ACAT Meeting - February 27, 2014
Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.
- Susan Davidson, Chair
- Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair
- Mazin Aribi, Co-Vice Chair
- Sarah Adams
- Karma Burkhar
- Angela Marley
- Lynn McCormick
- Marian McDonell
- Bobbi Moore
- Craig Nicol
- Angela Rebeiro
- Sam Savona
- Anna Barath
- Jerry Borins
- Margaret Hageman
- Jaspreet Dhaliwal
- Maria Augimeri, TTC Chair
- Kirsten Watson
- Jacqueline Darwood
- Matt Hagg
- Ross Visconti
- 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
Susan Davidson, Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. The Committee welcomed Maria Augimeri the new TTC Board Chair. Chair Augimeri briefly spoke about accessibility issues and advised the committee that she was looking forward to working with them, and thanked them for their hard work.
Attendance was taken.
2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest – Nil
3. Approval of Agenda
On motion by Tim Rose and seconded by Bobbi Moore, the Committee reviewed and accepted the Agenda with the following revisions:
- The Time-Based transfer item will be discussed when Bob Hughes arrives at 2:15 p.m.
- The addition of the Customer Liaison Panel Report as Item 9
4. Remarks from ACAT Chair Raymond Dell’Aera
The report was taken to the January 2014 Board meeting in response to a request to look at the costs and benefits of switching to such a system. The report identified that many other jurisdictions have time-based transfers of either 90 or 120 minutes. For some trips, this is effectively a day pass, as travellers can get on and off any vehicle, and return before the transfer expires. This transfer system is believed to be of customer benefit, as it allows flexibility and gives more value in the one fare. There are also benefits for Operators, Collectors, and Transit Enforcement, as the date and time will be clearly printed and they will not need to make a judgement call to determine if the customer made a continuous journey. A defined time period would reduce conflicts and debates about the validity of the transfer.
Staff will bring the final report to the Board before the July 2014 meeting, with a detailed business case, and to get direction. No decisions have been made at this point.
Questions and Comments from the Committee:
Sam Savona commented that the 120-minute window cannot apply to WT customers because they do not have the flexibility to hop on or hop off within the proposed 120 minute window. If there is a fare increase to compensate for the time-based transfers, this will mean that Wheel-Trans riders will need to pay more for something that they cannot use.
Bob Hughes will take this into account for the business case, and explained that the Staff position is to have an offsetting subsidy and not to raise fares. Staff will analyze the impact to Wheel-Trans riders and bring the results to ACAT and the Customer Liaison Panel for feedback.
Judy Berger asked if Staff have looked at how many more riders would be required to compensate for the budget impact and the estimates of increased ridership.
Bob Hughes explained that there has been an analysis of the impact on time based transfers. It was estimated that the loss will be approximately 25 million dollars in revenue associated with time-based transfers. In order to offset the losses, it is estimated that there would need to be a 4.5% increase in ridership.
Sarah Adams commented that even a 2-hour window will not cover people taking very long one-way trips. All other properties that are time-based are smaller and fully accessible and integrated. People who need an accessible route may need to take the long way around the inaccessible subway stations, which can be an issue with the time-based transfer. Bob Hughes will take this comment back.
Craig Nicol commented that the current TTC system is not yet advanced to the point of making the change to time-based transfers, as the system is not fully accessible and 120 minutes may not be enough, much less 90-minute trips. This may be impossible for some travellers. There will also be a greater potential for fraud. However, once the PRESTO system is in place, the time-based transfers will be easier to implement.
Bob Hughes explained that the 2-hour window is the focus. Regarding fare evasion, the current transfer has a roughly 5% evasion rate, with 7-8 million rides lost as a result, equalling $14-15 million dollars. There may be benefits of reduced fraud with the time stamped transfers. Regarding PRESTO, when someone taps the reader, the system determines if a transfer is valid or not, which is a very complex program. The way to get around that is through programming to identify transactions that are invalid, like reboarding the same vehicle. PRESTO is already time-based, which increases the pressure for the TTC to move to time-based. Staff will be looking in depth at the risk of fraud and the risk of moving to PRESTO.
Sarah Adams commented that there is an advantage to going to a time-based system to avoid challenges to convoluted transfer routes. There will be less judgement required on the part of Collectors and Operators.
The Committee thanked Bob Hughes for his presentation.
5. Review and Approval of January 30, 2014 Minutes
On motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Craig Nicol, ACAT reviewed and accepted the Minutes with the following amendments:
- Page 3, Item 2, line 4: revise "spot on the selection" to "spot with the selection"
- Page 3, Item 5, line 3: revise "they are not aware of" to "they think of as not appropriate in the circumstances"
- Page 6, paragraph 3, line 3: revise "and angles on the machines" to "and angle of the keypad"
- Page 8, Item 17 under City of Toronto Disability Issues Committee Meeting, second line: revise "Toronto stops" to "transit stops"
- Page 8, under City of Toronto Disability Issues Committee Meeting, eighth line: revise "and entry doors in the third car" to "and entry through the second door"
6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items
Sam Savona asked if anything has been done regarding the Committee's recommendations about Staff reports. The concern arose at the January 30, 2014 ACAT General meeting that there were times when Staff neglected to bring a matter that properly would come before the Committee. The Committee suggested adding a section to the report template for "Accessibility Matters," to ensure that potential accessibility issues are addressed. If there is an issue, then the report would come to ACAT. If there are no accessibility concerns, this section could be filled in as “Not Applicable”, in which case the report would not come before ACAT.
Ross Visconti explained that Kevin Lee, from Commission Services, is looking into this. No motion is required. The item will be placed on the Outstanding Items List. Susan Davidson will speak with Ross Visconti and Kevin Lee.
The following Outstanding Item was updated:
Item Dec 13, 2012 Accessibility at Bus Bays: This item was discussed at the last DRS meeting. Engineering will take the Subcommittee's suggestions to consider options.
Robert Muzzy - Requested that a Modification be made to the Wheel-Trans Late Cancellation Policy.
Staff will take this deputation as well as other discussions with ACAT into consideration when reviewing the Cancellation Policy.
Valerie Heaselgrave - Not present.
Helena Burnstein - Spoke regarding Door-to-Door Wheel-Trans Service and made a number of recommendations
Questions and Comments from the Subcommittee
Marian McDonell asked if this item specifically concerned same day bookings on internet.
Helena Burnstein stated yes. She added that when calling in, customers can refuse the ride.
The items and recommendations were referred to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee. Helena Burnstein thanked the Committee.
8. Announcement of 2018 Subcommittee Membership
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Angela Rebeiro, Chair
February 21, 2014
Angela Rebeiro was acclaimed as the 2014 Subcommittee Chair.
There were three topics discussed at some length at the meeting.
Mitigating the Impact of Accessible Service During Major Elevator Repairs at Subway Stations.
In arriving at some possible solutions, examples of the recent St. George Station elevator repairs and those at the Main Street Station were discussed. While the members of the Subcommittee acknowledged that these repairs over extended periods of time can be disruptive, especially for seniors and people with disabilities, members recommended that the TTC try giving at least two months’ notice when an elevator will be out of service, and updates as start and completion dates might change.
Accessible streetcar routes addressed the rollout of the new streetcars at a rate of three per month and that they will replace existing streetcars one for one. A route will not be advertised as being accessible until it has a critical mass of new streetcars.
In the meantime, there arise issues of how to inform people about timing for the accessible streetcars on the route, and how to fit them into a schedule that might give a sense of a particular time to expect the accessible streetcar.
The Subcommittee recommended examples include providing accessibility information in the texting features for Next Bus arrivals. The members also asked about the applications on smart phones that provide vehicle locations and the possibility of providing accessibility information. The Subcommittee's position was that vehicles should be used as they become available provided there is effective communication.
Streetcar stop locations placement guidelines intend to address the TTC's competing priorities. Stops need to be within walking distance of customers, with special consideration to accessibility and the aging population. The other side of the coin is that more stops mean slower travel times. The guidelines proposed that the stops would be between 300 and 400 metres apart and that they would be located at traffic signals and pedestrian crosswalks. The Subcommittee recommended that consideration be also given to stops outside hospitals, community centres, and seniors residences.
Next meeting: March 5, 2014.
Questions from the Committee
Sam Savona raised a concern about the rollout of the new streetcar. When the accessible buses were first coming out, ACAT made the point that the route will not be denoted as accessible until all of the vehicles running on it are accessible. The same should be done for the streetcars to ensure that customers are not stranded at stops when they believe that they will be able to board the next streetcar.
Staff explained that they left the Service Planning Subcommittee meeting with the position that ACAT would support the designation of the route as accessible so long as there is clear communication to customers how many accessible vehicles are on the route. The other option was to not designate the route as accessible until all of the vehicles on the route are accessible.
The Committee discussed ACAT's procedures that the Subcommittee would make the recommendation to the Committee, which would then be given to Staff. The Committee then discussed the issue of when to designate the routes as accessible, that knowing some of the vehicles are accessible will not help someone waiting at a stop when the next vehicle is several cars behind.
The Committee referred this item to New Business for further deliberation.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair
February 7, 2014
Working group meeting with Craig Nicol, Debbie Gillespie, Accenture, TTC, and PRESTO to continue work on the audio scripts for the Add Value and Single Ride Vending Machines. They are at the point of waiting for conversion to audio on operational prototypes to test the scripts.
February 21, 2014
Craig Nicol was elected as the 2014 Subcommittee Chair.
The Subcommittee received a presentation on preliminary designs for Eglinton Crosstown stations at Eglinton West and Eglinton-Yonge. The TTC will be the operator of the line, a private consortium will do the design, construction, finance, and ongoing maintenance. The final design will need ACAT and Board review and acceptance.
The Eglinton West design presented was substantially the same as that seen by the Subcommittee before Metrolinx involvement. An additional elevator will be installed at the entrance to the new LRT concourse on the east side of Allen Road, although this was not reflected in the presentation.
The Eglinton-Yonge design was very preliminary. The Subcommittee commented and requested information on corridor benches, LRT platform width, and elevators at the east entrance of Eglinton West Station.
The Platform Gap survey of the YUS Line is well underway with staff expecting to report to the Subcommittee in March or April. This survey was launched in 2013 as part of the Subcommittee's intensive approach to the horizontal and vertical gap issue. Another approach was to look at Rocket Train levelling, which is currently with Vehicle Engineering. The Subcommittee recommended that during station upgrades, platforms be brought up to current TTC standards.
Regarding the ACAT Outstanding Item on Accessibility At Bus Bays, the Subcommittee recommended installing markings for priority loading of persons using mobility devices and a rider education campaign about priority boarding. Engineering will study what signage can be installed and report back. Information and education on priority boarding was referred to the Communications Subcommittee.
The Outstanding Item List was updated.
Next meeting: March 5, 2014.
Questions from the Committee
Marian McDonell asked if there were issues with Metrolinx's designs being incompatible with TTC accessibility standards. Metrolinx is responsible for a design that is compliant with building codes and the TTC will request certain standards. Though there are some variations between Metrolinx and TTC standards, these will be brought into line for the interchange stations, which are the only stations over which the TTC has any authority. This alignment is in the master agreement.
Sarah Adams asked if the platform measurement will include the new stations being built up to York University. Those stations will be designed to the current TTC standards, which are far more stringent than the standards in place when the first subway stations were built in the 1950s.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Lynn McCormick, Chair
February 13, 2014
Lynn McCormick was elected as the 2014 Subcommittee Chair.
Thomas Hartley presented the two recommendations from the Auditor General's Report. The first recommendation was to initiate a photo identification card for riders to prevent picking up the wrong person and help to discourage fraud. A long discussion came to the conclusion that there were more disadvantages than advantages. The list of reasons includes the necessity of card renewals, that drivers would not ask to see them anyway, and that someone with a Metropass, Support Person Assistance Card, and photo card would need to carry all three, which could be quite challenging for persons with limited hand dexterity.
The second recommendation was to develop a policy to discourage late cancellations and no shows for Wheel-Trans application interviews. Currently, staff calls applicants the day before to confirm the interview. Missed interviews cost $12 each, more if they booked a Wheel-Trans trip to get there. Over a year, the cost adds to several thousand dollars. If the same person cancels late or does not show up more than twice, staff can limit or postpone their ability to apply again. The Subcommittee recommended providing clear information to applicants about how to cancel and the cost to the TTC of missed appointments, and posting this information on the TTC website.
The next discussion was about changing Wheel-Trans addresses online. The Subcommittee went through a mock up of the screens and discussed the process. The screens look similar to the current set up. Currently, registrants must call Reservations to add addresses to their Favourites List. By the end of June 2014, registrants will be able to add their own. As well, the term "escorts" does not fit AODA terminology. Staff will work with the TTC ITS Department to change this on the website.
Also discussed was the proposed signage on Wheel-Trans buses about scent awareness. A customer recently approached staff about scent sensitivity and recommended posting signage to make customers aware of others who might be sensitive and allowing customers to deboard when having a reaction. They discussed the campaign of posting signage, which is also in the AODA environment standards, and discussed allowing customers to deboard when necessary,..
Late cancellation calls and automated late cancellation reminders were discussed. Currently, the computer system is able to send out telephone calls for repeated occurrences of late cancellations. Staff asked for suggestions on when to make these calls. The Subcommittee also suggested an online listing of late cancellations so people can check them without calling in. If they see one they can dispute, they can call it in. Snow days will also be listed. Reservationists and the online booking system will also remind them about their current number of cancellations.
Questions from the Committee
Angela Marley asked for clarification on the late cancellation automatic call out. This is not currently in place. The Subcommittee discussed the possibility, but there was no decision. There will be continuing discussions as the TTC updates their website, and recommendations will be brought to the Committee.
Communications Subcommittee (CS)
No meeting since last ACAT meeting.
9. Training Department – Bus Recertification Sessions
On invitation to CLP members, Angela Marley attended the launch of the 2014 Customer Charter by Chair Karen Stintz and CEO Andy Byford on February 14, 2014 at Bloor-Yonge Station. This extension of the TTC Five-Year Corporate Plan, the Customer Charter is the customer focused action items that form initiatives to work on, toward achieving the TTC vision, “a transit system that makes Toronto proud.”
Accessibility information is integrated into the 2014 Charter as well as given focus in Accessibility sections. The Our Commitment section states, “We know that the accessibility of our service is the difference between being able to travel or not for many of our customers. We will make sure that the ramps and stop announcements on our vehicles are working properly.” The Responsive - Better Accessibility section includes improvements to Wheel-Trans customer service by hiring additional staff to handle customer calls, a Wheel-Trans customer satisfaction survey and implementation of the Support Person Assistance Card Program. Accessible and Modern – Better Accessibility section highlights the planned Subway Station Easier Access III projects. ACAT members were encouraged to review the Charter on the TTC web site.
The Customer Liaison Panel meeting was held on February 19, 2014 chaired by Chris Upfold, TTC Chief Customer Service Officer. The Chair and Panel members thanked Tim Rose, 2013 ACAT Representative, for his contributions and welcomed Angela Marley, 2014 ACAT Representative on the Panel. Mr. Upfold introduced Sue Motahedin, Head, TTC Customer Service Centre, who recently started in this position.
Mr. Upfold presented the Customer Satisfaction Survey - 2013 Results, which is on the TTC website. He informed members of the plan to conduct a survey of Wheel-Trans customers in 2014 regarding their satisfaction with service.
The Panel reviewed the work in 2013 and the 2014 look forward. Members requested more opportunities to give input at meetings by placing the Observations item earlier on the agenda, to review customer complaints statistics and to work on assignments in between meetings.
The meetings will continue to be closed. The next meeting is March 19, 2014.
Questions and Comments from the Committee
Sarah Adams commented that the Charter talks about mobility devices, but includes little about tactile signage and other features for people with visual impairments; in particular, the wording of, "Make the TTC accessible regardless of mobility," without including other disabilities.
Craig Nicol pointed out that the Charter does include an item about stop announcements. Angela Marley explained that the Charter is focused on measurable and observable items, but that ACAT will need to be vigilant to ensure nothing is overlooked.
10. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters
Given by Susan Davidson, Chair.
The TTC Board meeting was held on February 24, 2014. It was chaired by the new TTC Chair, Maria Augimeri. She expressed an interest in attending the February ACAT meeting.
Chris Upfold, Chief Customer Officer, reviewed the Customer Satisfaction Survey. The survey set out the results for the preceding eight quarters, covering the period from January 2012 to December 2013. The survey consisted of a 10-minute telephone survey of 1,000 respondents for each quarter. The respondents were City of Toronto residents from 13 to 70 years of age who used the TTC at least once every few weeks or more often.
The Survey did not include any Wheel-Trans riders and Mr. Upfold indicated that they plan to conduct a separate survey of Wheel-Trans customers' satisfaction.
It is the intent of senior administration to continue to conduct the Customer Satisfaction Survey in 2014. It is further their intention to update key measures in the CEO report on a quarterly basis and to report back to the Board twice a year. Moreover, they are committed to determine options for understanding perceptions of the non-TTC individuals.
The Board accepted the report, Staff Response to the Auditor General's Report – Review of Wheel-Trans Services – Sustaining Level and Quality of Service Requires Changes to the Program. The Board received the Auditor General's Report at the December 2012 meeting. As advised by the Auditor General, Wheel-Trans staff consulted with ACAT in developing the response to the recommendations.
The Board received as correspondence from Susan Davidson, ACAT Chair, the approved minutes of the ACAT December 20, 2013 General meeting.
A 2014 schedule has been planned for the Quarterly meetings between the ACAT Executive and TTC Chair. The meeting dates are April 10, August 14, and December 4, 2014.
Comments and Questions from the Committee
Mazin Aribi, Co Vice-Chair, brought forward an observation that there had been a report regarding bus warranties when they come into TTC service. He asked if there is a separate warranty or consideration for the accessibility features of the buses, such as lifts and ramps, and if the malfunctioning of these features is tracked and analyzed to determine if there are defaults or faults.
Orest Kobylansky, Head of Bus Transportation, explained that the warranties on new vehicles can vary, with components having separate warranties between two and three years. Regarding the statistics, Operations does have a work order system that tracks this. They can pull out repeaters, buses with continuous issues, and track the failure rates. Engineering solutions have been developed to address some of the common issues. For example, to ensure the ramps are working, Operations instituted an aggressive circle check and process to exercise the ramps regularly, with a 90% compliance rate. Mazin Aribi asked to have the vehicle statistics included in the survey report.
Judy Berger asked if the statistics can be analyzed in relation to the bus vintage, in case there was a flaw in the production during a certain time period. Orest Kobylansky explained that they do have statistics per series of fleets.
11. Review of Correspondence
12. Other Items / New Business
- Marian McDonell brought forward the issue that there are gaps in the Hillcrest Recertification schedule and encouraged ACAT members to sign up for one or two sessions. This gives drivers the opportunity to meet directly with people who require accessible transit and ask pertinent questions that apply to them, which then affects customers. Members can ask for support or attend a session with Marian McDonell to see the process.
- Bobbi Moore brought forward the concern that the production of the Support Person Assistance Cards may be delayed. Staff explained that there had been an update the morning of the meeting which stated that the timelines are on target to implement the cards on March 30, 2014. It is their understanding, though, that applications mailed in or handed in with passport photos have not been processed, but will be done in March.
- Angela Rebeiro suggested that ACAT write a letter of congratulations to the TTC who contributed to making the United Way campaign so successful at the TTC last year. After discussing the matter, Angela withdrew her suggestion.
- The Committee discussed the recommendation made by the Service Planning Subcommittee about when to start using the accessible features on the new streetcars. The streetcars will be deployed at a rate of three per month, leading to a period of mixed fleets on streetcar routes. During this transition, if a person who requires the ramp boards somewhere and gets off elsewhere, they may need to wait for several vehicles to go by before another accessible streetcar comes. Staff brought two proposals to SPS: to use the accessible features with the advisory that customers may need to wait for a long time for their return trip; or to not use the features until the route is fully accessible and declared as such, preventing anyone from getting stranded.
There was some confusion over the proposal, clarified by Staff. The suggestion was not to designate the route as accessible when only a few of the vehicles are accessible, only to make the features available.
After discussion, the Committee consensus was to use the accessible features on the new streetcars as soon as they are deployed, with the following requirements: to use them at accessible stops; to ensure communication of the number of accessible vehicles on the route, and that customers may need to wait longer for an accessible vehicle for their return trip; and to only declare the route accessible when 100% of the streetcars on the route are accessible. The Committee suggested methods of communicating the number of accessible vehicles, including Next Bus texting, the website, and screens in the stations. This item was referred to SPS for further discussion and clarification.
- Angela Marley suggested ACAT commend Wheel-Trans Operators on their attention to detail to ensure customers gain access to their drop off locations during the very cold weather experienced this winter. This commendation could also serve to remind drivers of the need to accompany customers to the door. Sarah Adams also commented that an assistance policy must be solidified and communication between Wheel-Trans, drivers, and customers enhanced to ensure that everyone is getting the assistance they require. This discussion was referred to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.
- Mazin Aribi brought forward the suggestion of putting ACAT Meeting highlights online in the same manner that Board meeting highlights can be found. This would include the activities, accomplishments, and decisions. The advantages are that the public can see what ACAT is doing and view the results, they can be a tool for the ACAT Executive when meeting with the TTC Chair, and they can be brought to the Public Forum. This item was placed on the Agenda for the next meeting and the Agenda Review group will discuss.
13. Next Meeting
The meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.