ACAT Meeting - October 25, 2012
Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.
- Valdo Tammark, Chair
- Scott McArthur, Co-Vice Chair
- Brayan Bratanov, Co-Vice Chair
- Mazin Aribi
- William Castor
- Debbie Gillespie
- Penny Lamy
- Angela Marley
- Lynn McCormick
- Carol Anne Monet
- Anna Noviss
- Angela Rebeiro
- Howard Wax
- Lori March
- Marian McDonell
- Bill Frost
- Thomas Hartley
- Tom McPherson
- Andy Byford
- Bill Dawson
- Division Managers from Bus Transportation
- Andy Byford
- David Dixon
- Bill Frost
- Sameh Ghaly
- Vince Rodo
- Mitch Stambler
- Jim Teeple
- Chris Upfold
- TTC Commissioners
1. Call to Order and Attendance
2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
3. Approval of Agenda
4. Review and Approval of September 26, 2012 Minutes
5. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items
Regarding the Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) Update on page 6 of the September 26, 2012 meeting minutes, Angela Rebeiro brought forward the following: In 2010, the Service Planning Subcommittee picked out recommendations for customer service. If Mr. Upfold is looking for agenda items, they may come out of this list. In addition to this, Ms. Rebeiro has requested a response or acknowledgement from customer service that they have received this list.
Action: Mazin Aribi will bring this list forward at the next CLP meeting.
William Castor drew the Committee's attention to the Design Review Subcommittee’s (DRS) report in Section 4 of the September 26, 2012 meeting minutes. DRS performed a review of the LRV mock-up in Halton Hills, raised certain questions about accessibility, and made some recommendations. ACAT members will receive by email a copy of these recommendations.
DRS formally requests that both ACAT and CEO Andy Byford send a formal letter to Metrolinx that includes these LRV mock-up comments and recommendations for accessibility to Metrolinx.
Ms. Bobbi Moore came forward with a deputation regarding the issue that the floors of some subway trains are higher than the platforms. Ms. Moore provided two incidences where she was unable to board at St. Clair Station and at Eglinton Station, and provided examples of other customers experiencing the same issue.
A secondary and related issue was the behaviour of the TTC staff who were present during these incidences, that they stood by and did not assist the struggling passengers. Ms. Moore requests that ACAT and the TTC look for a way to remedy this situation, which is a safety and convenience issue.
Andy Byford provided the following response, to address the two points that Ms. Moore raised:
Regarding the train levelling, the trains are designed to self-level to the platform. If this function is not working, Mr. Byford will speak with TTC Engineering and Bombardier to deal with this issue.
Regarding staff pro-activity or the lack thereof, Mr. Byford expressed his disappointment with staff conduct and assured Ms. Moore that the TTC is determined to work progressively with staff on customer service. One issue is staff discomfort and unfamiliarity with helping customers with disabilities; Mr. Byford commented that he may adopt Mr. Bill Frost's strategy of inviting ACAT representatives to speak with Train Operators and Station Staff to teach them what to do in these situations.
Penny Lamy reminded anyone who experiences poor customer service from staff that they should contact TTC Customer Service. She added that they do an excellent job of following up with staff and retraining. Also, when a TTC staff person performs exceptionally well, follow up on this as well; report this to TTC Customer Service to reinforce this behaviour.
Valdo Tammark added that ACAT members have gone around looking at the station platforms. They discovered that not every station has this issue and that, where there is a gap, the gap is widest at the first or last car so passengers should try to board at the middle cars. As well, especially at Eglinton Station, the platforms itself is not level. There may be places where the platform is higher, making it easier to board. At Eglinton Station, the north end of the southbound platform seems to be better.
Ms. Christene Rowntree came forward to perform a supporting deputation to Ms. Bobbi Moore, regarding the issues of the level of platforms and train floors, which cause safety and convenience problems, and TTC staff who do not know how to provide customer service when these issues arise with customers with disabilities. Ms. Rowntree added that the trains in Las Vegas have a rubber covering over the gap that flipped down when the train came to a stop. This could be a possible solution.
Mazin Aribi thanked Ms. Moore and Ms. Rowntree for bringing forward the issue with levelling and gap distance. This issue has been with ACAT for years and there had been many attempts to fix it, with not much progress.
Mr. Aribi provided the following two actions to address this issue:
A long-term, permanent solution - This may require major renovation and is up to upper management to decide. Temporarily, though, ACAT may arrive at some solutions; possibly a mechanism that can be installed.
Short-term operations solution - Identify the most problematic areas (location/station) and mark them to educate passengers with mobility devices to avoid these areas for the time being. Use all available channels to disseminate this information to passengers, possibly indicate the best pathways and locations for passengers with mobility devices, using blue lines or arrows. Any Subcommittee can come up with temporary solutions to avoid passengers getting hurt and being unable to use the system.
Andy Byford stated that he will look for temporary solutions from the Committee. He has seen extenders and gap fillers applied on trains to mitigate gaps.
William Castor added that they looked at gap fillers in DRS. However, they ran into problems at some stations where the fillers would not work sufficiently because it needed to be flexible enough not to damage the car but stiff enough to support a mobility device. There were no real solutions, though the idea of placing a rubber covering over the gap that flipped down may work.
Ms. Sharon Yetman came forward with a deputation regarding possible solutions to address the safety issues that occur at the station platform level. Ms. Yetman cited examples of a man in a mobility device and a visually impaired woman falling off of the platform and onto the tracks on two separate occasions. Ms. Yetman presented strategies of flow control that could be used in medium and high-traffic stations, using gates, barriers, automated doors, and relief lines. All strategies included a cost analysis. This flow control could be used to give passengers with disabilities an advantage in boarding trains quickly and safely. Ms. Yetman requested that ACAT make a recommendation to TTC Security to review these flow control strategies.
Penny Lamy requested a copy of Ms. Yetman's presentation.
Action: Ms. Yetman will send a copy of her presentation to ACAT.
Ms. Yetman then stated that she made a request on behalf of her father before 12:00 noon the day of the General Meeting so that Mr. Yetman can also make a deputation.
The Chair remarked that the rule she is referring to applies to Commission Meetings and that ACAT needs 2 weeks’ notice; but since the father was present, he could give his deputation.
Mr. Yetman came forward to present a deputation in support of Ms. Yetman’s flow strategies and praised his daughter’s hard work in this field.
7. Presentation: Roncesvalles Streetcar Platforms – Anna Noviss
Ms. Noviss presented three major concerns with the platforms:
Where will the ramp deploy from the 2nd car of the Legacy Streetcar? Will this location be marked on the platform? How wide will the platform be? Riders will need to go to the side, push the button, and require the full length of their mobility device plus the length of the ramp to board. Will there be enough room to do this safely and quickly?
Will the asphalt and pavers next to the sidewalk break down after prolonged use and create a hazard for ambulatory users? The truncated dome strips are too narrow. The brick strips between the waiting area and loading zone are undetectable.
The platforms are littered with obstacles, including planters (inconsistently placed), light standards, garbage receptacles, poles, hydrants, signs, benches, trees, sewer grates, hydro poles with wires, and flowers. At times, bicycles are attached to planters and garbage cans. In the winter, these obstacles will hinder snow removal. The grill work around trees provides an additional hazard for canes and wheels.
Is the half-shelter wide enough to keep mobility devices dry?
William Castor stated that when this presentation was brought to the Design Review Subcommittee, they noticed a dysfunction between City planning, City beautification, and the TTC, even for bus stops. There are hazards for anyone in a mobility device and anyone with a visual impairment, in particular the wires around the trees. They need to ensure that there is enough space for ramp deployment and boarding, which requires pushing a button, backing up, and then boarding. The bicycle path goes right through the loading area. Passengers will need to expect cyclists to be courteous, which does not always happen. There are too many obstacles. The planters were not supposed to extend into the loading area, but they do. This is anti-accessible. Someone needs to convince the City to stop allowing these obstacles to be placed in locations without practicality. The problem is communication between the TTC and the many departments in the City.
Bill Dawson spoke to this issue, stating that the DRS did deal with the issue, which mainly lies in the question of where does transit stop and urban pedestrian start. The 2nd car issue is being dealt with. The issue of street clutter is a continuous problem, which is true for bus stops and elsewhere in the system. Staff continuously get complaints and try to work with City staff. TTC staff has taken this information to contacts with the City, but there is no mechanism other than our staff to talk to City staff, who are dealing with pressure from other people using the space. There is a limit to what the TTC can do. Mr. Dawson recommended that ACAT suggest this issue go to the City's Accessibility Committee, and staff can add their own comments.
Mazin Aribi recalled that he, Craig Nicol, and Glenn Johnston met at the TTC Hillcrest Complex with City of Toronto staff ten years ago to lay out this problem and present an accessible bus stop design. In 2008, they again brought this issue to City staff. A year ago, the Service Planning Subcommittee submitted more documents to the City.
Mr. Aribi agrees that ACAT can submit again to the Accessibility Committee with a stronger recommendation or letter, possibly recommending to the City to come up with a by law or to notify City staff not to put anything at stops. There is a missing link from the City of Toronto to make the system accessible.
Penny Lamy suggested finding a politician to adopt this issue and push it through the Committee or through Council. Ms. Lamy volunteered to find who to approach for this review process.
Debbie Gillespie suggested that ACAT make a deputation to the City Accessibility Committee as this issue involves ACAT, the City, and the by-laws.
Valdo Tammark offered to bring this item up with the TTC Chair and CEO at the next Executive meeting and report back at the November ACAT meeting with their recommendations.
Angela Marley thanked Ms. Noviss for her work on this issue and pointed out that Mr. Adam Vaughan is the City Councillor involved with the Disability Issues Committee. Ms. Marley supported ACAT's pursuit of this issue, educating people that this needs to be addressed, taking it to the Quarterly meeting with the TTC Chair, and presenting a deputation to the Disability Issues Committee.
Bill Dawson recommended that this issue also be brought to the Seniors Forum.
Howard Wax informed the other members that ACAT met with Stakeholders in 2006 to develop street furniture and sent recommendations to the City with a request for a response and a report. Since then, there have been no results. Mr. Wax will forward the minutes from this 2006 meeting to the Committee members.
After discussion, ACAT decided on the following 4 Action Items:
ACAT will perform a deputation to the City Disability Issues Committee, including the recommendations made in 2006. Ms. Lamy volunteered to work on this presentation, reviewing materials from 2006.
Staff offered to provide assistance although ACAT will need to carry the actual presentation. Brayan Bratanov volunteered to carry it.
ACAT recommended that TTC Staff present the same issues at the Seniors Forum.
Valdo Tammark will bring these issues to the next Quarterly meeting with TTC Chair and CEO and present their recommendations at the November ACAT meeting.
Bring forward the issue of the new sewer grate by-law, which changes the directions of bars. For canes and walkers, this is a trap as they go parallel to the walkway.
8. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) - Anna Noviss, Chair
No meetings were held.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – William Castor, Chair
DRS held a meeting on October 3, 2012. The main thrust of this meeting was to look at accessibility at bus stops where there are enclosed or open bays where multiple buses come in, and to make these stops accessible for the visually impaired. DRS looked at Braille and tactile signage in order for an individual with a visual impairment to be able to find their bus.
DRS investigated a number of ideas with Mr. Harrison (TTC Wayfinding) as well as to look for a process. The Subcommittee came up with a pattern for basic stations, with the goal of devising a standard for TTC to follow in new stations and for retrofitting.
DRS also reviewed and consolidated the list of outstanding items.
DRS will meet on the same topic at the end of November. The next meetings are scheduled for November 7, 21, and 28, 2012.
After the DRS update, Mazin Aribi requested that the following items be added to the DRS discussion:
In bus bays, mark on the ground where a person with a disability should wait for the bus, possibly a blue box with a yellow border that will be easily visible. This will show the bus Operator where to park, show the customer where to wait, and inform the other passengers that priority will be given to the person with the mobility device, according to TTC procedures for accommodating passengers with mobility devices. He also recommended using a material that would not fade away.
Have signage in bus areas that inform the public of TTC procedures. Not many people know that people in mobility devices are to go on first and depart last. Mr. Aribi suggested posting this information on the wall where people line up. Communication to educate the public and make travel easier, safer, and faster.
Debbie Gillespie recommended that TTC Operators need to apply these procedures consistently as well.
Anna Noviss added that TTC Customer Service needs to be reminded to update the Lift Line at 7:00 a.m. on weekends as well as during the week.
Communications Subcommittee (CS) - Howard Wax, Chair
No meetings were held. The next scheduled meeting will be on Friday, November 2, 2012.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS)
No meetings were held. The Subcommittee will be meeting in the first 2 weeks of November, 2012.
9. Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) Update – Mazin Aribi
Mazin Aribi provided an update. On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, the 4th CLP meeting was held at the TTC Head Office from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Chris Upfold, TTC Chief Customer Officer, distributed the agenda ahead of time electronically to the CLP members.
The items discussed were as follows:
Term of appointment - Chris Upfold asked the current CLP members who wish not to continue for next year to submit their request to him.
Alternative meeting sites - It was left to the members should they wish to have alternative dates, times, and locations and submit their suggestions to Chris Upfold. Mazin expressed his wish to continue with the same time and location for accessibility and convenience reasons.
Credit and debit card update - Chris Upfold informed the members that finally the TTC will accept credit card and debit cards for purchasing a Metropass at 28 subway stations, of which 12 are accessible subway stations.
New bus and streetcar shelter maps - There were new bus and streetcar shelter maps mock-ups presented to the members to give some feedback. Although the new suggestions looked modern, it seemed a bit complicated at first look. Mazin suggested that this new design be presented to ACAT for a comprehensive feedback. Chris Upfold fully agreed and it is in the works.
New bus and streetcar stop poles - There were new bus and streetcar stop pole mock-ups presented to the members to give some feedback. Lengthy discussions ensued. At the end, like the previous item, Mazin suggested that this new design be presented to ACAT for a comprehensive feedback and Chris Upfold again agreed.
New TTC uniform - There were some discussions regarding this issue. The TTC will make the final decision on that in the future.
Mazin stated that it is his understanding that the elevator improvements initiatives will be discussed at the next CLP meeting. Chris Upfold had asked Mazin if the “Gap Issue” was raised and discussed at the ACAT meetings. Mazin informed him that this issue is serious and urgent for the TTC and ACAT to deal with.
Mazin forwarded a copy of the Customer “Rights and Responsibilities” document and its background to Chris Upfold for information sharing, as there was a suggestion from ACAT in the last meeting to do so.
The next CLP meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (this will be the last meeting for 2012).
Mazin also reminded the Committee that the next Town Hall meeting will be on Thursday, November 15, 2012, at City Hall Council Chambers, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
After the CLP update, William Castor suggested that DRS can look again at the accessibility symbols on the new stop pole design. Brayan Bratanov offered to find the DRS recommendations, supporting the international standards, and forward to Mazin Aribi.
Mazin Aribi also informed the Committee that there was a small, positive article in the Metro last Friday about making the TTC an easier way. This article can also be found on the website.
Angela Marley pointed out that the thin white lettering on red was difficult to read. Ms. Marley has requested feedback about this.
10. Report on Commission Meeting and Accessibility Matters - Presented by Valdo Tammark
The last 2 Commission Meetings dealt with fare increases. Penny Lamy and Sam Savona gave a deputation.
Penny Lamy also provided additional details about the Commission Meeting namely a number of items that came up at the end of the meeting. There were a number of deputations about the taxi contract. Another item that came up at the Commission Meeting, which Ms. Lamy requested an update from staff, was the Auditor's general report on Wheel-Trans.
Bill Frost interjected that this was a routine audit. The deadline is November and the audit will be received shortly.
Penny Lamy continued to explain that the Wheel-Trans Operating Budget for the next year was presented and was approved with no issues. Ms. Lamy requested that ACAT be given the opportunity to review the Wheel-Trans budget.
Bill Frost offered a comment regarding the Wheel-Trans Operating Budget that was presented at the Commission Meeting. What was approved was the budget in principle. The actual budget will be reviewed by ACAT.
Regarding the naming of new subway stations, politicians have made suggestions that were branding/marketing, especially at Jane and Finch, and at Sheppard. They want to name the Sheppard Station, “University Heights,” which might be better for moving away from “Finch West”, “University West”, etc.
Ms. Lamy was concerned about the naming of stations from an ACAT perspective. There was a major discussion about the naming of stations, how it could be confusing when a station name is not the actual location. Ms. Lamy was concerned that the Commission was naming stations based on what politicians wanted.
Valdo Tammark stated that, last year, Sam Savona made a deputation on this issue. The Commission decided to go with attraction names (ex. Black Creek Village). Mr. Tammark told the Chair that ACAT stands behind the decision to go with street names.
Lastly, Penny Lamy reported on her deputation on fair fares. She reasserted that this was something that should be presented, because accessibility is financial as well as physical. Sam Savona and Lynn McCormick both offered their help to put together a costing package.
Ms. Lamy intends to have this done for the November Commission Meeting. Ms. Lamy requested any feedback that might help to create a successful package. Despite limited funding, people at the Commission Meeting were fairly enthusiastic. Ms. Lamy will distribute the package to members a week before her deputation for comments.
Valdo Tammark presented on the most recent Commission Meeting, held on October 24, 2012. TTC Chair Karen Stintz asked Mr. Tammark to review a deputation requesting that Old Mill Subway Station be moved up in the ranks of accessibility priority.
Action: Mr. Tammark asked DRS to go back and review the numbers they came up with for the ranking, if anything has changed in the population, as well as the criteria and a bit of history to support the ranking.
11. Review of Correspondence: Response to Mr. Michael Miceli
The response to Mr. Michael Miceli was distributed to the Committee members. This was the reply to Mr. Miceli’s letter which was received by ACAT at the last meeting.
There were no comments from ACAT.
12. Other / New Business
13. Next Meeting
On motion by Brayan Bratanov and seconded by Howard Wax, the meeting was adjourned at 3:17 p.m.