ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, August 29, 2013
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:268
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

  • Angela Marley, Chair
  • Susan Davidson. Vice-Chair
  • Howard Wax, Vice-Chair
  • Sarah Adams
  • Brayan Bratanov
  • Bill Castor
  • Adam Cohoon
  • Fay Fuerst
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Lori March
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Craig Nicol
  • Tim Rose
  • Sam Savona
  • Valdo Tammark

Pool Members

  • Judy Berger
  • Robert Muzzy

TTC Representatives

  • irsten Watson
  • Ross Visconti
  • Bill Dawson
  • Matt Hagg
  • Jacqueline Darwood
  • Orest Kobylansky
  • Wayne Reynolds

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 1:05 p.m. Attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil

3. Approval of Agenda

On motion by Bill Castor and seconded by Susan Davidson, ACAT reviewed and approved the Agenda.

4. Introduction / Update - 2015 Pan Am / Parpan Am Games

Angela Marley, Chair, welcomed the presenters. 
Bill Dawson, TTC Strategy and Service Planning, provided an introduction. TTC Staff have been involved for a year in organizing the transportation aspects of the Games. TTC responsibility is in transportation of spectators only, whereas the Ministry of Transportation is responsible for non-transit transportation, and other groups are responsible for athletes.

The committees are currently starting to plan the delivery of services. Staff are organized from Wheel-Trans, Special Events, and Security. As an organization, the TTC is supporting the planning and ACAT will be involved step-by-step.

Kristina Molloy, Director, Parapan Planning and Integration, introduced herself and the other presenters. Her role was to speak on the accessibility components of the Games.

In addition to the information provided in the "Accessibility at TO2015" presentation, the following comments were added:

Slide 3: 28 to 30 countries will be participating in the Parapan Am Games and 15 municipalities around Toronto will be hosting the venues.

Slide 4: The commitment is that all people, regardless of abilities, will receive the same service and experience at the Games.

Slide 5: There are several advisory councils wherein there are people with disabilities represented (including athletes, volunteers, employees), and an accessibility council. 

They will focus on procurement processes and outreach. Four percent of staff self-identify as having a disability. There are currently 200 staff and there will be 400 by game time. Regarding the Accessibility Resource Guide, this is provided for staff. Regarding the training, they will be redoing the training and making it specific to the Games. A note on the venues: they will always apply the most stringent standards. A note on the website: it will be relaunched in November according to WCAG 2.0 standards. As many elements as possible will be triple A compliant. 

Slide 6: Note on the venues: this information includes all builds and temporary structures. All customers will be briefed on accessibility as well as staff. Accessibility challenges will be communicated to spectators so they know exactly what to expect.

A note on seating: more accessible seating will be provided based on anticipated customer need. A note on ceremonies: performers with disabilities will be involved in both. A note on services: the ticketing system will have the ability to place spectators with invisible disabilities as per special ticket requests.

Slide 7: Part of the legacy is to provide tools and services to other organizations as well.

J'anna Atchison, Senior Manager, Venue Transportation, then spoke about transportation and accessible transportation. 

Slide 9: TO2015 Transportation focuses on Games Family clients (athletes, media, officiators, etc.). They wanted to highlight that there will be no detriment to existing services.

Wanjiru Bila, Ontario Ministry of Transportation then spoke about the accessible transportation of spectators.

Slide 1: The highest level of government takes on an overseeing role. The Ministry works with the Games team as well as roads.

Slide 3: The focus is on transit and educating spectators to use transit. Part of the legacy is to get people off the road and using sustainable travel choices. 

Slide 4: The Steering Committee includes senior management across major organizations, such as GO, TTC, Metrolinx, Security Unions, and the transit properties in venue municipalities.

Slide 5: They anticipate one point four million ticketed spectators. The Trip Planner will be linked to the Games website, offering a high level of communication of travel options.

Slide 6: Seating assumptions lead to assumptions about the number of people on transit. Venue-level information will be provided online, with signage and volunteers directing spectators where to go.

Slide 8: Operations planning is coming up, with specifics of timing, hours, etc.

The Committee had the following questions:

Where will the additional accessible vehicles come from? 

The TO2015 team explained that they cannot answer this question currently, but a bus team will be focused on this issue for the next six to eight months. Several options are available: Buses retrofitted for the Games family, deferment of retired vehicles, school buses, sourcing vehicles from partners, procurement from other municipalities or provinces.

Regarding recruitment of volunteers, are there strategies in place for targeting areas where there are people with disabilities who will know best about getting around using transit?

The team explained that one of their objectives is to ensure that they are encouraging people with disabilities to apply and be a part of the Games. They have reached out to employment groups that target people with disabilities. Part of the process is getting information out that they want to incorporate people and about the roles that might be a good fit for people with certain disabilities.

The Committee recommended also reaching out to groups that provide orientation of mobility instruction.

The Committee recommended that they always provide up to date information and to have at least WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance on the website, not Level A, which is not usable by people with low vision. This is particularly important for ticket purchases and the Committee encouraged the team to bring this back.

With the nature of transportation in Toronto now, with gridlock, delays, and construction, how will people get to venues on time?

The team is working with the Ministry and the Games route network and working on measures that had success in London and Vancouver for rerouting journeys. They will communicate to people what to avoid and when. Travel time is not as important as reliability, efficiency, and safety. 

What will be done about the fact that paratransit services do not cross municipal boundaries?

There is a cross-boundary committee. This will be part of the legacy, an opportunity to push for people to begin being able to cross boundaries.
How will elevator service be maintained during the high service requirements during the Games? Will devoted maintenance staff be hired?

Bill Dawson explained that nothing has been done so far, but the TTC CEO feels very strongly about showcasing the TTC. Elevators are at the top of the list as part of the commitment for service delivery. 

Videos are captioned now, but what will be provided to aid a person with a visual impairment?

The team will be looking into narratives for the videos and possibly a live audio description for the ceremonies.

Regarding the built environments of venues, there are no built environment standards in the AODA, so this should not be cited as the guidelines that they follow.

The team explained that Infrastructure Ontario is working on this. They will forward the guidelines that Infrastructure Ontario is following to Staff for ACAT review.

Spectator transportation in the public transit mode is shared across transit providers, so that has to be a big focus when venues are on different sides of a boundary. This may be an issue of fares as well.

The team explained that all transit providers are sitting together at one table. Operational aspects to work through in getting spectators from hubs to venues, ensuring that trip planners are reliable.

The Committee thanked the TO2015 team and looks forward to the ongoing exchange of information.

5. Review and Approval of December 21, 2017 Minutes

On motion by Brayan Bratanov and seconded by Howard Wax, ACAT reviewed and approved the Minutes with no amendments.

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

Item "Station Pages": Launching date in September.

Item "Roncesvalles Streetcar Platforms": The letter is ready to go to the City Disability Issues Committee and will be forwarded in the next week.

Item "Clarification Between Priority Seating and Courtesy Seating" is completed and will be removed.

Item "TTC Signage Outside Subway Stations": The Committee discussed this issue at length. Suggestions included forwarding the issue to the Board via a letter, creating a list of items to move forward into the next year for discussion, waiting until Harrison has returned with the finalized signs before going out and reviewing the stations to determine where signage is deficient, copying the Group Station Managers on correspondence to make them aware of deficient signage at their stations, and bringing the issue to the Customer Liaison Panel. The Committee decided that Tim Rose will bring this item to the Customer Liaison Panel before the Committee does anything else, to report back at the September meeting. The Completion Date was revised to September.

Item "Deputation from Alan Yule re: Installation of LED lights and Change to the Warning Sign on the Streetcar": The Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) is awaiting Staff responses to their comments on the new streetcar. They hope to receive the responses by September, but there is no timeline. This item will be packaged with other comments from the review of the new streetcar. Bill Dawson explained that they would have responses back to DRS by late September. Craig Nicol, DRS Chair, expressed the concern that the longer it takes to discuss vehicle issues, the more likely it will be that the final design will be unsatisfactory. The Committee discussed a specific item of concern, that the step from the streetcar to the street, at 310 mm, is too great. The completion date for this item was revised to October.

Item "Noise at Subway Platforms": The ACAT letter to Carole Nash responding to her deputation will be sent out next week.

The ramp deployment issue in the Design Review Subcommittee Outstanding Items List was intended for ACAT. Orest Kobylansky, TTC Bus Transportation, reported on this item. The first initiative to improve ramps is that bus operators are now required to perform a check of seventeen critical items before leaving the garage in the morning, and one of those checks is to deploy the ramp. One of the reasons that the ramps were not serviceable was due to prolonged periods without use, in which time debris would collect in the mechanism. If there is an issue with the ramp, it will be fixed before the bus goes out. Operators who do not perform the checks will be spoken to. The second initiative is the development and issuing of a hook tool to help operators manually lift the ramp and to prevent injury. The safety committees have approved the tool, the Request for Proposal was sent out, and a manufacturer was chosen. Once a storage location has been identified in the operator compartment on the bus, somewhere both safe and accessible, then the order will go out.

The Committee recommended that Operators reporting later in the day to take over buses for the next shift also check the ramp deployment.

Orest Kobylansky reported on changes to the Express Bus announcements of stops, tested out on the 95 York Mills Express Bus route. Debbie Gillespie, who uses this route, reported her experiences with the new announcements. On leaving the station/stop, the message informs passengers that this is an Express Bus and the name of the next stop. When the bus is approaching the next stop, the announcement is made "arriving at ...". This pattern continues until the bus resumes servicing at all stops and the announcements revert to reporting all stops. Debbie commended staff on this change, stating these announcements are a great improvement.   
 
Orest stated Bus Transportation will ask Strategy and Service Planning to review the other express routes with input from ACAT to prioritize the list routes where these announcements are to be implemented.

7. Deputation

Nil

8. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Bill Castor, Chair

The Subcommittee did not meet in August.  As follow up from the Quarterly meeting, the SPS Chair Bill Castor and the ACAT Chair Angela Marley met with the TTC Chair Karen Stintz and TTC staff to discuss Chair Stintz's feedback to ACAT regarding the Public Forum and concerns about the Forum becoming too repetitive and difficult to operate. The ACAT representatives made some suggestions to the TTC Chair, which will be investigated by Staff and brought back to the Subcommittee. These will be reported on at the September ACAT meeting.

Some of the items discussed were:

• Not enough Councillors and Board members are attending. The TTC Chair will investigate making it mandatory to attend at least one out of the two proposed Forums.
• How to turn the Forum into an educational session instead of an information session.
• How to make it open to seniors. The possibility of changing the venues. Issues with Wheel-Trans and accessibility. The current Public Forum is a social event, but more people may attend if they are held on afternoons when attendants can come.

The meeting was very informative and TTC representatives were receptive to ideas. Logistics will be worked out by TTC Staff and brought to SPS.

Next meeting: Wednesday, September 4, 2013.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

The Subcommittee met on July 31, August 14, and August 21, 2013.

July 31, 2013:

This meeting was exclusively for PRESTO device feedback. The Subcommittee provided a list of comments for the turnstile reader assembly, the streetcar reader assembly, the streetcar Single Ride Vending Machine (SRVM), and the Add Value Machine (AVM). The PRESTO team took comments away to come back at the next meeting.

August 14, 2013:

The meeting began with work on the platform gap issue with Stephen Lam, TTC Rail Vehicle Engineering, who presented the efforts that they are making to correct the issue. The horizontal gap is specific to certain stations. Part of the solution will be customer education and signage where the gap is in excess of the TTC standard; this includes the presentation of a decal to be applied temporarily to the floor. The Subcommittee suggested a modification to the decal, inserting a mobility device into the graphic.

To address the vertical gap, they are testing seven train sets that have been lowered by half an inch to see how it works in relation to trackside equipment. Pending results, this may be a partial solution to issue. Wear issue occurs constantly and they have a strategy for accommodating that over time. They are also collecting data where there are platform height issues.

The Subcommittee will check accessible stations and advised collecting data at stations that are about to become accessible. They will look at strategies to adjust track height or floor height. Some stations are high, some are low, and they need to get to a common level. The Subcommittee expects in the next month to see platform heights for some stations and look at strategies to correct these problems. This may involve capital projects. Train sets from Bombardier are meeting specifications and falling within the specified ranges. Subcommittee recommendations included signage and education, and consideration of a strategy of raising or lowering platform heights. They also stressed the importance of sticking close to tolerances in new stations, such as the Vaughan subway extensions. So far, newer stations are much more reliable for platform height and clearances.

Other TR train issues discussed include door chimes (adding to 2014 capital budget), exit side announcements, and the inter-car barrier.

The next item at the meeting was the discussion with PRESTO to deal with responses to the comments at the previous meeting. The Subcommittee rejected the proposal to use Braille as part of the interface on machines noting that failure to meet the TTC business requirement of compliance with CSA B651.2 Accessible Design for Self Service Interactive Devices for data input devices is unacceptable. The project team stated that the machine design would be late should they incorporate a keypad and that they want to install the device they have and retrofit later. The Subcommittee rejected that approach and requested the availability date for an accessible device. The targeted date is to coincide with the roll out of the new streetcar. The Subcommittee recommended that they explore interim measures for fare collection on the new streetcars, to ensure that inaccessible devices are not installed.

The question was also raised about how Staff will respond to the "Push to Talk" button after PRESTO full roll out when the collector is no longer in the booth. They then continued to discuss device placement in stations. The list is in the DRS Minutes.

There was then a meeting in the afternoon to look at the new articulated bus. The issues have been recorded in a comment list, including the horizontal hand grip, the latch on the seats, the size of the mobility device spots, and the stop request buttons. There were improvements over the 40-foot bus with better access at the front for turning, and the stop request buttons at the mobility device spaces are larger and more accessible. They have a list of comments awaiting responses, but there is no timeline.

August 21, 2013:

The PRESTO project team presented the last device placements in stations, with the list in the DRS Minutes. The Subcommittee then discussed comments from the Public Forum, received Staff responses for general items, and will review between meetings comparing the general items and the listing, to suggest improvements.

The next meeting will be September 4, 2013.

Matt Hagg, TTC Strategy and Service Planning, provided a brief explanation on the decals that have been installed at St. Clair, Eglinton, Sheppard, and Dundas Stations. They were installed at the south ends of the platforms. They wanted to install them at Union Station, but the floors were too uneven to safely place them. They will work with TTC Wayfinding and Signage to develop a final decal, in late September or early October. There has been no feedback yet from the Group Station Managers or customers.

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

The Subcommittee met on August 8 and 28, 2013.

August 8, 2013:

The Subcommittee discussed a proposed change to the escort policy that would limit escorts to one person on the weekends, as it is limited during the week. The unaccommodated rate on weekends has been as high as five percent, and at times escorts will fill entire buses. The Subcommittee will continue discussion of this item next month.

Forum comments and Staff responses were reviewed.

August 28, 2013:

Thomas Hartley, TTC Wheel-Trans, presented the larger decal as recommended by the Ombudsman, informing customers that Wheel-Trans buses are equipped with cameras used for video recording for both safety and security purposes and may be used for confirming rider eligibility.

The Subcommittee finished review of the Forum comments. The next steps are to be discussed.

The next meeting is to be decided.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Debbie Gillespie, Chair

The Subcommittee met on August 21, 2013, and materials were received. Members discussed the draft brochure on priority seating and revised the colours. The issue of the inaccurate response regarding priority seating on the website under the June 9, 2012 Town Hall meeting summary report was passed on to Staff and fixed. Regarding the placement of an accessibility article in the TTC page in the Friday edition of Metro newspaper, Danny Nicholson Corporate Communications responded to the Subcommittee Chair explaining that space is limited. The Chair will respond with the suggestion of having an article once per month or at scheduled intervals. Regarding the accessibility of stops, this item will go through ACAT so the Subcommittee Chair and the ACAT Chair will work together on it. The Subcommittee then reviewed the Public Forum comments and Staff responses.

Sam Savona brought forward the issue that the legends attached to the subway maps above the doors in TR trains are in too small print for passengers to read, especially when sitting. Of particular concern is that the legend includes icons to indicate which stations are accessible, but it cannot be read by the people who are intended to use the legend. Beyond an accessibility issue, the legend is difficult for many customers to read. This issue was expressed at the Subcommittee meeting, but the response provided by Staff was disappointing.

The Committee discussed this issue and agreed to push for a readable legend. Possibilities that were raised were enlarging and moving the legend to the advertising space that is next to the mobility device spot or putting the International Symbol of Access icon next to station names on the map itself.

At the Subcommittee meeting, Staff stated that they would take the concerns and suggestions back. The item was placed on the ACAT Outstanding Items List with a completion date of October, at which time the Subcommittee will report on it. Depending on the report, the issue may be referred to the Customer Liaison Panel.

9. Customer Liaison Panel Report

There was no meeting in August. The next meeting will be held on September 11, 2013. At that meeting, Tim Rose will bring forward the issue of inconsistent and missing signage at subway stations.

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

On August 15, 2013, Angela Marley, ACAT Chair, Howard Wax, Vice-Chair, and Craig Nicol, as well as Orest Kobylansky, ACAT-TTC Liaison, met with TTC CEO Andy Byford for the Quarterly Meeting. TTC Chair Karen Stintz was not present and her assistant, Jean-Pierre Boutros, attended to report to her. As Susan Davidson, Vice-Chair, was unable to attend, Craig Nicol, Chair of the Design Review Subcommittee agreed to attend as many of the agenda items were items on which DRS is working.

Craig Nicol reported that DRS is waiting for a response from Engineering regarding DRS feedback on the Toronto Rocket subway train given in January, 2013. DRS reviewed the new streetcars on June 25, 2013, submitting feedback to staff and are waiting follow-up. On August 14, 2013, DRS reviewed the Articulated Bus and provided feedback.

They discussed DRS feedback to TTC and PRESTO staff, with whom DRS is meeting weekly, regarding the positioning of PRESTO machines in subway stations and the customer-machine interface. They emphasized their concern about the machines not being accessible and the potential that this fare payment system will be implemented without being accessible for all customers. PRESTO is to be implemented with the roll out of the new streetcars in the Spring of 2014. Mr. Byford affirmed his commitment to keep this launch date.
    
An update highlighting the work of the other ACAT subcommittees included:
Communications Subcommittee: Priority Seating Education for all customers and planning a site visit to the Wellesley 94 bus route regarding the Bus Stops and Shelter Maps Pilot.
Service Planning Subcommittee: Discussion of Support Persons and Public Forum Feedback.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee: Dealing with increasing demand for service, reviewing the Escort Policy.
They reported on other items ACAT is working on, including:

• Education of bus Operators and other staff, recertification training,
• Guidelines for addressing operators and resource information for ACAT members,
• Talking points: items to communicate to staff during the recertification sessions,
• The Public Forum Report and template for future Public Forums,
• and the education of customers regarding sharing the ride.

They reported the WTOS feedback to the Staff proposal to change the Wheel-Trans Escort Policy, to reduce the number of escorts on weekend trips in order to open more trip space for other customers. Members had expressed the importance of customers being able to travel as a group in the same way they would travel on the conventional service. Mr. Byford asserted his support for customers receiving service before additional escorts.

Recognizing the number of planned subway closures, they raised the need to consistently integrate accessibility information into TTC announcements and messages. Also Wheel-Trans support is needed because all customers using the subway may not be able to use conventional buses. 
The work on the subway station descriptions continues with the plan to launch it onto the TTC web site in September, 2013.
Mr. Byford acknowledged ACAT members have been very busy and thanked ACAT for their volunteer work.  
On August 19, 2013, after the meeting of the Service Planning Subcommittee representatives and Strategy and Service Planning Staff with Chair Stintz about her feedback to ACAT about the TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit Service, Chair Stintz apologized for not attending the Quarterly Meeting and asked for an update from ACAT about PRESTO. This was provided expressing concern about the PRESTO fare card system being implemented when the new streetcars are put into service, without being accessible for all customers. Examples given were the use of touch screens, which are not accessible for people with visual impairments, and that people using mobility devices need space to access the machines. 
Following up from the June Quarterly meeting, they discussed the ACAT presentation to the TTC Board to educate members about ACAT and the work of this advisory committee. The Chair asked the ACAT Chair to contact TTC Staff to arrange for this presentation, planned for the September TTC Board meeting.

The ACAT Chair has received from Wheel-Trans the draft presentation about what ACAT is doing, ACAT background in the pamphlet, and information about future plans. This draft will be circulated to Committee members before finalization and presentation to the Board. Members are encouraged to attend the Board meeting.

The presentation is designed such that it can be reused, with updating about current issues. It can be reused in the orientation of both Board and ACAT members.

ACAT Members thanked Angela Marley and Craig Nicol for their efforts to ensure that PRESTO installs an accessible system.

11. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

Howard Wax reported on the TTC Board Meeting and asked that Committee members read the CEO's report and review matters that address Wheel-Trans issues.

June 24, 2013:

• Staff responded to the Auditor General's Report that reviewed Wheel-Trans Services, including sustaining level and quality of services that requires changes to the program. This report has been referred by Staff to the ACAT Subcommittees for review and recommendations to the Board.
• The Board authorized amendments to the current upset limits for sedan meter-based taxi contracts because of the extension to the taxi contracts to Co-op and Beck Taxi.
• The approved ACAT Minutes from the March 28 and April 25, 2013 meetings were received and acknowledged by the Board.
• The commendation from ACAT to TTC management and Staff for the excellent work in keeping the elevators in the subway system operational during the elevator technicians’ labour disruption was received by the Board.

July 24, 2013:

• The new streetcar implementation plan was presented to the Board.
• The Update on the Wheel-Trans meter-based sedan taxi contract was presented for the Board's information.
• The renaming of the Steeles Avenue West subway was discussed by the Board and ACAT was asked for its advice. The ACAT Chair asked Sam Savona to present to the TTC Board ACAT's recommendation that the naming of the station should reflect the geographical address of the station to avoid confusion by members of the public, based on the address, not an event. ACAT recommended that the station name be Steeles West Station. This is the same name recommended by Staff. The Board voted to name the station Pioneer Village.
• The approved ACAT Minutes from the May 30, 2013 meeting were received and acknowledged by the Board.

The Committee discussed the impact of the renaming of the station. The main issue is that people are used to stations named for the streets, and may not know to go to a station called Pioneer Village if they are not going to the Pioneer Village. This may be particularly detrimental for travellers with a cognitive disability.

12. Review of Correspondence  

Nil

13. Other Items / New Business 

a) In the June 27 Minutes on page 6, paragraph 2, the 3rd sentence is misleading. Motioned by Bill Castor and seconded by Debbie Gillespie, the line "The Rocket Trains in service are typically 20 mm higher or lower than the average platform height, due to the allowable range of floor height in the specifications, combined with the new wheels," will be removed. Passed unanimously.

b) Angela Marley, ACAT Chair, reminded members that they are the eyes and ears of the TTC when using transit. When service items need to be brought to Customer Service, members are asked to record information with details and ask for a reply so Staff can follow up on it. Regarding Wheel-Trans issues, Dean Milton can be copied on communication and Matt Hagg can be copied on conventional Customer Service issues. They can monitor input and see if they are issues to bring to the pertinent Subcommittees.

c) Fay Fuerst reported a commendation for a driver whose driving was exceptional, which she passed on to Staff, who responded immediately.

14. Next Meeting 

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday September 26, 2013 from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

15. Adjournment

On motion by Howard Wax and seconded by Tim Rose, the meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.

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