ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, March 27, 2014
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:276
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

  • Debbie Gillespie, Chair
  • Angela Marley, Co-Vice Chair
  • Raymond Dell’Aera, Co-Vice Chair
  • Louise Bark
  • Mary Burton
  • Joan Jordan
  • Margaret Hageman
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Desrianne McIlwrick
  • Craig Nicol
  • Lauri Sue Robertson
  • Thomas Richardson
  • Valdo Tammark
  • Howard Wax

Pool Members

  • Anita Dressler
  • Jessica Geboers
  • Igor Samardzic

Regrets

  • Jaspreet Dhaliwal

TTC Representatives

  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Ricardo Couto, Division Manager, Streetcar
  • Mark Mis, (Acting) Manager – Service Planning

Copies

  • Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer
  • Richard Leary, Chief Service Officer, Service Delivery
  • Chris Upfold, Deputy CEO & Chief Customer Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Deputy Chief Service Officer, Service Delivery
  • Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
  • Vince Rodo, Chief Financial & Administration Officer
  • Brad Ross, Executive Director - Corporate Communications
  • Mike Palmer, (Acting) Chief Operating Officer
  • Jacqueline Darwood, Head of Strategy & Service Planning
  • Cheryn Thoun, Head of Customer Communications
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Susan Davidson, Chair, called the meeting to order at 12:56 p.m. Attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

On motion by Bill Castor and seconded by Angela Marley, the Committee reviewed and accepted the Agenda with the following revisions:

  • List of enclosures amended to reflect the documents that were sent to the Committee members, which  did not include items 4, 5, 6, 7, and 10. Note that discussion of items 9 and 10, Design Review Subcommittee motions, were deferred to the April ACAT meeting.

4. Review and Approval of February 27, 2014 Minutes

On motion by Sam Savona and seconded by Bill Castor, the Committee reviewed and accepted the Minutes with the following revisions:

  • Page 3, Item 4: The sentence beginning "Sam Savona commented that ..." will be amended to, "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."
  • Page 4, Item 4: The paragraph beginning "Bob Hughes explained that there has been an analysis ..." will be amended to, "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."
  • Page 12, Item 12, Point F: amend "Open House" to "Public Forum."

The Committee discussed how to reflect re-numbering of Agenda items in the Minutes. The consensus was to retain the item numbering as listed in the Agenda.

5. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items

Regarding the Outstanding Item about the gap between subway trains and platforms, Craig Nicol reported that the Design Review Subcommittee has received information from TTC Rail Vehicle Engineering. All Rocket Trains have been lowered a half-inch and will arrive lowered, which will help to alleviate the vertical gap. This is as far as they can go with modifications to the trains themselves. The Subcommittee is still awaiting a report on platform alignment with the rails. There will be more to report in April.

Regarding the Outstanding Item, "Jan 30, 2014, Accommodating Members at Board Meetings, specifically attendant care," Andy Byford sent a memo to ACAT that addresses this item, which he indicated will be provided. This item is completed.

6. Deputation: Nil

Nil.

7. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

The most recent meeting of the Subcommittee was on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

The two important issues discussed were planning for the 2014 Public Forum on Accessible Transit and the People in Motion Show.

Mary Leo-Oliver, TTC Manager of Special Events, attended the meeting to discuss both the 2014 Public Forum, which will be held on September 17, 2014 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., and the People in Motion Show to be held June 6 and 7, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., both days.

Subcommittee members were advised by Ms. Leo-Oliver that the TTC would have an accessible vehicle indoors at the People in Motion Show, and across the aisle from the vehicle will be the ACAT and Wheel-Trans booths. There might also be educational sessions for specific topics, to be determined by the Strategy and Service Planning department.

The Subcommittee recommended having staff at the vehicle to answer questions, and that they be up-to-date with TTC policy and procedures, as well, for them to be engaging and supportive to individuals who have not ridden on the TTC. There will also be information available on how the bus connects with the rest of the accessible conventional transit system.

The Public Forum will again be held at the Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place. Ms. Leo-Oliver reported that the TTC examined to see if there was another possible venue, but this is still the best venue at this time. Her department will be looking at possibilities for mitigating the acoustic problem with the venue, and has reviewed other major events across the City at that time to ensure that there would not be any conflicts.

The programme will include an informational "market place" that the Subcommittee had concerns about, as some ACAT members felt it did not work very well last year. Members, therefore, had a number of suggestions for improving the effectiveness of such a programme. The list included:

  • Not referring to "market place" in public materials,
  • Consider the intended target audience and refine information for its participants,
  • Ensure font size on signs and banners is easily visible from across the room, and more.

Next meeting: April 2, 2014.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Bill Castor commented that one idea for increasing attendance at the Public Forum had been to hold a program earlier in the day, for those people who require attendant care who are not available in the evening. Angela Rebeiro explained that the Subcommittee had discussed this and opted to use the People in Motion Show for targeted educational sessions, with content determined by current issues, and opportunities for one-on-one interaction with TTC staff. This will address the issue of having educational sessions during the day for customers who need to bring attendants.

Sam Savona commented that the issue at the 2013 Public Forum, of the ACAT Chair sitting behind a curtain apart from the panel on stage, must not happen again. Angela Rebeiro assured that the Subcommittee has discussed this and that this will not happen again.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

The Subcommittee held two meetings in March.

March 5, 2014

TTC staff reviewed design issues for mid-road streetcar platforms in preparation of an updated standard for all new streetcar platforms. Staff asked for further input regarding the ramp between platform and crosswalk, and tactile (truncated dome) strip at the bottom of the ramp and as close to the crosswalk as possible. The Subcommittee advised Engineering and Construction to follow recognized standards for curb ramps which detail slope and tactile warning placement. The Subcommittee stated that snow clearance, both on the platform and next to the edge, will be critical for accessibility.

They requested a report on how the TTC removes snow and the clearance schedule. The Subcommittee also discussed motions relating to accessible pedestrian signals and zebra crossings, to ask the City to install these at platforms.

The Subcommittee reviewed Rail Vehicle Engineering's (RVE) responses to feedback from the Subcommittee on several issues which remain outstanding in the new streetcar review. Items of concern relate to the accessible ramp, vehicle stop warnings on door opening, non-functional (at last demonstration) audio announcements, and door open cues, etc. RVE indicated that the next opportunity for review would be close to the vehicles entering service. The question was posed as to whether it makes sense or is the intent of RVE to modify the prototypes for the next review or to review the first production vehicle.

If the intent is to view a production vehicle, what is the delivery date of the first vehicle? The Subcommittee expressed concern about the ability to make changes to the vehicle before it goes into service.

Staff presented additional information from TTC Elevating Devices in response to the Subcommittee query regarding reasons for elevator door failures and support equipment failures. Further review of these issues with design and elevator maintenance is anticipated to find out why issues occur and other procedures to implement to avoid breakdowns.March 19, 2014

The Subcommittee received a presentation regarding the Eglinton Crosstown station at Kennedy. The design was very preliminary at 5% and the Subcommittee expressed dissatisfaction with the design, particularly relating to the ramps and doors in the connecting passages between the Eglinton Crosstown and Bloor Danforth stations, and the lack of redundancy in the elevators to both platforms. Members made several suggestions about a substantial redesign. The Subcommittee made clear points of what is required for accessible connections between the two lines. As the design is at 5%, it is subject to change and the final design may not resemble the design reviewed by the Subcommittee.

The Subcommittee reviewed RVE responses to issues with the Rocket Trains. The Subcommittee is pleased to report that on the matter of the vertical gap (levelling), all Rocket Trains have been lowered by one-half inch, bringing the floor-to-platform differential to a moreacceptable tolerance. On the exterior door chime issue, RVE is putting together a work plan to install chimes on all Rocket Trains. The Subcommittee requested a schedule, and continues to follow up on intercar barriers, additional handholds, etc.

At the March 5 meeting, the Subcommittee discussed motions to ACAT relating to zebra crossing markings and accessible pedestrian signals at all crosswalks leading to mid-road streetcar platforms. The intention was to bring these motions to ACAT on March 27, 2014; however at the March 19 meeting, Staff advised that City staff wished to address accessible pedestrian signals at the April 2 meeting and it was agreed to defer the motions.

Next meeting: April 2, 2014.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Mazin Aribi requested further information about the proposed walkways between the Crosstown and subway stations at Kennedy. The slope of the walkways was 1:12, with uncertainty if they would be able to meet that, and the walkways were long enough to require landings.

Sam Savona commented that City Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker at the Board meeting was concerned about the design and would likely be interested in hearing the Subcommittee's comments on the lack of accessibility.

The Committee discussed their concerns that the design would not be changed and Craig Nicol elaborated that the reviewed design was at 5%, and that the station will be designed by a contractor hired by Metrolinx to design, build, and maintain for thirty years, not by the TTC. The Subcommittee pointed out the elements that make the design unsatisfactory for accessibility reasons, and TTC staff are now aware.

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

No meeting since last ACAT meeting.

Next Meeting: April 9, 2014.

Communications Subcommittee (CS)

No meeting since last ACAT meeting.

Next meeting: March 28, 2014.

8. Customer Liaison Panel Report

Angela Marley reported that the Panel met on March 19, 2014 at Metrolinx, 97 Front Street West and was chaired by Chris Upfold.

Two items were discussed. Members gave feedback on the pilot project of new signage at Bloor-Yonge Station. There was interest in accessibility feedback and the project team would appreciate comments from other ACAT members. This pilot will continue into June, and reflects the change in identifying lines by number. Line 1 YUS may in the future be referred to as Line 1. The stripe along the bottoms of signage were replaced by a coloured circle with the line number inside. Ian Dickson, TTC Wayfinding & Signage, presented a new system of wayfinding in 2013 and attended the Panel to receive feedback.

The second item was a presentation on streetcar stops, consolidating for 300 to 400 metres apart. Member observations item was deferred.

Next meeting: April 16, 2014. Meetings continue to not be open to public.

9. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

Given by Susan Davidson, Chair.

Very few accessibility matters were raised.

The January 28, 2014 meeting minutes had mentioned the issues of improving pedestrian safety, journey times, transit stops, and pedestrian entrances to subway stations. These were deferred for presentation at the April meeting. The Board received a presentation by a group of seniors from Scarborough who were advocating for a Community Bus in their area to take them to the hospital, medical centres, and malls.

Comments and Questions from the Committee

Mazin Aribi added to the point about the community buses. One Councillor mentioned that he knew of twelve other requests for buses in certain areas and these had been referred to staff to determine feasibility. Staff did provide a report on community buses and the recommendation was not to create another community bus route. According to the report, routes are not being utilized. A possible reason for this is that the rationale for creating them is different from when they were first created in the early 1990s. Conventional bus routes are now accessible and more subway stations are accessible. Staff will come up with another report to reflect this and ACAT should be involved with the assessment.

Staff noted that community bus ridership statistics and the issues surrounding the utilization of current community bus routes were discussed with the Service Planning Subcommittee in 2013.

Mazin Aribi commented that better statistics are needed for how and when the community buses are used, and by whom. Mr. Alan Yule had raised the point at the Board meeting that the community buses look like Wheel-Trans buses and non-Wheel-Trans registrants may hesitate to use them. The suggestion was to change the appearance of the bus. The other rationale was to link communities with community and medical centres, and hospitals, for those who are not eligible for Wheel-Trans, but may not be able to ride conventional transit.

Sam Savona reminded the Committee that the community bus was also intended for people who cannot get to a bus stop or the subway. Although able-bodied people can use it, that was not why it was established. When an accessible system was put in place, the community bus would become a redundant service. Additionally, if this service is put in place, customers will want it all the time, which would impair attempts to encourage Wheel-Trans riders to use the conventional transit service.

Staff will be performing a review of community buses and the integration of Wheel-Trans and conventional transit. They will return to the Service Planning Subcommittee for discussion. 

Craig Nicol commented on the discussion about stop rationalization, where part of the rationale was pedestrian safety. This relates with access to road platforms. When the Design Review Subcommittee brings the motions forward next month, the issues can be linked.

10. Review of Correspondence

A response was received from TTC CEO Andy Byford to ACAT, confirming that attendant care will be provided at Board meetings as of the February meeting. Sam Savona commented that the attendants at the last Board meeting were difficult to identify as attendants. Susan Davidson, Chair, will speak with the attendants about arrangements.

Susan Davidson received an invitation from Supporters of Accessibility Ontario to attend one of two sessions at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. She will distribute it to members, who can attend if they wish to. Judy Berger attended the March 20, 2014 session and reported that it was informative.

The ACAT Executive received a request from a student about ACAT and the TTC position with respect to issues relating to seniors. Staff drew up a response to questions regarding the TTC and Susan Davidson added responses based on the ACAT Terms of Reference. The response went out to the student within her deadline, with no further correspondence.

11. ACAT Meeting Highlights on the TTC Website

At the end of the February ACAT meeting, Mazin Aribi brought forward a discussion about posting highlights of ACAT meetings on the TTC website, similar to the highlights posted by the Board. This would offer a brief summary for members of the public who want to know what ACAT has discussed and accomplished; the items can be a ready resource for the ACAT Executive when they have their quarterly meetings with the TTC Chair and CEO; and items can be brought to the Public Forum for review. Some items can come from approved Subcommittee minutes: discussed, approved, and itemized into highlights.

The Committee discussed the proposal and agreed that the highlights would be useful to members of the public. Although the Minutes are available online, and the Minutes include a list of the topics covered, highlights can be less technical and easier to read, and posted in more locations. Members related many instances of vehicle operators and other transit riders being unaware of what ACAT is and what it does.

Karma Burkhar suggested that if or when the highlights are compiled, they can be posted on buses, as is done on Mississauga and Peel paratransit vehicles.

The Committee discussed the role of the Board in finalizing the ACAT Minutes, and it was assured that, although the Board receives the Minutes, they are not required to approve them.

Angela Marley added that the points raised about Operator education speak to the importance of ACAT members attending Operator training and signing up to provide information about ACAT and people with disabilities. Members were encouraged to sign up for those sessions.

12. Other / New Business

a) Sarah Adams noted that the .PDF file available online for the Support Person Assistance card application is not accessible if using a screen reader. Staff explained that there is a web-based form also available for people using a screen reader, and that instructions have been clarified to state that users requiring a screen reader should use that form.

b) Sarah Adams brought forward the concern that an ongoing trend in accessibility is to provide only the minimum required by standards. For example, restricting people in mobility devices to only one car of the new streetcar, installing only one elevator, having only one accessible entrance at a station, etc. If any other group was excluded in this way, there would be an outcry.

The Committee discussed this concern. There have been many improvements to accessibility over the years, but the Committee agreed there is a strong need for ACAT to continue pushing for the TTC to go beyond the minimum standards and provide facilities, vehicles, and services that are fully accessible wherever physically possible. There is a greater cultural and societal issue and many places for improvement, but these improvements are made at other levels of policy. ACAT will continue raising the issues, chipping away at misinformation, and providing advice on how to create a fully accessible service.

Members were encouraged to bring forward examples of how they think accessibility can be improved, and send them to the ACAT Executive for action.

Members thanked Sarah Adams for bringing this discussion forward.

Andy Byford, TTC CEO, attended for part of the discussion. He explained that he is fully determined to make the entire subway system fully accessible by 2025. He is committed to never bringing in vehicles or facilities that are not accessible. Although there are limitations, all customers are equal.

Members expressed concern that the standards for accessibility are the minimum of what is needed. A change in the attitude toward accessibility is required, not only to meet those standards, but to go beyond. For example, in discussions with PRESTO, they want to go with the standards and no more. Andy Byford agreed and explained that he has been in communication with PRESTO about this issue. He assured the Committee that there will be no compromises that reduce the level of accessibility required by the TTC. Another example is the lack of elevator redundancy at interchange stations, which is particularly important so that customers can transfer from one line to another.

Regarding the Eglinton Crosstown, there are significant accessibility issues with the current design of Kennedy Station, due to the slope issues and lack of elevator redundancy. Andy Byford explained that many of the Board Members did not like the design either, and it will not be the final design.

Judy Berger brought forward the idea of proposing to politicians that making the City more friendly to seniors will attract tourism. The Committee suggested that individuals should lobby mayoral candidates.

Angela Marley offered some final comments on the difference in accessibility standards between TTC and Metrolinx, and the need for the TTC and ACAT to continue pushing. Andy Byford agreed.

c) Angela Marley requested an update on the Support Person Assistance Card, which will be going into effect March 31, 2014. Cards are being produced and distributed, and the grace period was extended to April 30, 2014. Sam Savona asked if ACAT agreed to the three-year expiration date, and the Committee responded in the affirmative.

Marian McDonell commented that the communication around the program was unclear, and gave an example of a man and his elderly mother who tried to find an advertised photo session at Bathurst Station and eventually went to Davisville. Susan Davidson will raise this at the next Communication Subcommittee meeting.

13. Next Meeting – April 24, 2014

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, April 24, 2014 from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

14. Adjournment

Motioned by Mazin Aribi and seconded by Tim Rose, the meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

Janet Wright
Recording Secretary

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