-Trans is a service that is in high demand and we encourage customers to book in advance wherever possible.

We are reviewing our service delivery processes and working to improve the availability of pick-up and departure times and will take this into consideration.

Dispatch / Pickup

Comments

“There needs to be greater consistency when it comes to where to meet Wheel-Trans vehicles at different subway stations. I also get conflicting information from the person who booked my trip and from the drivers when I arrive at my destination.”

“What can be done to further the awareness of the police, security, and others, especially at events like the CNE, to recognize that Wheel-Trans isn't always a bus? Taxies and vans make up the bulk of my rides.”

“Sometimes I am at work and I finish earlier than my scheduled time or if I am not feeling well, I call for a ride home and am told nothing is available.”

“Decrease the 30 minute wait times for customers to 20 minutes.”

“The Wheel-Trans stops in High Park do not have proper Wheel-Trans bus stop poles. That is a big problem for customers. Drivers driving around don't stop. We need stop poles there.”

Response

We will work to resolve issues around drop off points at subway stations by conducting a location by location review in 2017.

Wheel-Trans staff are working to communicate information about types of Wheel-Trans vehicles to other City Agencies and are working to find solutions for our contracted vehicles and drivers.

Wheel-Trans is working toward improving the flexibility for spontaneous travel changes to our schedule. During our peak periods we can experience upwards of 16,000 trips per day. Due to our significant volume, last minute changes to the schedule have to be handled with careful consideration.

We are reviewing changes to the pickup process to provide the best level of service for all customers. Please call us if you have specific concerns with your trips.

We will work to ensure that proper Wheel-Trans stop signage is installed in High Park.

Wheel-Trans service reliability

Comments

“I was booking to be picked up at 2:10pm and the pickup taxi came at 2:00pm and waited 3 minutes and left.”

“Why do we have to wait to get a response from the priority line? On several occasions I have tried for an hour, usually late at night, and gave up and got a cab.”

“Wheel-Trans drivers arriving for pickups late thus making persons late for their destinations.”

“It would be nice if we could receive a notification or call from drivers if they will be late, and then again when they arrive so that we don’t need to wait for a long time outside.”

“Contact me if the driver is running late.”

“Wheel-Trans didn't come one night as it broke down.”

“A few months ago, my ride was 25 mins late. Since I did not have a cell phone, I went into my 1st floor apartment to call Wheel-Trans. Just as I was dialing, I glanced out the window and saw the ride pull up. I hung up grabbed my cane, locked my door and went out and the driver was on his phone reporting me as a no-show.”

Response

We are reviewing changes to the pickup process to provide the best level of service for all customers as well as reviewing new technologies to improve the level of service for all customers. Wheel Trans is procuring new scheduling software that include options that will improve the customer experience as suggested.

We have employees dedicated to the priority line throughout the day and early evening. We are looking at changing our staffing levels to meet demand; however, presently Wheel-Trans is not an on-demand service.

We recognize the impact that these type of incidents have on our customers and we strive to improve our delivery and reliability of service. Wheel-Trans has achieved its target of on time performance of 90% and we are reviewing service delivery options to further improve this going forward. We hope to improve service delivery through enhancements to our customer policies and upgraded technologies. Going forward please feel free to contact us to discuss the specifics of your trip should incidents like this occur.

Wheel-Trans trip length

Comments

“Some drivers do not accept directions when told they are going the longer route.”

“Let the drivers use their experience, such as short cuts during rush hours. Let clients internally agree. I could let someone get off first to not miss a dinner booking if I have no timeline.”

“A lot of the times the scheduling system will give the driver five minutes to go to a place that's twenty minutes away or vice versa. I think an enhanced scheduling computer system is needed in order for the system to be more efficient.”

Response

Our drivers have been instructed to follow the route provided to them and for safety reasons are unable to deviate from the route. If you experience that you are consistently on a longer than necessary route, please call us and we will look into your specific trip. We are reviewing new technologies to improve the level of service for all customers, including an improved scheduling system.

Wheel-Trans eligibility

Comments

“Sometimes one runs into situations where they have to go for medical procedures but if no one is available to pick them up they just cannot have the procedure which is quite sad.  Would Wheel-Trans be able to provide this service?”

“Could the Wheel-Trans applications not be automatically approved for patients being given a 30-day pass by Toronto Rehab? Why the need to interview if these people can also do disabled parking? It's the twice the work for you.”

“I am visually impaired, and legally blind, meaning total, with diabetic condition, respiratory on oxygen. I would like to know how would I qualify to get door to door?”

“I have some concerns about those who abuse the service and hope that the TTC would be able to weed out some if not all of these abuses.” 

Response

Wheel-Trans is unable to provide emergency medical transportation. However, we are working towards improving the availability of same day booking for registered customers.

The eligibility process for Wheel-Trans was developed in accordance with the AODA. All customers applying for Wheel-Trans service are assessed differently than those customers applying for accessible parking permits. TTC encourages anyone who is interested in applying for our service to complete an application. Applications are available on the Wheel-Trans website.

TTC will be implementing a new recertification program for existing customers to ensure our service is able to best match customer needs.

Wheel-Trans policy

Comments

“One thing I'm finding with some of the drivers will not take us on Wheel-Trans because our dog is not registered.”

“I occasionally need more than one assistant. Why is it that depending on who I speak to, I receive it and then I don't on other days.”

“Please explain fully the process about penalties, no shows, and suspensions. Who does one call when they miss a bus or get a suspension letter? What sensitivity training do the customer service representatives get?”

“Cancellation policy works against riders with multiple disabilities or fluctuating abilities who must take a ride or lose service when taking a ride will have detrimental effects. Especially if an event is supposed to be for pleasure and that day it will be a punishment to go instead”

“I have cursed a couple of times and have been suspended. Now forced to take TTC, I have been injured.”

Response

Customers can travel with pet companions which are on a leash and or  secured in an enclosed carrier during weekends and weekday off peak periods, that is before 6:30am; 10am to 3:30pm and after 7pm. A Service Animal may accompany a passenger at any time.

Wheel-Trans allows all customers to travel with one support person or companion Monday-Friday, and an unlimited amount on weekends and holidays. Unfortunately, space limitations on vehicles mean that we cannot offer this every day.

The no show and late cancellation policies are currently under revision in order to improve the customer experience. Sensitivity and awareness training has started and will continue in 2017; however, please visit our website to review our current contact list and procedures. Please feel free to contact Wheel-Trans with any specific questions.

TTC operates under a Code of Conduct to ensure the respect and dignity of our employees and Customers combined.  No customers are suspended without significant investigation, documentation, and legal due diligence.

Wheel-Trans no shows

Comments

“Drivers should wait longer. Not fair drivers only wait 5 minutes then give a no show, but customers wait up to 30 minutes for late rides.”

“Drivers don't always pick-up at correct spot, then mark us as "NO SHOW.”

“I have witnessed myself a driver stop in the wrong spot. For pick up, they leave us a "no-show", while we were waiting at the right entrance.”

Response

Drivers are required to wait five minutes past the scheduled pick-up time. Please contact Wheel-Trans if this does not occur. Going forward, we are reviewing changes to the pickup process to provide the best level of service for all customers.

Wheel-Trans RideLine and online booking

Comments

“How can we erase any "recent rides" from our online list? Some were used once. Phoning Customer Service takes far too long to reach them for this.”

“When people book a trip, if they have a favourite destination that they have put in their profile, it would be really nice if we could be able to put our own directions in with that destination instead of having to call customer service or e-mail it to have somebody else do it.”

“Please make changes to your online booking. It’s too complicated and too confusing!”

Response

Currently, the online system does not have the ability for customers to erase recent rides. However, as TTC advances our technology and systems we will explore adding this feature. We will also explore the possibility for customers to add their own notes for a destination. While we are working on improvements, help videos that are available through the online booking website might be of some assistance while we work to develop the new system.

Wheel-Trans smartphone app

Comment

“The app should allow cellphone access to the Wheel-Trans driver. All Wheel-Trans users should have a cellphone as a requirement.”

Response

Staff is reviewing this request and we anticipate a solution in mid-2017. However, we will always support customers regardless of whether or not they have access to a smartphone.

Other Wheel-Trans Questions

Comments

“Please explain what is being done to provide sensitivity training to people who call in to the priority line”

“When we call in you have people on the other end that are not trained to deal with people who deal with my rate of issues, of physical and medical issues, which then lead to emotional issues.   I'm asking that they are trained to learn how not just to answer a phone but how to deal with differently abled people.”

“Wheel-Trans needs improvement. No one is doing anything!”

Response

TTC strives to ensure that all of our customers have an experience that is dignified and respectful. Sensitivity and awareness training has started and will continue in 2017.

Wheel Trans has a 10-Year Strategy that will improve the quality of service delivery and completely redesign how we deliver services to our customers.