ACAT Meeting - October 31, 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
- Judy Berger
- Brayan Bratanov
- Bill Castor
- Adam Cohoon
- Debbie Gillespie
- Lynn McCormick
- Craig Nicol
- Tim Rose
- Sam Savona
- Valdo Tammark
- Robert Muzzy
- Sarah Adams
- Lori March
- Kirsten Watson
- Bill Dawson
- Orest Kobylansky
- 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. Welcome Judy Berger as ACAT Member
The Executive members welcomed Judy Berger as a full member of ACAT.
3. Sam Savona - Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship
Angela Marley, Chair, congratulated Sam Savona and read the following:
On October 17, 2013, Sam Savona was presented with the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship by Lieutenant Governor David Onley, in recognition of Sam's "lifelong efforts advocating for people who encounter barriers to accessibility, particularly in the area of public transit services."
Sam was introduced as "An accessibility champion who was instrumental in encouraging Toronto's Metro Council to install elevators in subway stations."
Sam was the first person to travel on the subway using a mobility device, unassisted. The TTC Board honoured Sam at their October 23, 2013 meeting presenting him with a photo taken during this trip.
Sam is a former Chair of ACAT, having served on this Committee since 1992.
Congratulations, Sam! Keep up the good work!
The Toronto Moves article in the last Friday Metro regarded Sam's honour, with a picture of Sam with Lieutenant Governor Onley.
4. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
5. Approval of Agenda
The presentations on texting bus arrival times and on the results of the Customer Satisfaction Survey planned for the ACAT October meeting have been deferred to the November 2013 ACAT meeting.
In response to a member inquiry about accommodating members at ACAT meetings, the Executive reviewed the ACAT Terms of Reference and there is no statement regarding accommodation.
Howard Wax, Co-Vice Chair, read out a proposed statement of accommodation:
“The City of Toronto, and all its Boards and Commission are committed to the AODA and the Ontario Human Rights Code and Legislation dealing with the rights and accommodation for all persons, without discrimination, who have a disability and shall be accommodated and given full access to all goods and services.
ACAT wholeheartedly endorses these principles.”
The Executive is to work on the wording of the accommodation statement, to be reviewed in January, 2014 and thereafter annually at the January meetings and to be included in the ACAT New Member Handbook.
7. Review and Approval of September 26, 2013 Minutes
On motion by Debbie Gillespie and seconded by Sam Savona, ACAT reviewed and approved the Minutes with the following amendment:
- Page 11, item 13: The paragraph will begin with, "Kirsten Watson, Senior Manager Wheel-Trans, reported that ..."
8. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items
Regarding the Fair Fares issue, the deputation made by Penny Lamy to the TTC Board on behalf of ACAT and the deputation made by Sam Savona as a private citizen were forwarded to ACAT members.
Information Sessions, for applications to serve on ACAT, were held on October 1 and 2, 2013 with approximately 100 people attending. Applicants had to attend a session in order to apply. Application forms/CDs were distributed after the sessions. The application due date was October 28, 2013. ACAT Chair Angela Marley is on the panel who will interview applicants. Interviews will begin in early November and selection will be in mid-November. Five new members and 3 pool members will be appointed by the TTC Board at their December meeting. New members start their tem in January 2014.
ACAT members were asked for feedback on the YUS Subway closures on the two weekends in October, particularly regarding the shuttle bus arrangement between stations. All feedback provided by members was favourable, particularly that there were ample staff and explanations. ACAT commended Staff on a job well done for moving customers during the shutdown.
The Committee reviewed the following Outstanding Items:
Item Station Pages: Craig Nicol reported that the Station Pages are nearly finished and will be launched on November 14, 2013.
Item Roncesvalles Streetcar Platforms: Completed and removed from the Outstanding list.
Item Fair Fare Issue: Reported on in the current meeting.
Item TTC Signage Outside Subway Stations: Reported on in the current meeting, Customer Liaison Panel section.
Item Texting the Bus Stop Number for Next Vehicle Arrival: Completion date changed to November 2013.
Item Public Forum - Comments: Reported on in the current meeting, Service Planning Subcommittee section.
Item Legends on Maps over TR Train Doors: Orest Kobylansky, Head of Bus Transportation, presented an update. Carla Basso, TTC Customer Communications, reported staff’s review of Sam Savona’s suggestion to Orest Kobylansky. The suggestion is regarding the legends that currently exist on the subway route maps above the doors within the TR trains. The concern is that the information in the legend is too small, difficult for customers to read. The advice to staff was to consider reproducing the same information in a larger format and installing it on the nearest poster space to the map on the wall behind the priority seats.
As more information is needed, Orest stated he will ask Customer Communications Staff to attend the November 2013 meeting.
Craig Nicol clarified that the issue is regarding signage within the trains and recommended that the maps themselves should indicate which stations are accessible, not the legends.
9. Deputation: Marian McDonell
Marian McDonell, a former member of ACAT, reported on her experience participating in the Bus Operator Recertification sessions and attending at TTC’s Queensway Division, discussing accommodation issues on the conventional bus service. She asserted the value of ACAT members attending these sessions to address the Bus Operators’ questions/concerns regarding accommodating customers. The more Operators know about how to accommodate people using mobility devices and people with disabilities, the more confident and secure they feel when providing this service. Their ability to deliver appropriate accommodations also educates many customers using the TTC.
Marian pointed out a problem that she experienced with using the conventional transit specifically regarding ramp deployment. When Operators deploy the ramp, she has to back up in her power wheelchair to make room for the ramp to come down. Often the people behind her do not give space for her to back up or they think she is not getting on and they get on in front of her. Marian stated that she has had to put her hand up once to stop people getting hit by the ramp as it is coming down. .
She related a recent incident while she was waiting for the ramp to be deployed. Other customers went in front of her to board the bus. A woman attempting to be courteous, stood in front of the doorway, telling her to go ahead onto the bus, but Marian could not board until the ramp was deployed. Marian stressed that a better job of educating customers must be done. She suggested painting a rectangle on the subway station bus platforms, larger than the size of the deployed ramp, like an accessible parking space, to deter customers from standing in that spot. She stated this would be too expensive for every stop, but if used at bus platforms, passengers might learn to do this at all stops. These rectangles exist at some subway stations to indicate where Operators are to stop their bus. She added the Operator could give customers a signal to wait to board the bus until the ramp is deployed for the person needing it.
ACAT thanked Marian for the deputation and had the following discussion:
Craig Nicol reported that one of the items on the Design Review Subcommittee Outstanding Items List is related to painting squares on subway bus platforms. Another thing to look at is that automated preboarding announcements for route destinations are required by the AODA as of 2017. They may be able to use the same system to instruct customers to stand clear for ramp deployment.
Bill Castor agreed that educating transit customers is important and suggested that the Communications Subcommittee look into a campaign.
Debbie Gillespie brought up that customers within the vehicles as well as outside need to know what to do when the ramp deploys, to make room for customers using mobility devices.
The ACAT Executive members will bring up the topic of customer education at the next Quarterly meeting with the TTC Chair and CEO.
Tim Rose recommended bringing the issue to the Customer Liaison Panel.
This item was deferred to the Communications Subcommittee and added to the Outstanding Items List as Education of General Public re: ramp deployment.
10. TTC Fare Policy = Requests for Fare Discounts - October 23, 2013 Board Report
The October 23, 2013 TTC Board Report regarding TTC Fare Policy was distributed to the members.
As background, ACAT has long been recommending that the Board consider having a reduced fare for people with disabilities who have limited incomes. This item was on the Board agenda last fall, at which time Penny Lamy made a deputation on behalf of ACAT and Sam Savona made a deputation as a private citizen. The item was referred to Staff, and Staff submitted a report to the October Board meeting. Chair Angela Marley sent a request to the Board to defer a decision on the report to their November meeting to give ACAT the opportunity to review the report and provide feedback to the Board for consideration.
Bill Dawson, TTC Strategy and Service Planning, explained that the report states the TTC Staff position that the role of the TTC and Staff expertise does not lie in income redistribution and identifying financial needs. If it becomes a public policy at the City Council level, then additional subsidy will be required; but as a transportation organization, it is beyond TTC Staff expertise to recommend it. They asked to refer the matter to the City Council for decision-making and funding.
ACAT discussed the report, with the general consensus that reduced fares are required in order for the TTC to be accessible to everyone, because persons with disabilities are often on a limited income. As there are concession fares for seniors and students, it is felt by the Committee that there should also be concession fares for people with disabilities on a limited income, otherwise the system cannot be considered accessible.
After discussion, ACAT concluded that they would support concession fares for persons on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Members recommended looking at the statistics of how many people on ODSP receive fares through other programs, at how this issue overlaps with the upcoming Pan Am Games, and at how other transit providers have accommodated reduced fares for customers with disabilities. In some systems, if a rider can prove that they are a paratransit rider, they will receive a discounted or free trip on the conventional system.
Tim Rose moved that ACAT recommend that the TTC Board seek funding in order to cover the offset costs for Ontario Disability Support Program recipients in order to facilitate reduced fares equivalent to senior/student rates for people on the Ontario Disability Support Program.
Seconded by Howard Wax. Carried unanimously.
ACAT Chair to send a letter with ACAT response to the TTC Board for their November 18, 2013 meeting.
11. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Bill Castor, Chair
The last meeting was held on October 2, 2013.
The Subcommittee discussed the fares for support persons. They reviewed and provided feedback on the application, which must be filled out and signed by a medical practitioner, after which the TTC will accept the application and provide a photo identification card that states that a single support person may ride on the fare of the cardholder.
They then discussed the Public Forum. Comments and responses are on the website, so this item was removed from the Outstanding Items List. The Subcommittee reviewed changes in the format and location then turned the issue over to Staff for ideas. They have not come up with a new location that is operationally feasible for Wheel-Trans as of yet.
The Subcommittee discussed the low-floor streetcars and operating procedures. The concern about ramp operation was raised by the ACAT Design Review Subcommittee members during their review of accessibility features on the prototype car in Harvey Shop on June 25, 2013.
The Service Planning Subcommittee's concerns were the deployment of the ramp and boarding and deboarding. Further discussion has been postponed until Vehicle Engineering brings the issue to the Subcommittee for operational input prior to the new streetcars going into service.
The next meeting will be held on November 6, 2013.
Bill Dawson, TTC Strategy and Service Planning, provided an update on support persons. Staff have been asked to bring forward a report to the TTC Board, which will reflect the input from the Subcommittee on this issue. Staff will provide the report to the Subcommittee before bringing it to the Board. Once it has gone to the Board, it will be circulated to all ACAT members.
The form of the card was discussed. Staff reported that the card format will be similar to the current senior and student identification cards and there will be a procedure for getting the cards manufactured and distributed. The mechanics of this process will be rolled out in the next three to six months. The name of the card used is still an outstanding issue and will be discussed in the next Subcommittee meeting.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair
The Subcommittee had two meetings in October.
October 2, 2013:
Regarding the platform gap, a presentation and discussion took place with Aleksandar Urosevic, TTC Maintenance Engineering Manager, regarding techniques and costs to adjust track elevation at St. Andrew Station. Further investigation is required regarding the actual measurements and reasons for platform elevation variances before any plan of action can be formulated. Track Maintenance has ordered a special gauge that will be used to measure exact track to platform elevation and track to platform edge. The gauge will allow collection of data for all stations to proceed faster. The Subcommittee recommended first measuring accessible stations, then soon-to-be accessible, then all stations.
It is critical that the Board understand how important the gap issue is, especially when presenting the costs of raising the tracks. This is part of the value in collecting data on platform heights, to illustrate the scope of this issue.
Other gap items are that the Subcommittee is awaiting a decision from Vehicle Engineering on lowering TR trains by half of an inch based on the pilot test of seven train sets, which have been in use for two months. “Mind the Gap” decals have been placed on platforms where the horizontal gap is large, at St. Clair, Dundas, Sheppard, and Eglinton stations. Union Station cannot be done at this time due to construction.
Regarding PRESTO, the Subcommittee received presentations on the screens for the LFTP (new streetcar fare reader) and SRVM (single ride vending machine) in use on streetcars and platforms) during the transition phase and made numerous comments and recommendations. The Subcommittee expressed concern that there has been review of the visual messaging, but not the audio interface text, pointing out that this is critical and not just an add-on. Regarding audio messaging, the Subcommittee indicated that they did not support the tones presented earlier in the design review process.
The project team will get the full software simulator as the next step and continue the design process. Also, in light of presentations, it was identified that tones are a part of the issue. PRESTO wants audio information at the next meeting, but has no definitive time.
The Subcommittee then reviewed the Outstanding Items List.
October 29, 2013:
The Subcommittee met at Spadina and Harbord to review streetcar platform accessibility upgrades that were made to accommodate the new streetcars. The Subcommittee was concerned that the platforms constitute a safety hazard, specifically on the entry to the platform from the crosswalk. There will be a debriefing at the next meeting for members to discuss and record concerns and observations.
The next meeting will be held on November 6, 2013.
A member asked regarding the PRESTO roll-out, if there is a solution for the use of PRESTO in Wheel-Trans vehicles. The response was that a handheld Point of Sale (POS) device may be used on the buses, but this has not been decided. Taxis have not been discussed.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Lynn McCormick, Chair
The last meeting was held on October 16, 2013.
The Subcommittee discussed the Ombudsman Report's recommendations and the escort policy.
As specified by the Ombudsman, there was the development of a Public Information Session on November 26, 2013 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at Memorial Hall, North York Centre (5110 Yonge Street, entrance under North York Civic Centre Library). This will be a meeting for Wheel Trans riders to discuss the use of videos and provide comments. A letter has been sent to all registrants. The large decal was also discussed. These decals have been placed in Wheel Trans buses, one at the front left and one at the back right. They look good and are easy to read.
Regarding the escort policy, Staff performed a survey of surrounding paratransit providers and circulated a chart of their findings. A long discussion followed with points raised about definitions of escorts, companions, and support persons. If a user is trying to book extra companions, they will need to call at the end of the day and see if there is room.
They discussed eliminating the word "escort" and replacing with "companions" and "support persons", as is found in the AODA.
The next meeting is still to be scheduled.
Comments from ACAT members:
The Service Planning Subcommittee has provided input regarding the Support Person Program to TTC Strategy & Service Planning staff who are preparing a report for the Board.
The definitions of rider types need to be clear. A companion will pay their own fare and a support person will ride with the cardholder's fare. The issue about companions on Wheel-Trans vehicles is an issue of demand for service and availability of space on vehicles to meet this demand. Wheel-Trans is looking at reducing the companion availability to one during the week. On weekends, the rider can call in the night before to add another companion if there is available space. Riders can potentially have both a support person and a companion travelling with them.
Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Debbie Gillespie, Chair
No meeting since last ACAT meeting.
12. Update on Ombudsman Report on Video Sureveillance
This item was covered in the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee report.
13. Customer Liaison Panel Report
This month's meeting was held on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, and was chaired by Bob Hughes.
The meeting was largely taken up by three presentations. The first was by Kevin Seto, Head of Streetcar Maintenance; the second by Orest Kobylansky on Bus Performance; and the third by Bob Hughes on the 3rd Quarter Results of the Customer Satisfaction Survey.
Kevin Seto gave a very detailed presentation on the new streetcars—how they are better, the new features, and roll out schedule. Much of the presentation has already been viewed, in various forms, by ACAT and its Subcommittees. It was a very complete overview of the new system. A good discussion followed about how best to promote the new streetcars, and accessibility was raised as a major selling point.
Orest Kobylansky and Bob Drouin then gave a presentation, and led a subsequent question and answer, on the work that goes into maintaining bus schedules and its challenges. The focus of the presentation/feedback was how best to communicate the need for buses to stay on time to TTC riders (i.e. not waiting beyond the allotted time). The presentation was highly informative and generated a lengthy discussion, the key message being to reach out to riders in a positive way, not restrictive, to keep riders from feeling rushed.
The third presentation by Bob Hughes concerned the 3rd quarter results of the Customer Satisfaction Survey. Much like previous versions, this was a very detailed and well-illustrated presentation, showing definite areas of improvement in wait times and crowding. Tim Rose suggested to Bob Hughes that the presentation or the Customer Satisfaction Survey in general be brought to ACAT for feedback.
While they only had a brief time at the end of the meeting for observations, Tim Rose raised the issue of inconsistent signage. Bob Hughes noted it and said he would pursue a follow-up with Ian Dickson, Technical Assistant - Wayfinding and Signage, before the next meeting.
The November meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 13, 2013, in the TTC Boardroom.
Questions and comments from ACAT members:
Regarding the new streetcar promotional item, there needs to be education for both riders and the driving public.
Regarding the push for the new subway numbering and colouring system, there is the issue of the new numbers becoming confused with existing route numbers. This item was deferred until after the Board Report on the new wayfinding signage.
A question was raised when the Panel meetings will be open to the public. Tim Rose stated that he will raise this question at the November meeting.
14. Report on TTC Meeting and Accessibility Matters
Howard Wax, Co-Vice Chair, reported on the TTC Board Meeting of October 23, 2013. The accessibility issues addressed were as follows:
Putting the Customer First
The Board approved the following request presented by TTC Chair Karen Stintz: To enhance customer service and to maximize investment of taxpayer dollars and existing GO Transit infrastructure, TTC Staff engage appropriate staff at Metrolinx about implementing a pilot project to integrate GO and TTC fares through PRESTO card technology at Bloor Station GO and the Exhibition GO Station. TTC Staff are to report back with an update at the November Board meeting.
TTC Board Acknowledges ACAT Member Sam Savona
On behalf of the TTC Board and all TTC employees, Chair Karen Stintz publicly congratulated Sam Savona, member of the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit on receiving the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship. It is one of the highest honours presented to citizens by the Province. Savona had recently accepted the medal at Queen's Park from Lieutenant Governor David Onley.
Yorkdale Fatality Investigation Report
Board members received a presentation and report from TTC Head of Safety and Environment John O'Grady on last year's Maintenance employee fatality at track level, near Yorkdale Station on the Yonge-University-Spadina line. The Yorkdale Fatality Investigation Report outlines the causal factors and numerous recommendations and corrective actions (some of which have already been implemented) to prevent such an incident from occurring again. On September 14, 2012, Road Master Peter Pavlovski lost his life on the job. He was 49.
Howard Wax recommended that ACAT members read the report.
New Signage Pilot Underway in the Subway
The Board received a presentation from Acting Chief Service Officer Chris Upfold on a pilot being conducted at Bloor-Yonge and St. George interchange stations to improve wayfinding signage and standards. The new standards being proposed are designed to bring a simple, non-fussy, and accessible-to-all approach to information that customers see and use in TTC stations, printed materials, maps, and online. Key elements of the pilot include the introduction of subway route numbering, simplified signage, and redesigned maps that allow riders to make self-navigation decisions quicker and with more clarity. The classic TTC subway font type will be expanded to stations entrances, fare booths, and track level signs.
The date of the pilot is to be determined.
The Chief Executive Officer's Report reviews matters that address Wheel-Trans issues. This report has been previously distributed to members and is available on the TTC website. Howard Wax recommended that ACAT members review this report.
Approved ACAT Minutes from August 29, 2013 were received and acknowledged by the Board.
ACAT requested to defer Report 3(b) TTC Fare Policy - Requests for Fare Discounts to the November meeting to allow ACAT to review the report and report back to the TTC Board.
Sam Savona (Private Citizen) Deputation – Fare Policy – Requests for Fare Discounts deferred to November meeting.
15. Review of Correspondence
A copy of the letter requesting deferral and tabling the ACAT response to the Board Report was distributed to ACAT members.
16. Other Items / New Business
a) Howard Wax brought forward the item that the City of Toronto will be creating and implementing a program through which people can vote over the internet. The City sent a request for people to explore this opportunity. Community consultation has begun. The City sent a request to ACAT for their expertise in creating an accessible website. Howard Wax passed this request on to Alice Smith, TTC Customer Communications.
After discussion, members decided that this is not an accessible public transit issue and no further action is required by ACAT.
b) The ACAT Presentation given to the Board on September 25, 2013 will be posted on the TTC website and will be stored in the archives, if ACAT gives approval. There was consensus among members that this should be done.
c) The Quarterly meeting with the TTC CEO and Chair will be held on November 7, 2013. Members were asked to email Angela Marley, ACAT Chair, if they have suggestions for discussion topics. One topic will be the education of TTC riders.
17. Next Meeting
The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, November 28, 2013, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.
On motion by Brayan Bratanov, the meeting was adjourned at 3:36 p.m.