ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Friday, December 20, 2013
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:272
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

  • Angela Marley, Chair
  • Susan Davidson, Co-Vice Chair
  • Howard Wax, Co-Vice Chair
  • Sarah Adams
  • Judy Berger
  • Brayan Bratanov
  • Adam Cohoon
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Lori March
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Craig Nicol
  • Tim Rose
  • Sam Savona
  • Valdo Tammark

Pool Members

  • Robert Muzzy

Regrets

  • Bill Castor

TTC Representatives

  • Kirsten Watson Carla Basso
  • Bill Dawson Anna Pace
  • Jacqueline Darwood
  • Matt Hagg
  • Ross Visconti
  • Orest Kobylansky

Copies

  • 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.
TTC Chair Karen Stintz addressed ACAT members at the lunch prior to the meeting, thanking members for their work, asserting accessibility is a core value of the TTC.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

-Nil

3. Approval of Agenda

On motion by Howard Wax and seconded by Brayan Bratanov, ACAT reviewed and accepted the Agenda.

4. Presentation and Introduction of the 2014 ACAT Members

At the December 19, 2013 Board meeting, the Board appointed five new members, namely  Mazin Aribi, Karma Burkhar, Marian McDonell, Bobbi Moore, Angela Rebeiro. Also appointed were the 3 new pool members, namely Anna Barath, Jerry Borins, and Margaret Hageman

The new members introduced themselves and all were welcomed by ACAT.

5. Presentation to Bill Dawson

Angela Marley presented a retirement gift and best wishes to Bill Dawson, TTC Strategy and Service Planning, who is retiring in January, 2014.

6. Review and Approval of November 28, 2013 Minutes

On motion by Judy Berger and seconded by Susan Davidson, ACAT reviewed and accepted the Minutes with no amendments.

7. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items

Regarding the policy about short turning buses discussed at the previous meeting, Orest Kobylansky updated ACAT about the policy. Bus Transportation will forward the revised policy to the Service Planning Subcommittee for review and report to ACAT. 

In response to the request for feedback by Carla Basso in the November meeting, members gave positive reviews on the subway station descriptions launched on the TTC website Station Pages on November 28, 2013.  

The Committee reviewed the following Outstanding Items:

Item Station Pages: Completed and will be removed.

Item Fair Fare Issue: After discussion, members reached consensus to record the Fair Fares item as Completed and to add a new item dated Dec.20, 2013 I Tracking Reduced Fares Issue Response I Nov 28 Board instructed staff to pursue funding to offset costs I Ongoing.

Item Texting the Bus Stop Number For Next Vehicle Arrival: Completed.

Item Legends on Maps Over TR Train Doors: Carla Basso spoke with ACAT regarding this issue.

Within the TR train cars, there are subway maps above four of the doors. They were redesigned to accommodate the LED lights. The information that had previously been located around the station names was relocated to the legend on panels to either side of the map. The amount of information on the panels has resulted in a font that is too small to read, especially when sitting in a mobility device.

An earlier suggestion from the Communications Subcommittee was to use advertising space, which is poster-sized, for the legends. Staff investigated this possibility and determined that it was not possible at the moment. Staff are now looking into ways of redesigning the legend information and the map. Customer Communications will need to work with Vehicle Engineering on this matter. They will try to include the accessibility information on the map itself.

ACAT members suggested making the station name font blue on the map for accessible stations, applying an appliqué of the International Symbol of Access by accessible stations, or making the station LED blue. Carla Basso stated that they will look for a permanent solution, possibly reassessing the information to include on the legends.

Customer Communications is looking for suggestions and advice on simplifying the information on the side panels and deciding what needs to go onto maps. ACAT stated that they are looking for the simplest and most precise method of conveying information regarding accessible stations.

This item was referred to the Communications Subcommittee. Carla Basso will bring this discussion there.

ACAT thanked Carla Basso.

8. Deputation:

Nil

9. Overview Presentation – Strategic Partnerships

Provided by Anna Pace, Head of Strategic Partnerships - Engineering, Construction, and Expansion.

Strategic Partnerships was established in 2012 as the TTC department responsible for working with project teams and communities and liaise with local City Councillors and other stakeholders during building projects. They also work with City Planning and property owners affected by these TTC projects. Staff provide community relations and consultation, while working with communities throughout the project from the early planning stage to post completion. They provide technical information in plain language using info-graphics to explain complex concepts, using the TTC website and brochures, to help communities contribute to major projects and keep communication flowing between communities and project teams.

When the Pape Station elevators opened to the public, there was no fanfare, but it was a major accessibility improvement. They put an ad in community newspapers and want to do more. The TTC makes many improvements and few are visible. They want to promote more to show that people's money is making significant improvements to the system.

Anna Pace thanked ACAT for the opportunity to present.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

ACAT inquired as to when the second exit at Pape would be opening and was advised that it will be at the end of the year, waiting for City sign off.

ACAT asked if the department has tapped into communication via social media, such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. ACAT was informed that the department works closely with Brad Ross of TTC Corporate Communications who releases the information using various formats.

ACAT raised a suggestion that if there is construction, it would be good to let CNIB know so they can communicate to clients, maybe via electronic text. Anna Pace took this back.

ACAT asked how groups to speak with are chosen. Anna advised that they look to the communities around the stations. Local schools, business improvement, places of worship, libraries, and more.

ACAT asked if brochures are in accessible electronic format. Anna Pace will check to verify. Strategic Partnership staff work closely with Customer Communications and follow TTC standards.

ACAT indicated that graphics need to be conveyed in text to be accessible, and Anna Pace agreed.

ACAT raised a concern that the Second Exit project information has not come through ACAT, only the Easier Access project. The accessible routes around construction and sidewalk availability needs to be communicated. Anna Pace took this back.

ACAT inquired when a station is under construction, if there are staff available to assist people to get around. When a regular route is disrupted, it would be very difficult to navigate for a person who has a visual impairment.

ACAT was advised that temporary wayfinding is put up by Customer Communications during construction and staff in stations are expected to provide assistance when asked.

ACAT suggested that if a sidewalk is unavailable, post signage at the top of the block, not only at the blockage, so that people who cannot pass are not forced to double back and cross the street to the other side. ACAT was informed that, in almost all cases, the TTC will keep sidewalks open and accessible.

If people are approaching the station on a vehicle, such as a conventional bus, and an alternate route is taken, travellers need to know when they get off the bus that there is a deviation.

ACAT is a resource of knowledge and feedback, available for the department to tap into at any time.

Although there was a press release about Pape Station, the last three accessible stations have been opened without any fanfare. The more that the TTC can convey the accessible network, the better it is. ACAT can help with education, promotion, and advertisement, and participate in future openings.

This is a first step with ACAT. The department will work more with ACAT on communication and education.

10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Bill Castor, Chair

A meeting was held on December 4, 2013. Angela Marley chaired the meeting as Chair Bill Castor sent regrets.

Staff updated the Subcommittee on the plans to launch the Support Person Assistance Card program. This program takes effect on January 1, 2014, at which time customers with disabilities who require a support person will have a 3-month grace period to apply for a Support Person Assistance Card. Until the cards are issued, customers with disabilities who need a support person will be able to travel with a support person on a single fare without needing to show a card. Operators will accept their word that they require a support person. Starting on March 30, 2014, eligible customers will need to show their Support Person Assistance Cards. 

In early January, the TTC will begin to accept applications for Support Person Assistance Cards and hold photo sessions at specific dates and locations, in addition to the permanent photo ID locations available at Davisville and Sherbourne stations. TTC is not charging a fee for the Support Person Assistance Card. Customers can also mail passport photographs to the TTC along with the completed application forms, signed by a medical professional.

The Accessible Customer Service Policy was reviewed and updated to include the Support Person Assistance Card program. This policy is slated for a comprehensive review in 2014 in consultation with SPS. 

Staff provided an update on a new 5-year Accessibility Plan that will be produced in 2014. This multi-year plan will align with the TTC Five-Year Corporate Plan, the 2013 and 2014 Customer Charters, and other City documents, such as the Seniors Strategy. This Accessibility Plan includes measurable goals and objectives, the progress of which can be reported back to the Board on an annual basis.

All TTC accessibility initiatives and proposed improvements will be contained in this document, including the legislative background, the goals and objectives, the current accessibility status of the TTC’s stations and vehicle fleet, recent improvements, upcoming accessibility improvements, and Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) compliance across the TTC. ACAT's input is of particular importance for upcoming accessibility improvements, as Staff can incorporate ACAT's recommendations into budgets and planning. The goals fall into 4 broad categories: Stations and all TTC facilities, vehicles, Wheel-Trans service, and customer service initiatives.

Members’ feedback included integration of accessibility into conventional transit information, emphasizing that Wheel-Trans is part of TTC accessible service as opposed to being the accessible service that people with disabilities should use, educate Operators on the importance of following procedures, and educating transit users to be courteous to people needing to use accessible features.

Participation of ACAT members in the Operator Recertification sessions and at Bus Divisions was discussed. Members are working on the Talking Points for ACAT members to cover in these sessions as well as resource information about the issues riders with disabilities face when using conventional transit. This item will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting on February 5, 2014.

The Chair asked Orest Kobylansky to provide an update regarding ACAT involvement in accessibility education for Operators at the Bus Divisions.

Orest Kobylansky reported that TTC Bus Transportation managers have discussed about ACAT representatives going to Divisions and will work with the Service Planning Subcommittee. All Division Managers are prepared and will determine what would work best at each location, whether it would be a table, a room, a team, an agenda, etc. ACAT will need to identify representatives and get them to work with the Division Managers.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

ACAT asked as to how the Support Person Assistance Card will be promoted. The program starts in 2 weeks and it will take longer than that to tell everyone about the 3-month grace period and then to have them apply for and receive the card.

Staff explained that this is in the final phase and Customer Communications is working on it. There is flexibility with the grace period. If the public does not respond quickly, the timeline can be extended. The TTC will find a way to get word out to people who only travel on conventional, as well as to Wheel-Trans riders. Forms will be available online before January 1. The program will be advertised in newspapers in January 2014.

ACAT raised an issue, that after all of the discussions about fair fares and reduced fares for people in need, there is still the requirement for a health care professional to fill out the form for the Support Person Assistance Card, which often requires the rider to pay a fee. ACAT was informed that the TTC will not be charging a fee for the card itself, which they do charge for the Student and Senior cards. Photographs, if done by the TTC, will also be free. However, the TTC requires a way for a third party to determine eligibility. After lengthy discussion, the Staff and the Subcommittee decided this was the best method. It can be revisited if necessary. As well, the form specifies a health care professional, not necessarily a doctor. 

ACAT inquired if the Recertification program will be only through the Service Planning Subcommittee and was advised that the Subcommittee will be responsible for the program's structure and communication, though any ACAT member can participate.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

During the last month, the Subcommittee held two regular meetings and one working group.

December 4, 2013:

Staff presented a new "Mind the Gap" decal to be placed on the platforms at the five stations where large gaps are present due to track geometry. They will be placed approximately where the doors of the train will stop, only where the gap is widest, with extra decals on the trailing end in case the train stops early or late. The appearance and message of the decal mimics the decal already found on the train doors, so is familiar to customers. The Subcommittee supported the use of this decal.

The PRESTO Farecard Project Team brought in a mock-up of the Single Ride Vending Machine (SRVM) with all of the external components for Subcommittee review. The top of the machine is dominated by the touch screen. Directly below and in the centre is the keypad. To the right of the keypad are the coin slot and audio jack. Below the coin slot and audio jack is the debit/credit tap area. To the left of the keypad is the PRESTO card tap reader. Directly below the keypad is the tray to receive Proof of Purchase transfers, receipts and change.

The Subcommittee gave feedback. The major issues were the height of the tray, the angle of the keypad, and design of coin slot. The mock-up will come back for further review before construction of a prototype, at which time there will be a review of software

The Subcommittee reviewed the Outstanding Items List and discussed and demonstrated the completed station pages.

December 13, 2013:

The Subcommittee reviewed the Second Exit Project in general. Older stations require additional exits to meet current exit requirements. The project is designed to provide public use exits with stairs only. They are not intended to be an accessible component of these stations. Fourteen stations are to be upgraded. The six priority stations have been completed so far.

The Subcommittee received responses from Vehicle Engineering on the new streetcar review comments submitted in June. Staff categorized the responses into needing action or resolved. The Subcommittee reviewed the responses and sent back items that were not satisfactorily resolved.

During the June review, a number of features were not working, such as the audio and the ramp. Vehicle Engineering has committed to a second review once the new ramp is built, at which time, the Subcommittee can make comment on the previously non-functional features.

Staff provided an update on TTC Engineering responses to the Subcommittee's comments on streetcar platform accessibility, provided the previous month. Changes will be incorporated into the new streetcar platform standard. The Subcommittee agreed with the responses for many items, but still had issues with the ramp onto the platform as well as tactile indicators in the crosswalk and a stop indicator pole on the sidewalk. TTC Engineering will develop new standards and return to the Subcommittee for review.

For new construction, the updated standards will apply. For the retrofit of older platforms, capital funds will need to be sought after. When it comes back, the Subcommittee will need to take a stance. The platforms need to be safely accessible if streetcars are going to be accessible.

Staff provided an update on the Toronto Rocket train. The exterior door chime installation was approved in the 2014 budget. The Subcommittee requested a work schedule for completion.

Regarding the gap issue, a test has been underway for months where 7 train sets were lowered by half of an inch to reduce the vertical gap. The Subcommittee requested an assessment of the test and the next steps in relation to the test, if Vehicle Engineering will lower all trains or will Bombardier build them lower.

The following issues remain outstanding: Inter-car barriers, additional hand holds, announcement of exit directions, and display of announced emergency delays, which are currently audible but not visible.

December 18, 2013:

A working group, Debbie Gillespie and Craig Nicol, met with Accenture, PRESTO, and TTC to develop the SRVM audio script. This was the second iteration. When the script is nearly final, it will be converted to audio and brought to the Subcommittee as a whole for review.

The next meeting will be held on January 15, 2014.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

ACAT inquired if the new streetcar deployment will be delayed and was advised that the streetcars are currently expected to be deployed in Summer, 2014.

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

The last meeting was held on December 12, 2013.

There was an update on the Ombudsman's recommendation on the Questionable Rider Program. Two meetings were held to complete the public consultation requirement, with 260 attendees at the first meeting and 50 at the second. The program is now referred to as the Eligibility Review Program. Staff are compiling the final policy and will submit to the Ombudsman by the end of the year.

The Subcommittee discussed the Companion Policy. One person, regardless of whether they are a companion or a support person, can be booked at any time. If the rider has a Support Person Assistance Card, the two people can ride on one fare. If the rider does not have the card, the second person needs to pay a fare. Additional companions can be booked after 9:00 p.m. the day before and will pay fares. Dependents are unlimited and can be booked any time. For the ability to book online, Staff have prioritized website changes with ITS. Other changes include address changing and same day booking. Changes will be released by January 1, 2014.

Angela Marley has been gathering the dimensions of mobility device locations and turning radii to educate people riding in devices on conventional vehicles. Once this information is gathered, it will be posted online and provided in the Wheel-Trans newsletter.

Angela Marley found discrepancies in the posted locations of Wheel-Trans transfer points on subway station pages, trip booking, and the Wheel-Trans pages. Staff are reviewing to synchronize, after which time information will be available for customers and Operators to find and book stops consistently.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Debbie Gillespie, Chair

No meeting since last ACAT meeting.

11. Customer Liaison Panel Report

No meeting since last ACAT meeting.

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

On Thursday, November 7, 2013, the ACAT Executive met with TTC Chair Karen Stintz, Vice Chair Maureen Adamson, and CEO Andy Byford with TTC/ACAT Liaison Orest Kobylansky present. 

The Executive emphasized the need for ongoing accessibility education for all transit stakeholders and for the integration of accessibility information into TTC print and electronic communication, where applicable.

The Executive relayed feedback from ACAT members regarding Subway closures in October.  Accessibility information was integrated into the messages and members reported TTC staff were helpful to customers in finding their way. 

Updates on items discussed at the June 21 and August 15, 2013 Quarterly Meetings:
 
• Chair Stintz, ACAT Chair and Service Planning Subcommittee Chair, and Strategy and Service Planning Staff met on August 20, 2013 and reviewed the Public Forum format: Staff are working with SPS to provide an education component in the feedback sessions as well as researching options for a different venue. 
 
• ACAT members continue to participate in staff education, in the Operator Recertification sessions.

• Items that ACAT Subcommittees are working on include: WTOS and SPS providing advice regarding the Support Person protocol, the gap between the TR train and platform, CS members are giving feedback to Customer Communications staff re: developing the Priority Seating Education Campaign for transit riders and Operators, DRS continues to provide consultation regarding the accessibility of the PRESTO Farecard system as well as reviewing the accessibility features on the new vehicles and streetcar platforms, WTOS has reviewed the Ombudsman Report on Video Surveillance on Wheel-Trans vehicles and the Public consultation meetings.

• Re: TTC Fare Policy - Requests for Fare Discounts:  At the October ACAT meeting members voted unanimously to recommend the TTC Board explore government funding to offset the cost of providing reduced fares for recipients of ODSP. 

• The ACAT Executive members invited the TTC Chair and Vice Chair to attend an ACAT meeting.  Both were receptive, with Vice Chair Adamson confirming November and Chair Stintz confirming attending the December ACAT meeting.

Karen Stintz, TTC Chair, stated that the TTC has accessibility as a core value.

13. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

Meeting held on November 18 and continued on November 20, 2013:

The Board approval of the TTC Budget was reported at the November ACAT meeting.

TTC Fare Policy: Requests for Fare Discounts. For information, the Board received Deputations including those by Angela Marley, ACAT Chair, and Sam Savona as a private citizen, both advocating for reduced fares for people with disabilities who are recipients of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). The Board accepted the TTC Staff Report and passed a motion "that the TTC request that the Provincial and Federal Governments consider providing financial support and/or incentives for TTC Metropass purchases by seniors and ODSP/OWP recipients."

Eliminating Fares for Support Persons Travelling with a Person with Disabilities, AODA Legislative Requirement: The Board approved implementation of this program developed by Staff and are asking the Province for clearer definitions and processes as well as funding to implement this provincial legislation.

Received two correspondence items from Angela Marley, ACAT Chair, forwarding the approved Minutes of the ACAT September 26, 2013 General Meeting and regarding fare discounts for persons with disabilities who are recipients of ODSP.

Regarding the Eglinton West Interchange stations, preliminary design concepts were presented to the Board. The purpose of the proposed design is to permit fast and easy transfers between the transit modes, with no need for backtracking or circuitous movements.

Meeting held Thursday, December 19, 2013.

The Board covered the following:

• The appointment of new members to ACAT
• The acknowledgement of retired members of ACAT
• PRESTO implementation presentation, but it lacked accessibility information
• ACAT Matters in Chief Executive Officer Report, December 13, 2013
• Planning and Consultation process for New Second Exits
• TTC App Contest, and
• ACAT approved Minutes received by the Board.

All full reports are available on the TTC website.

14. Review of Correspondence

  • Response Re: Internet Voting Consultation (sent electronically to members)
  • Letter from Angela Marley to the Board Re: TTC Fare Policy, received at the November 18, 2013 Board Meeting (sent electronically to members)

15. Other Items / New Business

Adam Cohoon said goodbye to the Committee.

Sam Savona thanked the ACAT Executive and ACAT members.

16. Selection for 2014 Subcommittee Membership

Following the election of the ACAT Executive, an email will be sent to members asking for submission of their desired Subcommittees. Members will be asked to respond with requests and reasons for these requests. The Agenda Review Group will review and ensure all positions are filled.

17. 2014 ACAT Meeting Dates

2014 meeting dates are included with the meeting package.

18. ACAT Executive Nominations – January 16, 2014

A closed in-camera meeting will be held on January 16, 2014 to hold the election of ACAT Chair and two Vice Chairs.

19. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, January 30, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

20. Adjournment

Angela Marley and the Executive thanked all ACAT members for their support and involvement, and especially thanked the Chairs of the Subcommittees and TTC Staff.

On motion by Brayan Bratanov and seconded by Sam Savona, the meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

Janet Wright
Recording Secretary

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