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Message from Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans

Eve Wiggins The TTC’s Wheel-Trans service is proud to play a part in your journey across the city, connecting you to all of the places you need to go. The TTC’s family of services is designed to help you travel independently, with dignity and as spontaneously as possible. From our fully accessible fixed route buses, new subway trains, station improvements and new low-floor streetcars, the TTC is more accessible than ever before.

We’re working to improve the overall experience for our customers and we’re focused on connecting you to the larger accessible TTC network. You could say, we’re filling in accessibility gaps until the conventional system reaches its goal of a fully accessible TTC by 2025

Collectively, our understanding of accessibility is evolving. As demographics shift, thinking about accessibility has become a priority for all customer service organizations. At the TTC, we’re committed to going beyond compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). We’ve developed a 10-year strategy to improve customer service, ensure fairness for all and to make sure specialized transit services are sustainable. And we’re not doing it alone. The TTC is working with the community, the ACAT Committee and neighbouring regional transit agencies to align our plans and jointly focus on putting customers at the centre of all our decision-making and transit planning.

In this edition of Access, we’re highlighting some of the great work already being done to improve the TTC’s accessibility. From an update on easier access, to the safety advertising campaign that we’re launching in January, we want you to be informed about all the things we’re working on to make travelling by TTC your best, most convenient and enjoyable option.

Let us know what you think of this edition of Access by emailing wtcs@ttc.ca. On behalf of the TTC, I’d like to wish all our customers happy holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.

New rise and tilt procedure to secure your power wheelchair

You may be wondering why our drivers are using an extra securement belt to safely secure your rise and tilt power wheelchair, and why it's necessary.

It's been noted that the four securement hooks installed by the manufacturers of this style of rise and tilt power wheelchair are too low to the ground. As a result, when our drivers attach the securement belts to these hooks alone, they can’t achieve the industry safety standard of a 45-60 degree angle. This means there’s a risk that the securement belts may not be able to properly hold the mobility device during a sudden stop. The simple solution recommended by the belt manufacturer is to add another belt on to the post beneath the seat using an O ring in addition to the manufacturer installed hooks. This now makes the securement safe and stable for our customers. This extra step has been reviewed and is supported by the manufacturer.

Easier access update

Thirty four subway stations are currently accessible, and the TTC is committed to improving access to the whole system for all our customers. We’re working with ACAT on effective design of elevators, sliding doors, accessible fare gates, ramps and other features that will make stations more accessible.

Currently, Ossington, St Clair West, Woodbine and Coxwell stations are all well into construction that will make accessing them easier for customers.

Easier access construction will begin at Dupont and St Patrick stations in 2016 and are scheduled to be completed in 2018. Royal York Station easier access construction will also begin in 2016 and is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

A message from ACAT

Hello to all,

Despite the challenges that ACAT faced in 2015, when our former leader and ACAT Chair, Susan Davidson, suddenly passed away on February 12th, ACAT has pushed forward on all cylinders to implement many steps with the ongoing focus of achieving a fully accessible transit system in Toronto.

I am proud to see ACAT members represented on a number of other transit agency committees, including the City of Toronto Transit Fare Equity Advisory Committee (TFE) and Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee (to advise on the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT). In addition, ACAT has representation on the Relief Line Stakeholder Advisory Panel, and on the TTC Customer Liaison Panel.

We continue to work hard with the TTC to meet multiple objectives. These objectives include integrating accessibility components into TTC policies and procedures, and giving advice on the Wheel-Trans Program Review. Committee members continue to champion the conventional TTC system by being advocates in the community. We’ve also recently completed a customer safety campaign with the support from our partners at the TTC, which you can expect to see in the system beginning next month. This edition gives you a preview of the campaign which was shot in the fall.

Feel free to reach out to ACAT to share your experiences and to learn more about what we do by emailing ACAT@ttc.ca.

On behalf of ACAT members I wish all Wheel-Trans riders a very safe holiday season.

Respectfully,

Mazin Aribi (ACAT Chair)
Angela Rebeiro and Tim Rose
(Vice Chairs)

Holiday service: Important changes to your regular service

Regularly scheduled trips

Many facilities and programs close over the holiday season, so we will be cancelling all regularly scheduled trips (trips that automatically reoccur every week) for the period of December 20,
2015 – January 2, 2016 on your behalf. Regular trips for dialysis won’t be cancelled.
 
You can still make travel arrangements during this period, but you’ll need to book all the trips you require. If you know in advance that you’ll need your regularly scheduled trips during the above mentioned period, please let us know beginning December 13 by visiting mywheel-trans.ttc.ca This is an external site and will open in a new window. or by calling the Reservation Office at 416-393-4222.

Service to transfer points

Some transfer points will have service changes over the holiday period, as the local business hours change. For your safety, our service to these three transfer points will reflect the local business hours, as listed below:

East

Midland and Steeles Tim Hortons
4228 Midland Avenue:

  • December 24: Tim Hortons closes at 3 p.m. Last pick-up and drop-off at 2 p.m.
  • December 25: Tim Hortons is closed.
  • December 26: Tim Hortons opens at 6 a.m.
  • December 31: Tim Hortons closes at 6 p.m. Last pick-up and drop-off at 4 p.m.
  • January 1: Tim Hortons opens at 8 a.m.

Central

Shops on Steeles and the Tim Hortons on Don Mills and Steeles
2890 and 2900 Steeles Avenue East

  • December 24: Last pick-up and drop-off at 6 p.m.
  • December 25: Tim Hortons is closed.
  • December 26: Tim Hortons opens at 6 a.m.
  • December 31: Last pick-up and drop-off at 3 p.m.
  • January 1: Tim Hortons opens at 8 a.m. (the mall is closed).

Centre Point Mall
6464 Yonge Street

  • December 24: Last pick-up and drop-off at 5 p.m.
  • December 25: Centre Point Mall is closed.
  • December 26: Centre Point Mall opens at 9:30 a.m.
  • December 31: Last pick-up and drop-off at 5 p.m.
  • January 1: Centre Point Mall will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Service to major malls

In order to deal with congested parking lots at shopping malls, beginning Sunday December 13, we’ll provide service to the following malls only to the entrances listed below:

Yorkdale Shopping Centre: Service via the Shoppers Drug Mart entrance
Scarborough Town Centre: Service via the TD Bank entrance
Fairview Mall: Service via Shoppers Drug Mart entrance
Cloverdale Mall: Service via Dollarama entrance
Sherway Gardens: Service via Shoppers Drug Mart entrance

Service to all other malls will remain unchanged. Please remember you're responsible for carrying your parcels, bags and boxes. Be safe, and have a happy holiday season!

Book Your Wheel-Trans Trips Online @  Wheel-Trans Online Trip Booking This is an external site and will open in a new window.

We’ve been listening to your comments and we’ve improved our online booking website substantially by eliminating the need for you to have to call in to add or remove addresses on your registered list. You can now do this on your own and manage your own registered addresses online.

As well, you can now input any address in Toronto and schedule your ride without having to choose from a registered address, recent address or landmark.

The address search criteria allows you to enter a ‘street number’ and ‘street name' and then select from all of the search results.

Let us know what you think. Send your feedback to wtcs@ttc.ca.

Winter Safety Tips: Clear your ice and snow

For your safety and the safety of our drivers, please make sure all ramps, driveways, and sidewalks are clear of ice and snow. If you require assistance with snow removal from your private property, phone 311 and the City will direct you to a local agency that may provide this service.

Here are some great tips to help keep you safe this winter:

  • Ice grippers for extra traction on slippery surfaces can be added to the rubber tips on the end of canes. Shoes and boots with deep treads will help provide extra traction.
  • Service will likely be delayed when it snows or is unusually cold, so be sure to dress accordingly.
  • Make sure that your mobility device is in good repair and wheels are properly inflated with lots of tread.

If by 3 p.m. the day before you are booked for Wheel-Trans service, the weather forecast calls for a snowfall of eight cm or more, we encourage customers to cancel non-essential rides. If it snows on the day of service, go to mywheel-trans.ttc.ca This is an external site and will open in a new window. or call the RideLine at 416-397-8000 for further updates and instruction.  Rides cancelled during a snow advisory won't be included in the Late Cancellation/No-Show Policy.

Due to the possibility of busy roads and inclement weather, please allow an additional 30 minutes travel time when booking your rides.

Stay Focused. Stay Safe.

A new advertising campaign aimed at changing customer behaviour

By: Jaspreet Dhaliwal

people gather by a bus for a photo shootI’m a member of the TTC’s Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT). ACAT is comprised of a group of volunteers that represent seniors and persons with disabilities living in Toronto and using the TTC. ACAT members sit on a few subcommittees: Design Review, Service Planning, Communications, and Wheel-Trans. It’s a great way to share ideas and experiences, and contribute to making a difference.

I recently had the privilege of taking part in a photo shoot on Friday, September 25 at the Queensway Bus Garage. The photo shoot was for TTC and the City of Toronto's safety campaign, “Stay Focused. Stay Safe.” The campaign aims to provide helpful tips to transit users to ensure everyone is safe while using the TTC. This campaign will also include two advertisements focusing on persons using mobility devices. The first one is about a person using a mobility device boarding the bus first and de-boarding the bus last (first on, last off). Boarding and de-boarding like this allows for the person using the mobility device to get on and off safely and with enough room to maneuver their device. The second advertisement is aimed at ensuring transit users are aware of ramp deployment.

It was quite an interesting experience. I didn’t realize there would be so many different lights used, the number of people it takes, or even the amount of clicks before the photographer captures that one perfect shot. All for a really important reason – don’t rush the buses, be aware the ramp might be deploying, as it ensures all customers’ safety.

I want to thank everyone that took part in allowing this to happen – TTC, ACAT, and of course, the team behind the photo shoot. It’s something I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to see the campaign when it gets launched in January, and I’m definitely grabbing a mini poster for myself because you know, I’m a model now!

two examples of the poster art used for this campaign

 

TTC customer satisfaction hits record high

an employee helps a customer up a ramp into a vehicleThe TTC’s third quarter customer satisfaction survey this year shows the highest-ever levels of customer satisfaction at 81 per cent. Customer pride is up to 75 per cent from 69 per cent from the previous survey and customers also report better value for money, up significantly to 95 per cent for daily TTC riders.

We are currently analyzing Wheel-Trans customer survey data and results will be available in the new year. We’re optimistic that they will be in line with the increased satisfaction levels of the fixed-route system and that they will tell us about the improvements you'd like to see.

Call-out reminders: No shows and late cancellations

Starting next month, Wheel-Trans will be calling customers with an automated message to alert them when they receive a no-show or have a late cancellation. The goal is to remind our customers so that we can reduce these occurrences.

Customer no-shows and late cancellations impact our ability to provide customers with trips, and represent a considerable cost to the TTC. A no-show occurs when our driver arrives at the scheduled arrival time, waits an additional five minutes, and is unable to locate you. A late cancellation is any trip that is cancelled on the actual day of service instead of the day before. The current policy allows up to a maximum of four late cancellations and/or no-shows each month. The automated call-out will alert customers when they receive their first (1st) and when they receive their fourth (4th) no-show or late cancellation.