Below is a summary of the accessibility issues and suggestions for improvement raised by customers at the 2017 Public Forum regarding Customer Information and Customer Service. 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.

Customer Education on Accessibility

Comments

  • “Could TTC create bracelets to identify someone with an invisible disability?”
  • “People use the blue seats and won't move when you need one.”
  • “Allow riders using mobility devices on bus first at every bus stop”
  • “Suggest a PSA campaign and/or signage at elevators and subway doors, to remind people to let customers exit first before trying to get on the elevator/subway.”
  • “When I get on the new streetcar, I can't find where to pay fares”.
  • “People put trash on the seats, on the floor, do not respect environment. There are places to put waste, recycling, etc. but needs to be education.”
  • “Some people keep on talking loudly without any courtesy for the other passengers on Wheel-Trans”
  • “Could you do a public service announcement about Family of Services?”
  • “Could a representative from Wheel-Trans come to our location and speak about the new changes that have been made and that are coming?”

Response

Based on ACAT advice, TTC is planning to launch a program to provide courtesy badges and/or cards to assist and empower TTC customers who require a seat on public transit. More information will be available in 2018.

We have run an education campaign advising customers that people using mobility devices should board first and exit last. We will keep working on getting the message out.

We have just completed a video on the accessible features of the new streetcars that includes information on how to ride on the new cars, including paying fares. The video can be found on the TTC’s Youtube Channel External link will open in YouTube.

We are currently running a recycling campaign on all of our platform video screens and station information screens.

We understand that conversations can get loud at times, however, Wheel-Trans is a part of public transit. Our corporate communications team have launched a TTC-wide courtesy campaign to address this concern.

TTC regularly supports and promotes broad ranging communications including media pieces whenever requested by the media agency.

We are open to community outreaches, subject to staff availability. All the information relating to the changes at Wheel-Trans are available on our website at www.ttc.ca, by clicking the Wheel-Trans tab on the top right.  Customers are encouraged to contact Wheel-Trans customer service to set up a session with a representative

Hard Copy Information

Comments

  • “Suggest that the accessibility symbol is made larger on the Ride Guide map. Currently it is very small.”
  • “Please have Ride Guides in accessible formats for people with special needs.”

Response

We will consider these suggestions for future Ride Guide updates.

Better Information At Stops

Comments

  • “I would like to see the time line info at the bus stop at Meadowvale and Sheppard”
  • “Schedules should be provided in paper format. I can’t afford internet.”
  • “Post service change notices lower so that customers in mobility devices can read them”

Response

The TTC will mail hard copy route schedules of any route directly to customers. Please contact TTC Customer Service to make a request at 416 393-3030.

Service change notices are to be posted 1500mm high from the ground to the centre of posting, which is consistent with accessibility requirements.

Better Information On Vehicles

Comments

  • “Why did the TTC install new 'Doors will open on the left/right' audible announcements on the new Toronto Rocket trains?”

Response

Door opening side announcements are provided so that customers with vision loss, seniors and others with limited mobility can prepare in advance to exit the train. "Left" and "right" directional information is provided in relation to the direction of travel of the train. This information is provided in audible format to meet our corporate commitment under the AODA to provide information in audible and visual formats.

Customer information by phone

Comments

  • “Info line hours are too short. There should be more customer service representatives available.”

Response

Representatives at TTC's customer information office are available to answer calls seven days a week from 8am to 6pm. Customers may also call 24/7 and use our automated system to obtain pre-recorded information. TTC’s website has all of the details about our schedules and service, and we have a very easy to use Trip Planner that customers can access any time online. While we would like to add representatives to our Customer Service Centre, we have a limited budget to work with. We encourage customers who are able to to access information about TTC’s services online via our website. Customers may also choose to share their compliments, complaints and inquiries via our website.

Better Information in Subway Stations

Comments

  • “I can never remember where the elevator is on the subway platform. I can never see the sign for the elevator on the platform. It is small and there are other signs in the way and if there is a crowd I cannot see over their heads to see the elevator sign.”
  • “Better signage to indicate where accessible routes, elevators, escalators are.”

Response

Signage is being updated across the TTC system. Better, more visible signs identifying accessible pathways and elevators is a priority.

Better information for Wheel-Trans Customers

Comments

  • “When is GPS tracking for Wheel-Trans coming for customers?”
  • “Make it mandatory that new clients (and any no shows) take part in a class on do's and don'ts of Wheel-Trans system.”
  • “At hospitals, please provide literature to patients to inform them about applying for Wheel-Trans. No one told me until after I had surgery that I qualified”

Response

As part of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy, TTC will be exploring various technology improvements that may enhance the customer experience and improve communications between customers and Wheel-Trans. The Wheel-Trans team is also exploring what information (i.e. the do's and don'ts) do we need to communicate to our new customers, and will be producing a revised customer handbook in 2017.

Wheel-Trans has recently sent out communication to our major health care partners on how to apply for service when they have a patient in hospital, whether for emergency purposes or planned procedures.

Better customer service

Comments

  • “Customer service at Davisville needs better disability training. Not everyone can use a telephone and previously in-person the representative would type up the report. I tried to report damage to my new walker in-person on the same day with no help from CSR. Kept telling me to call (can't use a phone).”

Response

Thank you for sharing your experience with TTC Customer Service this is a good example for us to share with our team to ensure that we provide a better experience going forward.

Better customer service: Wheel-Trans

Comments

  • “Could someone send me a copy of my favourites list to see if adjustments are needed?”
  • “We requested driver to turn the air conditioning lower as the bus was very cold, but they refused. Another customer boarded the Wheel-Trans bus and made the same request but the driver also refused. The driver showed no respect and refused to respond to the customers. We complained to Customer Service but there was no action taken.”
  • “The priority line staff made me feel small and spoke down to me when I was inquiring about my ride.”
  • “Perhaps you could contract out a private company to be the customer service so that therefore the customer service can't defend their fellow co-workers. Perhaps they shouldn't be former drivers or former other employees from different departments, but perhaps they could be people who apply for the position with proper qualifications”
  • “How long does one employee work? If it's 8 hours I am sure they get tired answering sill questions. Maybe the employees should interviewed and check their attitude. Always rushing, why?”
  • “Sometimes they hang up the phone after I've been waiting, provide the wrong pickup time or don’t speak clearly.”
  • “Some of the staff answering phones are rude.”
  • “Sometimes I am told "no" service with no reason given”

Response

For changes to your favourites, please contact Customer Service at 416-393-4111 or by email at wtcs@ttc.ca and provide us your details and we will be happy to assist you.

For every complaint submitted to Wheel-Trans Customer Service, a Customer Service Report is generated and the issue would have been followed up with the Operator. Customers can contact Customer Service for follow-up to their original complaint however we are unable to provide specific actions taken regarding employees.

All customer service staff are carefully selected and trained and held to high standards of accountability. Job equity is a protected ground.

The volume of calls has increased and employees are trying to assist as many customers as they can during their shift. We have increased our staff and have been offering new training programs to ensure all customers are treated with professional, respectful and efficient service.

They are always coached and reminded to be patient and professional, not to rush and to always focus on providing great customer service. Staff is and will continue to be reminded to always repeat themselves, speak clearly and carefully to ensure customers fully understand the information which is being communicated to them. We will continue to monitor this and ensure customers are being assisted professionally and as efficiently as possible

We would never refuse to provide service to a customer. A reason and option is always provided to any caller. 

Better training: bus / streetcar / subway

Comments

  • “Some drivers don’t want to kneel the bus.”
  • “Sometimes the gap between the sidewalk and bus is too big and I cannot step onto the bus. Drivers need to be close to the curb and lower the bus. A few years ago I fell because of this.”
  • “Drivers tell us to wait for the next bus so they don't have to board customers using wheelchairs.”
  • “I need Operator assistance with getting a blue seat.”
  • “On buses the drivers won't get up to lift the seat for wheelchair users, instead the drivers expect customers to lift seats.”
  • “99% of the time drivers do not secure my wheelchair on the regular TTC.”
  • “Streetcar and bus drivers not going forward before an elderly person is seated or hanging on”
  • “Allow people to sit before proceeding to drive”
  • “When buses pull into a subway station, they often stop at different platforms. As a blind person, to orient myself properly I need to know where the bus is actually stopping.” 
  • “Why TTC drivers will not wait for seniors and disabled to make it to the stop. They have a schedule but cannot wait for people to catch a bus (less than minute)”

Response

Operators are trained to lower the bus at all times, however, the ramp should be lowered for any customers who requests it. Operators are trained to align both the front and rear doors with the curb when servicing a stop on the street or when parking on a platform at a station. Operators are trained to be aware of the risk to safety that results when a customer is forced to step too far from the bus to reach the curb or vice versa. They are also educated on the difficulty some customers experience when forced to step up or down too great a distance to enter or exit the vehicle. In situations when aligning with the curb is impossible (e.g., cars parked too close to the stops, snow banks, construction). Operators are instructed to proceed to the first available, safe location for boarding and alighting customers.

The blue seats are intended for customers with a disability, which could be visible or not. Operators are required to ask customers occupying the blue seats if they would be kind enough to make a seat available. However, a customer already occupying a blue seat is not obliged to vacate the seat. In fact, this customer may have a disability which is not visible and, therefore, they also may require a blue seat. When someone declines to do vacate a seat, Operators cannot make them comply.

It is TTC policy for Operators to lift seats for customers using mobility devices and ask the customer if they wish to be secured when boarding. Customers must use all of the securements, or none of them.

Operators are trained to ensure they maneuver their bus, whether braking, accelerating or turning, in a manner that keeps their customers safe. Operators are trained to wait for all customers who appear to be unsteady on their feet to be seated or standing firmly and holding a stanchion before putting the bus in motion. Bus Operators should be waiting for all customers including seniors and people using mobility devices to be in place before moving the vehicle.

Operators are trained to advise customers when the vehicle will be stopping at a location other than the normal, designated stop, including providing a description of the immediate area.

Bus Operators are trained to accommodate any customer who is intending to use the service. There may be some cases where an Operator does not see an intending customer but this should not be the norm. However, depending on the time of day or frequency of service, this practice may not be in the best interests of other users of the road.

For any concerns with individual trips where the above policies are not followed, please report the bus number, date and time to TTC Customer Service and we will address the issue directly with the Operator.

Better training: streetcar

Comments

  • “Streetcar drivers close the doors too quickly essentially leaving us in a live lane of traffic as we are trying to get to the curb cuts. When will the regular TTC staff be getting training similar to that of Wheel-Trans operators?”

Response

TTC launched new AODA refresher and customer service upgrade training for streetcar operators starting October 22, 2017, in order to support and accompany the family of service changes at Wheel-Trans.

Better training: subway

Comments

  • “The subway doors should stay open longer when at the station as they close too quickly, and hit my mobility device when getting on the subway.”

Response

TTC subway operators are required to keep the doors open until all the exiting and boarding passengers are clear of the doorways, including customers using mobility devices. To emphasize this, TTC Training staff will review door operation with Operators as part of ongoing recertification and AODA training

Better training: Wheel-Trans

Comments

  • “Sometimes on Wheel-Trans buses or vans, drivers drive too rough, and I am tossed around.”
  • “When I was picked up by the Wheel-Trans driver, they made an assumption on my gender. So I think that there needs to be some training around that for the drivers.”
  • “More sensitivity training is needed.”
  • “There are a few drivers if they are late to pick you up and there is a long driveway to get to you, they park the bus at the top of the driveway sneak down, stick a no show sticker, while you are sitting there. If they come in when the bus is reversing it makes a noise so you cannot miss it. I use a wheelchair.”

Response

Further communication to drivers will be provided to ensure both Wheel-Trans and contracted taxi drivers are providing a safe means of transportation. Drivers and other employees are reminded to always address customers by their first name or preferred name. We will continue to ensure that terms associated with genders are not used for the respect of everyone.

Regular and frequent AODA and Sensitivity training is provided to our employees to better understand our customers needs.

When picking up a customer, Operators are trained to park at a safe place, to approach the first accessible door, and announce their next pick-up person. Operators are then to wait the 5 minutes past the pick-up time or wait 5 minutes after their arrival prior to posting a No-Show sticker. We encourage all customers to be ready at-least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled pick-up time.

If there are any concerns with individual trips where the above policies are not followed, customers are encouraged to provide feedback to Wheel-Trans Customer Service following their trip so that we can follow-up with the specific driver.

Better training: Wheel-Trans contracted services

Comments

  • “Why is there a difference between the Wheel-Trans bus and other Wheel-Trans service? Service quality in terms of lateness, assistance, etc. differs.”
  • “I have an invisible disability and don’t always receive the best service from sedan taxi drivers. What kind of training do these drivers receive?”
  • “Very often drivers do not walk us to the door and are still talking on the phone or using their earphones”
  • “Better communication is needed with taxis regarding drivers to allow dogs into their vehicles”
  • “Taxi drivers need training updated often they will not secure seat belts unless asked.”
  • “Taxi drivers don’t follow the rules. They need proper education on how to deal with their passengers.”
  • “Accessible taxi drivers… a lot of them arrive late and they always blame construction for being late, and they are eager to give out no-show tickets.”

Response

We expect the same level of customer service from our contracted services. They are held to the same accountability as a Wheel-Trans bus driver would be. We continue to monitor, coach and address any concerns with service provided by the contracted vehicles.

We work with the contractors to ensure that proper training is conducted. We have included sensitivity and awareness in the training program being delivered. ACAT also attends to audit and monitor the training courses being delivered. We will deal with specific cases as they are identified.

We will remind and send out a notice that drivers must not be on the phone while engaged with a customer, must follow the proper procedures at drop-offs and escort to the doors, must ask and assist with the seatbelt at all times, follow the Highway Traffic Act, and be on-time. Every contractor has also been advised that service animals must be accommodated as per the AODA.

If there are any concerns with individual trips where the above policies are not followed, customers are encouraged to provide feedback to Wheel-Trans Customer Service following their trip so that we can follow-up with the specific driver. 

Fares for people with disabilities and seniors

Comments

  • “There should be $1 fares for seniors during off-peak hours.”
  • “Why not make it affordable for people with disabilities?”
  • “Why doesn't the City of Toronto have a monthly pass for persons with disabilities?”
  • “I just heard that children up to 8 years do not pay, is that right? Instead it should be for seniors.”

Response

The City of Toronto is currently working with the TTC on a Fare Equity project to provide discounted fares to low-income residents. In December 2016, the TTC Board endorsed the City of Toronto’s proposed Transit Fare Equity: Fair Pass Program. The program will be rolled out in phases and the TTC will be working with the City to implement it. The first phase in 2018 will specifically include Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works clients before expanding to all low-income Toronto residents by 2020.

The policy of children riding for free up until age 12 was introduced as a way to provide financial relief for families. Many low-income families rely on the TTC to get to school, doctors’ appointments and recreational activities but found it a financial strain paying for an adult and children to make these trips.  Allowing children to ride for free has alleviated a lot of stress for low-income families who use the TTC as their primary mode of transportation. The TTC does not have the budget to extend further discounts or free ridership to seniors. 

Fare payment

Comments

  • “I have issues with tapping Presto cards, it should be hands free. Annual pass will be less accessible on PRESTO both gates and vehicle readers.”
  • “Wheelchair gates at subway should be used for wheelchairs not for general public because wheelchairs get pushed out of way all to get a free ride.”
  • “There seems to be fare evasion at Scarborough Centre Station, with people sneaking in for free from the GO side.”

Response

The new wide aisle fare gates have PRESTO card readers on the top and front of the gate, to make it easier for customers with limited mobility or dexterity to tap. Those wide gates that don't yet have the reader on the front will have them installed before the end of the PRESTO rollout. Customers who require assistance tapping their card on a card reader on a vehicle can ask the operator for assistance.

Accessibility benefits everyone, and we encourage anyone who requires the wide gates to use them, whether that is a customer using a wheelchair, a parent travelling with a stroller, customers with luggage, or anyone who feels that they could benefit from using the wide gate.

TTC appreciates customer concerns with respect to the perceived fare evasion that is occurring at some of our subway stations. We can assure that Transit Enforcement works cooperatively with Stations staff and Bus and Streetcar Transportation Supervisory staff to proactively monitor illegal entry to our stations. Often times, customers become confused when transferring from one transit system to another and inadvertently enter the TTC subway system inappropriately at an area other than the designated passenger entrance. While in some instances this activity may pose a safety concern should a customer walk across a bus roadway etc. the problem of fare evasion will be mitigated with the full implementation of PRESTO as special constables and fare inspectors will be performing inspections at random points across the transit system.