ACAT Meeting - September 26, 2013
Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.
- Angela Marley, Chair
- Susan Davidson, Vice-Chair
- Howard Wax, Vice-Chair
- Sarah Adams
- Brayan Bratanov
- Bill Castor
- Debbie Gillespie
- Lori March
- Lynn McCormick
- Craig Nicol
- Tim Rose
- Sam Savona
- Valdo Tammark
- Judy Berger
- Robert Muzzy
- Adam Cohoon
- Andy Byford
- Kirsten Watson
- Ross Visconti
- Bill Dawson
- Alex Grncarovski
- Andy Byford
- Chris Upfold
- Orest Kobylansky
- Sameh Ghaly
- Vince Rodo
- Brad Ross
- Gary Shortt
- Mitch Stambler
- 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. Minute of Silence to Honour Fay Fuerst
Angela Marley, Chair, read out the tribute to Fay Fuerst, as had been read at the TTC Board Meeting:
“Fay was actively involved within the community. She was a current member of the TTC Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit as well as a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, serving as Chair and Board Member for the Willowdale Community Legal Services. Fay's civic duties also included serving on various other boards such as the Oak Street Co-op, the John Howard Society, and the Refugee Immigration Information Centre.”
Andy Byford, TTC CEO, spoke a few words about his experiences with Fay Fuerst and her contributions, achievement, and involvement.
The Committee held a minute of silence.
3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
4. Approval of Agenda
On motion by Howard Wax and seconded by Bill Castor, ACAT reviewed and approved the Agenda.
5. Review and Approval of August 29, 2013 Minutes
On motion by Susan Davidson and seconded by Brayan Bratanov, ACAT reviewed and approved the Minutes with the following amendment:
- Cover page: Day of the week revised from Wednesday to Thursday.
6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items
The items with September completion dates were reviewed:
Station Pages: On the verge of launch, the project team is performing final edits.
Roncesvalles Streetcar Platforms: The letter has been sent and is included in the current meeting package.
Fair Fare Issue: This was not discussed at the Board Meeting and there is no indication of when it will be. Bill Dawson, TTC Strategy and Service Planning, reported that Staff only learned of this a week before the Board Meeting. The report is being tied into broader changes to the fare system and fees and is now authored by the TTC Finance Department, with input from Staff from other departments and information from deputations. Bill Dawson will bring the report forward in the future, but there is no definite date for presentation.
After discussion, the Committee requested that this item be reported on at every meeting, to be recorded in the Minutes. ACAT's original deputation, presented by Penny Lamy, will be provided to ACAT Members. Sam Savona's deputation, made at the same time as ACAT's, will also be provided to members. Although they cannot present the report at this time, Staff encouraged members to provide further comment as required. This item is also on the Service Planning Subcommittee Outstanding Items List.
Mitigation of Impact on Accessible Service during Major Elevator Repairs at Subway Stations: Revised as referred only to the Service Planning Subcommittee.
TTC Signage Outside Subway Stations: An update will be provided by Tim Rose in the CLP report.
Texting the Bus Stop Number for Next Vehicle Arrival: There has been no response from Staff, action deferred to October.
2013 Public Forum Comments: An update will be provided as part of the Service Planning Subcommittee report.
Noise at Subway Platforms: Completed and removed from the Outstanding List.
8. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Bill Castor, Chair
September 11, 2013 – Meeting postponed from September 4, 2013
The first issue discussed was regarding the centre load / lift buses and customer comments that these buses should be spread throughout the system. The Subcommittee reviewed the issues, specifically that these buses will be replaced by the end of 2016 and there would be obstructions to spreading them through the system. If they are used intermittently on a route, customers might refuse to use them. They may not be familiar with the centre doors, and there may be crowd issues. Customers who are familiar with the centre door will know where to wait for loading, but if they wait at the front and need to move back, there may be issues navigating the crowds. The Subcommittee recommended keeping them on a single route and asked Staff to consider the continuity issue.
The Subcommittee discussed fares for support persons. They will ride free provided that the customer they are supporting has a signed medical certificate stating that they require a support person. This has been left to Staff for distribution. A photo ID card will be issued to the person who needs support.
The Subcommittee discussed fair fares. Information given by Staff at that time does not coincide with the information provided at the current ACAT General meeting. The Subcommittee was told that the discussion would be brought to the Subcommittee to understand and make comment.
The Subcommittee touched on the training guide for Operators, coupled with the Recertification program. Angela Marley, Tim Rose, and Valdo Tammark will edit the current training guide and bring it up to date to be implemented and put to use. This is a guideline for ACAT members to address Operators during training programs.
Regarding the Public Forum comments, Angela Marley and Bill Castor met with the TTC Chair to discuss the Public Forum and made recommendations. Staff will investigate some of these items, such as the functionality of two forums or coupling the forums with something else, e.g. transit issues and other factors. From the customer comments, most have been looked at and dealt with. The bulk were ramp reliability, which Orest Kobylansky reported on at the last ACAT General Meeting, Operator training, elevators/escalators, reliability of elevators, and information going out to customers about elevators, which was referred to the Communications Subcommittee. The other recommendation was travel training. Wheel-Trans sent out letters to inform the public that training was available, but there have not been many requests. The Subcommittee suggested that the travel training go on the website, following up with CDs and help from ACAT. They hope that the training CD and guide will be ready in October, 2013.
Regarding Wheel-Trans bus bays at the ten Easier Access Phase III (EA3) Stage 1 stations, the Subcommittee referred the item to Staff and recommended that accessibility information be provided to customers at the time of booking. Connections between surface routes and to street are now accessible at these stations, but not to subway platforms. Staff will look at how to designate this. Riders should be able to use this as a connection to accessible conventional transit.
Regarding elevator overhaul, when elevators are out of service for a long period, there must be a way for customers to get off and on at particular stations, possibly getting transferred between stations by a Community Bus. The Subcommittee wants to try modifying a conventional route to pick up at a station where the elevator will be out for an extended period.
Under New Business, a discussion was made on how streetcars will operate, how they will be accessed from the road, and how they will get traffic to stop. There have been no guidelines or suggestions from Staff.
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 2, 2013.
Questions and comments from the Committee:
The Committee discussed the pros and cons of requiring a medical professional signature in order to qualify for a support person. ACAT raised that the danger with this system is the potential for abuse by some individuals. However, the TTC requires something that is clear in order to make this determination, and the medical profession signature is the easiest and most accurate possibility. The Committee also raised the possibility of a panel similar to Wheel-Trans registration process; however, the financial and bureaucratic requirements would be substantial. Staff suggested that the medical professional signature could be merely a starting point and that the process may be revised over time.
Another concern is that a medical professional may not recommend a support person if support is only needed occasionally.
Howard Wax explained that the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee is looking at the same issue and suggested that Staff look into the Easter Seals Disabilities Travel Card. The Easter Seals have an established process used by most of the coach industry, including a screening process, a medical form, processing, and issuance. It will take a few months for the Subcommittee to examine and pass back, and they will pass on to the Service Planning Subcommittee.
The Committee pointed out that Operators will need to be aware that a fare must be paid by the cardholder in order for the support person to board, as they sometimes will not try to collect fares from customers with disabilities.
The Committee brought forward other details about implementation, such as the process for using an automated entrance, the requirement for accessible photographing locations, and the mechanism for application. Staff explained that a plan is being worked on for submission to the Board for revenue and revenue loss. Staff will work with the Service Planning Subcommittee.
Regarding the EA3 Stage 1 stations, the Committee discussed potential problems with the installation of a Wheel-Trans bus bay. The Service Planning Subcommittee will work on this, ensuring communication of what is actually accessible at these stations. Recommendations are to have adequate signage that the subway is not accessible and to have Wheel-Trans provide this information at the time of booking. Staff explained that Wheel-Trans has agreed to do this and the Wheel-Trans buses will have access to the bus bays. The Committee asked that Wheel-Trans inform them of locations when they are designated.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair
September 11, 2013 – Meeting postponed from September 4, 2013
The first major discussion was on the gap issue, i.e. looking at the horizontal gaps. TTC Track Maintenance presented information on measurement deviations from design values and presented data for several stations, pointing out locations with horizontal gap issues and levelling issues. They discussed gap filler solutions used in other systems and pointed out the filler that was tested at Davisville Station. Track Maintenance explained that they have a filler in use in a maintenance station, a piece of wood that wears down and shapes self to train. This may not be a serious approach, but is something to think about. Part of the strategy is education and signage, marking where the gap is wider. Some signage has already been implemented at the south end of St. Clair Station.
Regarding the vertical gap and levelling, Track Maintenance identified where stations have a low or high platform. The Subcommittee asked Staff to return with strategies. These will likely be long term, falling back on intermediate steps such as marking the wide gaps and communicating to customers who are new to the system. No strategies have been developed as of yet as this is a long-term problem. The Subcommittee asked that Staff concentrate data collection on existing accessible stations and those that are about to become accessible, as well as communicating to Union and TYSSE construction to ensure that they avoid this issue by sticking to standards.
Because long-term solutions could take many years to implement, the Subcommittee discussed interim solutions of ramps, gap fillers, signage, and staff assistance that will allow everyone to use the system while the TTC is making physical improvements.
The Subcommittee then heard a presentation from Cameron Penman, Group Station Manager, about crowd control barriers at Bloor-Yonge Station, to be used on the southbound platform to direct traffic and disperse customers down the length of the platform. He presented a double-belted barrier that pulls out of heavy stanchions that can be set up for the morning rush hour and stored when not in use. The low belt was cane-detectable and would stop a guide dog. The Subcommittee agreed to the testing of this barrier. If they find this is an effective tool, then permanent rollout gates may be implemented. The Subcommittee then discussed colour contrast and recommended that the TTC consult with CNIB.
Staff gave the Subcommittee an update on elevator installations on TYSSE, which had been requested as a result of the layout of call buttons. Only one elevator has three stops on TYSSE. The Subcommittee did not go further with this, but pointed out that the TTC button layout is non standard compared to other buildings and they should get closer to the standard without obstructing reach standards.
Harrison Harrison, Co-ordinator of Wayfinding/Signage, will be invited to the Subcommittee to discuss strategies for elevator signage, such that customers will be able to find the elevator when they get off the train.
The Subcommittee discussed mitigation of elevator overhaul and service issues. Staff presented 2012 breakdowns. A large percentage of breakdown issues are connected with doors and support equipment. The Subcommittee asked for more detail in order to provide advice and suggestions for avoiding things that cause breakdowns. For example, support equipment issues could be water in the pit; the Subcommittee could recommend ways to prevent water build-up. They are waiting for more details.
The Subcommittee reviewed the outstanding items.
Other issues are related to the accessibility and safety issue of buskers on platforms. When a busker is on the platform, it is difficult for people with visual impairments to navigate and hear the train doors open. Cameron Penman said he would take that back.
Angela Marley also mentioned to Cameron Penman to get access to station page descriptions as soon as possible to make input.
The next meeting will be held on October 2, 2013.
Questions and comments from the Committee:
Regarding the stanchions, Debbie Gillespie received a call at CNIB about the colour contrast. TTC will bring colour samples to the Subcommittee based on what the manufacturer has available.
Angela Marley brought forward that there is new signage in TTC elevators and asked if this signage had gone through the Subcommittee. Valdo Tammark added that they have replaced old buttons with new buttons, but did not revise the numbering as recommended by ACAT, to be standardized across the system. The Subcommittee will follow up on this.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Lynn McCormick, Chair
A meeting was held on September 18, 2013 and the Subcommittee discussed the review of the Ombudsman's recommendations for the Questionable Rider Program, which included full transparency before and during review, giving the questionable rider the opportunity to provide their own information, and informing the panel. Staff are deciding if they need a full public consultation or if ACAT is sufficient. The new policy will be posted on the website along with the Wheel-Trans application process and application form, the Questionable Rider policy and appeal process, and the use of video camera surveillance. The “Welcome to Wheel-Trans” booklet will be updated. Wheel-Trans is exploring ways and tools for augmenting communication. The Subcommittee suggested sending information out via CD.
They discussed the Vehicle Arrival Call Ahead. It is being tested by the TTC ITS Department and will then be handed to Wheel-Trans for further testing and implementation at the end of the year. Operators will have the option to send a call 15 minutes prior to arrival. Sedan taxis will only have an automatic message. For Wheel-Trans buses, the 15 minutes is based on where the driver is, but for sedans it is based on scheduled times, regardless of where the vehicle is. Bus Operators will get a pop-up on their MDT and the Operator will have the option to send a call. If they are running late, they can delay the call. Wheel-Trans will ask for ACAT volunteers during the testing phase.
Staff presented other improvements to the booking website, where customers will be able to enter and book addresses online. This will be launched in early 2014.
The next meeting will be held on October 16, 2013.
Questions and comments from the Committee:
The Committee raised the concern of the surveillance used for the Questionable Rider Program being a privacy issue. Staff explained that this has gone through Legal and through the Privacy Commissioner, who stated that video surveillance is allowed so long as the use of it is transparent. For that reason, there is a new larger decal indicating that video recordings are used for security purposes and assessment of eligibility. The new decal will be posted in several locations on Wheel-Trans buses.
The Committee asked if the website improvements have been tested for accessibility. Staff explained that they have not yet, but they will have the same accessibility standards as are in place currently.
Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Debbie Gillespie, Chair
No meetings were held. The next meeting will be held on October 4, 2013.
9. Customer Liaison Panel Report
The Panel met on Thursday, September 11, 2013 and the meeting was dominated by three presentations.
The first presentation was on the Communications Information System (CIS) Way Forward by Anthony Iannucci, Head of Information Technology. The discussion included the background on the current communications system and how it works, the modern communications systems and how they work, the benefits of replacing the current CIS with a modern system, and the cost of maintaining the existing system versus purchasing a new one.
The second presentation was from the Group Station Managers (GSM) Bo Koch and Eve Wiggins. They provided an update on how they are working toward creating a new standard to improve customer service at subway stations and interchange. They explained how they are doing with implementing the GSM system, how they are employing personnel to work in stations. They also gave updates on projects such as a project to improve communication between stations about issues like flooding.
The third presentation was on the Customer Satisfaction Survey 2013 results, provided by Bob Hughes, Head of Fare Card Team and Acting Chief Customer Officer. They looked at highlights and lowlights of the survey, the survey methods and how they impacted results, and comparing results with other transit agencies. When asked if any of the measures had to do with accessibility, they said no, but that it was something they will look into. Tim Rose suggested that the results be presented to ACAT.
A notice for the upcoming October subway closure was displayed and reviewed by the Panel. The entire U will be closed for both Thanksgiving weekend and the weekend after (October 12, 13, 19, and 20). The Panel was asked for suggestions on how to improve the notice. Tim Rose raised accessibility, which they said they would take under advisement, and the Panel recommended more of an explanation for the closure. With time running out, the Panel requested that suggestions and comments be emailed.
Due to the three presentations, there was no time period for member feedback. Tim Rose was unable to report on the issue of inconsistent signage at subway entrances. However, he ensured that member feedback was first on the agenda at the October meeting.
The next meeting will be held on October 9, 2013.
Comments and Questions from the Committee:
Sam Savona asked what Wheel-Trans has planned for the subway closure. Staff explained that shuttle service will be provided at each end of the closure, to be advertised along with other closure notices. The Committee recommended an announcement on how to access the shuttle service. Angela Marley, Chair, noted that they need to clarify that this shuttle service is in conjunction with the closure of the conventional service.
Alex Grncarovski, Mount Dennis Division Manager, explained that staff at the stations will be aware of the Wheel-Trans service and will call when customers require the Wheel-Trans shuttle, from any point along the closure, covering the subway route.
The Committee discussed the necessity of communicating the availability of accessible service and how to access it. Additionally, accessibility information must be consistent and provided for all closures. They also need to be clear that Wheel-Trans shuttles can be used by non-registrants as well. Staff explained that the buses and stops are accessible. Wheel-Trans is a back-up and put in place in case there is an issue. They will communicate pick-up points, how to get there, where it is going, and what to do on arrival.
Staff assured that this is a planned shutdown, the stations will be staffed by supervisors and managers, and there is a new process of evaluating best pick up locations identified by an orange coloured stop.
The Committee reinforced that communication is a necessity, with communication pieces in the media and on the Wheel-Trans Ride Line and website. The Committee suggested that the Communications Subcommittee look at coming up with recommendations for a closure communication plan.
Staff asked ACAT members to evaluate the closure communication and shuttle service. ACAT members will monitor and report back.
10. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters
Howard Wax, Co-Vice Chair, reported on the TTC Board Meeting of September 25, 2013.
Correspondence from ACAT was presented, including the Minutes from June 27 and July 25, 2013 General Meetings, and the letter to the City of Toronto Disability Issues Committee was received for action.
A letter from Joe Clark was received, outlining emergency evacuation plans for passengers with disabilities. The plans have been referred to Staff and ACAT for action and will be passed on in the report.
Victoria Park Station is receiving the Toronto Urban Design Award. ACAT was involved in the design with recommendations for barrier-free places.
PRESTO's consultation with ACAT was discussed.
The Chief Executive Officer's September 2013 report was given, containing Wheel-Trans status reports and budget concerns.
A presentation was given by Angela Marley, ACAT Chair, entitled "ACAT: Accessibility Advice to the TTC for More Than 20 Years." This presentation has been forwarded electronically to all members. Howard Wax congratulated Angela Marley and suggested that the presentation be used for recruitment.
The St. Clair Avenue West Station EA3 Project update was presented and will be passed on to ACAT members with more information.
There was further discussion on the proposed Scarborough Subway project.
Comments and questions from the Committee:
Craig Nicol requested elaboration on the PRESTO item. Howard Wax explained that the Board reviewed the Design Review Subcommittee reports, the PRESTO consultation, the recommendation from Staff to the Board to receive the memorandum from February 19, 2013, the letter that ACAT wrote raising concerns, and the letter sent by Angela Marley. ACAT concerns about the PRESTO Fare Card project are well-documented.
11. Review of Correspondence
Addressed under Outstanding Items.
12. ACAT Volunteers for Photo Shoot for Newsletter
Wheel-Trans is seeking volunteers in October to have pictures taken with conventional and Wheel-Trans vehicles. It will be a day with Dean Milton and the Graphics Services Section. If interested, ACAT members are asked to email Dean Milton. This will be discussed further in the Communications Subcommittee. A mobility device is not required.
13. Wheel-Trans Taxi Contract Update
Kirsten Watson, Senior Manager of Wheel-Trans, reported that, on August 29, 2013, there was a public consultation at the North York Civic Centre with customers, drivers, lobbyists, the TTC, and the Fairness Commissioner. Comments were generally from the companies' and drivers' concerns. Wheel-Trans is limited on the information they can give back, as they cannot comment on what will be in the Request for Proposal (RFP). However, they took back comments, online and in person, and incorporated what they could. The RFP will be released in mid-October. Information about the Q & A and the presentation will be posted on the website on September 27, 2013.
14. Other Items / New Business
a) Angela Marley mentioned that the ACAT Information Sessions have been scheduled to invite applications for membership. Advertisements have been placed in Friday's Metro newspaper and on the RideLine. The sessions will be held on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday, October 2, 2013, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Committee Room #2 at Toronto City Hall. ACAT members were requested to encourage others to apply. Angela Marley will be taking an active role in this.
b) Angela Marley asked that ACAT members look at and provide feedback on the presentation given to the Board. The presentation will be finalized and put in the archives for future use. Staff's presentation is specifically for how to apply and what ACAT is about. The ACAT presentation is focused on ACAT's history, role, contributions, and the invitation to Board members to come to meetings and learn more about accessibility issues.
c) ACAT presented Tim Rose with congratulations on his upcoming wedding and a token of their best wishes.
15. Next Meeting
The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday October 31, 2013 from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.
On motion by Howard Wax and seconded by Tim Rose, the meeting was adjourned at 3:23 p.m.