ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, June 27, 2013
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:266
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.

Present

  • Howard Wax, Vice-Chair
  • Valdo Tammark
  • Bill Castor
  • Lori March
  • Fay Fuerst
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Craig Nicol
  • Tim Rose
  • Sam Savona
  • Sarah Adams
  • Adam Cohoon

Pool Members

  • Robert Muzzy
  • Judy Berger

Regrets

  • Susan Davidson, Vice-Chair
  • Brayan Bratanov
  • Debbie Gillespie

TTC Representatives

  • Andy Byford
  • Ross Visconti 
  • Bill Dawson
  • Matt Hagg
  • Orest Kobylansky
  • Stephen Lam
  • Jacqueline Darwood
  • Dave Dixon

Copies

  • Andy Byford
  • Chris Upfold
  • Orest Kobylansky
  • Sameh Ghaly
  • Vince Rodo
  • Mitch Stambler
  • Jim Teeple
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Angela Marley, Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. Attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

On motion by Sam Savona and seconded by Howard Wax, ACAT reviewed and approved the agenda with the following changes to the order of items: movement of Approval of Agenda to Item 3, followed by the TTC Five-Year Corporate Plan, then Deputations regarding the subway platform gap, followed by the Gap Between Subway Trains and Platforms presentation, followed by the remainder of the agenda items from Review and Approval of May 30, 2013 Minutes.

4. TTC Five-Year Corporate Plan

Presented by Andy Byford. The electronic copy of the Corporate Plan is available on the TTC website, Corporate Plan sets 5-year path to transform the TTC, This is the first five-year plan for the TTC. The plan will be updated and issued every year. Next year, other stakeholders such as ACAT will be more involved in the plan. The purpose of the plan is to provide a vision, direction, and performance framework for TTC leaders and employees.

The short video containing an overview of TTC was shown.

The TTC organization changes were explained. The customer is the centre focus and there are five groups:

  • Strategy and Customer Experience,  responsible for identifying what customers want,
  • Corporate Service, including Finance, Legal, Human Resources, Training, etc.,
  • Engineering, Construction, and Expansion, responsible for the expansion of the system,
  • Operations, responsible for managing the back of house infrastructure and vehicle maintenance,
  • Service Delivery, responsible for managing the front of house Operators, Subway Station staff, Transit Enforcement, Operators, etc.

The five-year plan for improvement lays the foundations for change in the first year, builds assets between the first and third year, and transforms the TTC culture between the first and fifth year.

The five-year plan lists seven objectives for TTC Executives and staff:

  • Safety—managing risks for customers, staff, and contractors and minimizing impact on the environment,
  • Customer—meeting or exceeding customer expectations,
  • People—fostering an empowered, customer-focused workforce, pushing accountability to lower levels, actively develop employees,
  • Assets—effective, efficient management of assets,
  • Growth—affordable expansion that matches capacity to demand,
  • Financial sustainability—a well-run, transparent business that delivers value for money in a financially viable way,
  • Reputation—transparency and accountability, well-regarded by stake holders and peers, proud employees.
     

ACAT members had the following questions and comments:

ACAT was not mentioned within the Corporate Plan, although the Customer Liaison Panel was. Although accessibility is mentioned, how high of a priority is it? Andy Byford explained that this omission was not intentional and accessibility is part of the plan, as customers are customers, whether they have a disability or not. For next year's iteration, ACAT will be brought in as a stakeholder to highlight accessibility.

Within the plan, Wheel-Trans was addressed as accessible transit. However, Wheel-Trans is only a part of the accessible network. It is ACAT's responsibility to ensure that customers and staff are aware of the extent of the accessible network on the TTC, especially as demand on Wheel-Trans increases. ACAT and the TTC must provide integrated information and education, for staff as well as customers. Andy Byford explained that this will be made very clear in training.

Regarding improvements to the fleet and facilities, there are issues that ACAT has raised that have not been responded to by certain groups within the TTC. Members feel that these groups are more interested in getting the trains running rather than addressing accessibility. Andy Byford explained that the Corporate Plan will push for a balanced scorecard, holistic thinking, and a customer point of view.

ACAT members introduced themselves to Andy Byford and thanked him for the presentation.

5. Deputations: Christine Rowntree, Bobbi Moore, Nancy Barry

Nancy Barry was unable to attend and will speak at the next ACAT meeting.

Bobbi Moore raised some safety concerns in using the subway system, specifically the gap being too large between the train and the platform or the fact that the train is higher than the platform. She had particularly mentioned St. Clair Station where she was unable to enter the new subway trains. She is asking to work together towards a solution that is safer for everyone entering the new subway trains.
 
Christine Rowntree also raised the issue about the gap between the platform and the train. She mentioned that, when she was in Las Vegas, a piece of rubber would flip out for her to enter and go over safely; when the door was ready to close, the flap of rubber would go back in place till the next stop. She commented that if this is done with the accessible doors, it would at least be a start.

Andy Byford responded with a commitment to fix the gap issue.

6. Gap between Subway Trains and Platforms

Presented by Bill Dawson.

ACAT had asked Staff to provide an update and history of this issue. This issue has been around for many years and is technically complex. The presentation touched on technical points only briefly, but more information can be provided at the Subcommittee level. The presentation will be distributed to the Committee members.

There are two elements to the gap: horizontal and vertical. The concern is that, in combination, the resulting gap may be large enough that a person may slip into it, or passengers using mobility devices, canes, or strollers may get stuck, or may be unable to board altogether.
ACAT has been involved in the gap issue since 2006 and the review of the Rocket Train concept. There was a laser survey of platform clearance in 2007, a platform gap filler trial in 2009, ACAT reported on station platform gaps in 2010, the travel training program was developed in 2011, and the Rocket Trains entered service in 2012.

The horizontal gap is to the TTC design standard of a 70 mm clearance between train and platform. This is to allow for side-to-side movement. This gap is industry-leading, as in Europe the standard is 100 mm. The horizontal gap will vary wherever the tracks curve, as the straight edge of the train will cut off the inside of the curve. Most current stations and all future stations will be straight track, but when the original subway line was built, four stations were built with a curve. Union Station at both ends, St. Clair at the south end, Eglinton at the south end, and Dundas at the south end.

A comprehensive survey was performed by ACAT in 2012. 97% of measurements showed a horizontal gap of between 70 and 100 mm. Only 17 measurements were greater than 100 mm, and these were always at the ends of platforms. Before the Rocket Trains were put in service, only one station had a vertical gap of over 20 mm, showing that problems exist, but they are not widespread.

For the Rocket Train, in 2006, ACAT suggested the use of bridge plates. These were assessed by Staff and were not recommended for the following reasons:

  • The floor of the train would need to be higher to allow for deployment and this would create a small step when the plate is not deployed,
  • Speed and reliability of the device were not guaranteed,
  • Safe deployment in a crowded situation was in question, and
  • The bridge plates are neither typical nor appropriate for high-capacity subway operations.

In 2009, ACAT and the TTC assessed a gap filler at Davisville Station. The conclusion of the assessment was that this was not a feasible solution. There was limited utility, significant cost, it was not practical along the full length, and they were a hazard for people using canes and walkers.

The Rocket Train was designed and manufactured to TTC specifications, with the objective to exactly match the platform height. Normal track and wheel wear affects the height by up to 20 mm. This height can be adjusted up, as necessary, by the insertion of shims.  Although it may be possible to adjust the air suspension to reduce the floor level, staff do not support this approach until further investigation is done on the potential consequences of this unconventional approach.
Currently, long-term solutions would require station renovations. Options for the Rocket Train floor heights are under review. The short-term solution is to provide customer education on the best locations to board and where to avoid. This entails public education, which can be included in travel training material and in signage at the problem stations. The Design Review Subcommittee suggested a customer education initiative as the best option to mitigate the gap issue.

ACAT members had the following questions and comments:

Are there any programs or projects in place to fix the vertical variation of platform heights? Because this would entail resurfacing the platforms, there is no program in place at this time.

GO Transit has raised their platform height at accessible entrances and marked with signage. Could this be done on problem platforms? This is a possibility, but the TTC would prefer to have every entrance accessible. With only one accessible entrance, it would be more difficult for multiple mobility devices to enter and exit in time.

A member stated that TTC staff must be made aware of the size and critical nature of this issue and how to be responsive to customers. This will be a part of training for Station Managers and communication with Collectors and Operators.

Regarding the refurbishment of Union Station's existing platform, is there a plan for surface or edge refurbishment? Staff will ask and report to the Design Review Subcommittee.

Regarding Eglinton platform, is there a possibility of lowering the rails? Staff will ask and report back.

Would it be possible to hire station staff for the problem platforms to direct customers where to board? This will go into discussion about Station Managers. Staff will look into this possibility.

Has the TTC looked at this issue in other transit systems throughout the world? Both the bridge plate and gap filler were found in a survey of other operators, properties, and suppliers. The TTC is bench-marking itself to ensure that it is doing the best it possibly can.

Is it possible for the train to avoid stopping at the end of the platform? Staff will look into this possibility for the problem stations.

Is it possible to have signage indicating the distance of the gap and to be cautious? Dave Dixon, Chief Operating Officer, stated that the plan is to have signage tiled into the floor, bringing attention to areas with excessive gap. There are no details yet, but this item is on the agenda for the Design Review Subcommittee.

Regarding the levelling issue, this is something that the TTC and Bombardier have been working on for a long time. What assurance is there that there will be a solution? Stephen Lam, TTC Vehicle Engineering, explained that they are looking at the levelling across the system, not just in the individual trains.

Conclusion:

This item was referred to the Design Review Subcommittee and will be placed on the ACAT Outstanding Item List. The Design Review Subcommittee will report back to ACAT by December 2013. TTC Service Planning Staff are the main contacts for this issue.

In concluding the discussion of the gap issue, the ACAT Chair thanked the deputants and Bill Dawson for their presentations.

7. Review and Approval of May 30, 2013 Minutes

On motion by Howard Wax and seconded by Sam Savona, ACAT reviewed and approved the Minutes with the following amendments:

  • Page 6, pp 2: insert "Communications" before "Subcommittee"
  • Page 10, pp 12: insert "Subcommittee" before "minutes"

8. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items

Angela Marley, Chair, mentioned the circulation of electronic copies of Subcommittee Minutes. This matter will be placed on next month's ACAT General Meeting agenda.

Bill Castor requested more comments from ACAT members about the Public Forum, specifically comments about ACAT's participation and involvement with the event. These comments will be compiled.

Angela Marley, Chair, read through updates of the Outstanding Items List:

  • Modification of TTC Signage Outside Subway Station Item, action revised with addition of "DRS received report from Harrison. New signage is being developed, but will only be implemented with other station construction projects."
  • Addition of item: Noise at Subway Platforms.

9. Deputation: Michael Dzura

Michael Dzura explained that he cannot use conventional service because he cannot physically press buttons or pay a fare, and that subway stations are a safety concern. Wheel-Trans is his only method of getting to and from his classes.

Mr. Dzura was notified of a suspension of service on June 17, 2013 due to late cancellations and no-shows, and there was a list of suspensions of which Mr. Dzura was unaware, having not received notice. The suspension of service impacted Mr. Dzura's ability to attend classes and examinations.

Mr. Dzura related examples of how factors beyond his control, such as medical issues and attendant speed, impact his ability to take his ride or cancel with 24-hour’s notice. He also related incidents where Wheel-Trans operators were late for a pick-up or did not wait five minutes before posting a No Show notice, all without penalization.

Mr. Dzura proposed that special consideration be given to Wheel-Trans registrants who are working or going to school, as indicated with a student card or a letter, similar to the special consideration that dialysis patients are given. Another option would be to charge a fee for no shows or late cancellation, rather than suspension of service.

Mr. Dzura thanked ACAT for their attention.

ACAT members thanked Mr. Dzura for his deputation and offered a commitment to work with TTC Staff toward a solution for these issues.

Members commented that the fact that Mr. Dzura cannot use conventional service indicates that the TTC is still not completely accessible.

Members asked for clarification on Mr. Dzura's comment regarding dialysis. Mr. Dzura explained that Wheel-Trans has a policy in place that patients who require dialysis are always provided a ride.

Members confirmed that this is true for all medical appointments.

This item was referred to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee, and Staff followed up with Mr. Dzura following the General Meeting.

10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Bill Castor, Chair

A meeting was held on June 5, 2013. SPS had a brief discussion about the Public Forum. The Subcommittee is waiting for compilations of comments from cards and people who attended, for review and dissemination to the appropriate Subcommittees.

The Subcommittee was then asked to make recommendations for a free fare program for support persons to be implemented January 1, 2014. The Subcommittee felt that some definitions in the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation were not completely clear, specifically the term "goods and services," which is very broad, and requested clarification from the TTC Legal Department. When the Legal Department returns with a definition, the Subcommittee will provide recommendations on who needs a support person, when a support person should be accepted, defining eligibility, and how to identify these persons.

The Subcommittee was pleased to report that one of the three Bay Station escalators between the subway platform and concourse levels will switch to a down escalator.

The Subcommittee examined ways to integrate accessible and conventional service. They reviewed zone buses and WheelTrans2Subway service where buses pick up customers at either end of their trip going to/from the nearest accessible subway station. The Train the Trainer program will be looked at again with TTC Customer Communications.

The Subcommittee reviewed the Outstanding Items list. They will be looking at service disruptions, specifically how to notify customers and assure accessibility. They will be looking at ways to operate the new streetcars on the street, where customers need to be able to cross traffic to request the ramp be deployed and board.


Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

DRS held meetings on June 5, 19, 25, and 26.

June 5, 2013:

A presentation by Harrison on station entrance signage was made. The TTC is developing a new plan, which will be tested at Dufferin during the EA station upgrade. The Subcommittee was concerned that stations that are deficient in signage now will be left deficient until an installation program comes up. The Subcommittee will continue to work on this. They had comments about clarity, signage at the automatic entrance that could be confused with the International Symbol of Access, and the size of the Symbol of Access. These are still in development and the Subcommittee expects to see more in the future.

The Subcommittee reviewed the tactile wayfinding path planned for the extension of the Spadina Subway because the wayfinding tiles are not consistently located across current centre platform TTC stations. The Subcommittee agreed with the design of the wayfinding path, but requested a consultation with TTC Engineering staff about how the path connects to the elevator and will see more in July.

In response to an ACAT deputant, the Subcommittee received a report from TTC Occupational Health and Safety that decibel ratings at the platform level comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act for workers. The TTC is also pursuing noise reductions on an ongoing basis. The Subcommittee requested that Staff consult with the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS). CHS offered mitigation advice for customers with hearing aids. The Subcommittee will forward the report and advice from the Canadian Hearing Society to ACAT and requested that this be made a part of next month's package.

June 19, 2013:

The Subcommittee met with the PRESTO Farecard Project team and discussed the project schedule. The Subcommittee expressed concern about the tight timeline for machine development and had concerns that this will impact the accessibility of the finished products. In late June and July, the Subcommittee will have intensive meetings with the project team. They began with reviewing device placement in stations. For each station, the Subcommittee will review locations for add value machines, fare media vending machines, and turnstile readers.

The Subcommittee discussed the Roncesvalles streetcar platforms and passed the issue back to Angela Marley, ACAT Chair, to write a letter to the City.

June 25, 2013:

The Subcommittee reviewed the new streetcar at the TTC Hillcrest complex. A list of outstanding issues is being compiled. Subcommittee members are encouraged to submit any further comments. Responses from Staff are expected to begin within two weeks. The Subcommittee will continue to pursue deficient items. The Subcommittee proposed an additional visit to the streetcar at an on-street location to demonstrate boarding in a multitude of real situations and environments.

June 26, 2013:

The Subcommittee met with the PRESTO Farecard Project team to review station design placement and to look at the customer service agent terminal and how it impacts both customer and agent. The Subcommittee posed some questions and will receive the answers over the next month.

The Subcommittee had two informal discussions about streetcar issues and the gap.

The next DRS meeting will be held on July 3, 2013.

ACAT members requested the following clarifications:

Regarding Wheel-Trans buses and accessible taxis, the use of PRESTO devices has not been fully decided yet. However, it appears that Wheel-Trans vehicles will have something in place and is still to be discussed.

Regarding the tight timeframe, the Subcommittee will have a better idea of progress by the end of July.

 

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Debbie Gillespie, Chair

No meetings were held.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Lynn McCormick, Chair

No meetings were held. The next meeting will be held on July 11, 2013 at Commissioners Street location from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This will include a tour of the Wheel-Trans facility.

11. Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) Report – Tim Rose

The CLP meeting took place on Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in the TTC Boardroom and was chaired by Bob Hughes, Chief Customer Officer.

The majority of the meeting was used for a presentation and in-depth discussion with CEO Andy Byford on the TTC Corporate Plan. The discussion was very informative with a lot of questions from all members and Tim Rose would like to thank Mr. Byford for engaging the Panel in such a great discussion.

During this session, Tim Rose raised concerns over the lack of direct mention of accessibility in the plan, and Mr. Byford assured him that ACAT members will be involved in future stages of the plan.

The remaining few minutes of the meeting were spent in discussion over two video explainers put out by the TTC. The Panel watched the two short video clips—one more serious and the other a humourous April Fool's video—and provided feedback. Issues discussed included the clarity of the message, how the videos were distributed, and whether the humour was effective. All Panel members raised many interesting points. The discussion lasted right up until the end of the meeting.

The next CLP meeting will be held on July 10, 2013. ACAT members were requested to bring any issues/requests to Tim Rose.

12. Report on ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with CEO and Chair

Deferred.

13. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

Deferred.

14. Review of Correspondence

Nil.

15. Other / New Business

Nil.

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, July 25, 2013, in the 7th Floor Boardroom, 1900 Yonge Street.

17. Adjournment

On motion by Bill Castor and seconded by Howard Wax, the meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

Janet Wright
Recording Secretary
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