ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, April 24, 2014
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:277
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

  • Susan Davidson, Chair
  • Mazin Aribi, Co-Vice Chair
  • Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair
  • Judy Berger
  • Bill Castor
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • Angela Rebeiro
  • Sam Savona

Pool Members

  • Anna Barath
  • Jerry Borins
  • Margaret Hageman

Regrets

  • Sarah Adams
  • Karma Burkhar

TTC Representatives

  • Kirsten Watson
  • Ross Visconti
  • Jacqueline Darwood
  • Matt Hagg
  • Gail Mahon

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

Susan Davidson, Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:04 p.m.  Attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest – Nil

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

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

  • Item 9 - amended to include the addition of the Zebra Crossing Motion and the Accessible Pedestrian Signal Motion.
  • Item 6 - amended to include deputation by DiONNE Renée.

4. Review and Approval of March 27, 2014 Minutes

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

  • Page 6, Item 8: The sentence beginning “The panel met...” will be amended to, “Angela Marley reported that the panel met on March 19, 2014, at Metrolinx, 97 Front Street West, chaired by Chris Upfold.”
  • Page 7, Item 8: The sentence beginning “The project is underway...” will be amended to, “Member Observations item was deferred.”

5. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items – Nil

6. Deputation: D!ONNE Renée

D!ONNE Renée expressed her concerns about the TTC’s plans to install three rather than four elevators at Dupont Station, and encouraged ACAT to take a strong stand on equal access for all, as per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Current plans are to install an elevator to street at the southeast corner of the intersection of Dupont Street and Spadina Road. Ms. Renée stated she believed that an additional elevator to street is feasible and could be added at the northwest corner where there is currently a bus shelter.

The ACAT members thanked Ms. Renée for her deputation.

Deferred to the Design Review Subcommittee for consideration. Following review, a response will be provided to the deputant.

 

7. Operator/Collector Training Sessions – Benefit from ACAT Presence

Gail Mahon, Training Instructor, spoke on the benefit of ACAT volunteers participating in TTC training and recertification sessions. She reported that it is an excellent learning experience for employees to meet the people using wheelchairs and scooters, and encouraged ACAT members to continue to volunteer. She acknowledged that Operators are often reluctant to ask questions because they are afraid to offend, and that the assurance of confidentiality in this matter encourages employees to speak freely. She reassured the members that volunteers are not required to participate in mobility device securing exercises, as the Instructors usually role play this activity.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Mazin Aribi and Lynn McCormick brought forward several administrative matters that Gail Mahon assured would be addressed starting with the next session on May 5, 2014.

Angela Marley thanked Gail Mahon for an excellent presentation, describing the positive feedback as validating for the volunteers. She provided Gail Mahon with a copy of the Easier Access video.

Judy Berger and Angela Marley commented that some Operators do not recognize the ACAT Pass.

Craig Nicol and Debbie Gillespie commented on the need for drivers to provide instruction for all customers, especially customers with vision impairments, when they are disembarking at an alternative stop location, as it can be very disorienting for both customers and service animals.

A list of upcoming training sessions was left by Gail Mahon for the Committee members.

8. TTC Operators/Collectors Training Sessions Talking Points

Angela Rebeiro presented on “Training Sessions: ACAT Members’ Talking Points” document, a reference tool for taking part in the recertification program for TTC Collectors, conventional bus Operators, and new Operators after their first six months on the job.

She explained that the document has gone through several edits by members of the Service Planning Subcommittee, and is now before ACAT for approval. She encouraged ACAT members, especially new members and members taking part in recertification exercises for the first time, to review this reference and use and adapt it as their experience warrants; however, she drew the members’ attention to the following two clauses the SPS considers as important features to be consistent when volunteering:

  1. Set the tone for the meeting by introducing yourself and providing a brief biography about your current or former occupation, volunteer activities, and/or hobbies. A sentence or two about using the conventional and/or Wheel-Trans system encourages congeniality and give-and-take in conversation with TTC personnel.
  2. Talk about ACAT and your association with it. Briefly describe the role of the Advisory Committee, identify the subcommittees and the work they do, and indicate the frequency of the meetings.

Angela Rebeiro reminded the members that they can and should add their own amendments as they take part in the sessions.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:
Debbie Gillespie suggested that Gail Mahon be invited to speak to ACAT early on in each new term.

Angela Rebeiro expressed her support that members were emphasizing the flexibility of the document; it is not meant to be read as a script.

On motion by Angela Rebeiro and seconded by Bobbi Moore, the Committee approved the “Training Sessions: ACAT Members’ Talking Points” document as an ACAT resource. The motion carried.

9. Training Department  – Bus Recertification Sessions

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Angela Rebeiro, Chair

April 2, 2014

The Subcommittee discussed two points concerning the proposed changes to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Customer Service Standard.

Regarding service animals, the Subcommittee agreed that the most efficient and objective manner of identifying a service animal is with a photo ID card provided by the organization that trained the animal. Harnesses can be purchased and letters could be falsified. Carrying around a letter from a health service provider would be inconvenient, expensive, and an infringement on privacy, and there is no structure in place for when and who would challenge people for their letters.

The second point dealt with training staff, including staff that are not necessarily front line workers. The Subcommittee discussed the pros and cons of the proposed changes. Staff at the meeting, however, explained that all TTC personnel receive training in integrated standards, but only front line personnel are trained in customer service. Training all personnel in customer service would impose time and financial costs. Some Subcommittee members suggested that this training would have a positive impact, as it would teach personnel why accessibility requirements are in place, allow them to support front line staff to provide customer service, create a uniform value around accessibility, and strengthen the culture of accessibility. All personnel represent the TTC when they appear in public wearing the uniform or any symbols of employment with the TTC. Training, therefore, may allow them to assist in accessibility-related situations that might arise.

Matt Hagg added that, after discussion, TTC will be training all employees on the Customer Service Standard requirements in the future, not just front line employees.

SPS members reviewed and recommended the Training Sessions Talking Points document be brought to ACAT for approval.

Next meeting: May 7, 2014.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

April 2, 2014

City of Toronto Transportation Services staff attended the meeting to discuss the Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS) program as it relates to mid-roadway streetcar platforms. The Subcommittee stated their position that APS must be installed to ensure safety for all pedestrians whenever a mid-road streetcar platform is reconstructed to be accessible. The City project team agreed. However, City Council will need to approve additional funding in order to install the APS on the entire Spadina line and on accessible streetcar platforms along other lines.

Maintenance Engineering Staff attended to discuss and answer questions regarding the recent platform gap survey. Accessible stations on the Yonge-University-Spadina line were surveyed, with all stations to be checked before being made accessible. Eglinton and St. Andrew were shown to be problematic. Eglinton could potentially be corrected during the Eglinton Crosstown upgrade, with St. Andrew requiring further investigation. It was proposed that when an Easier Access upgrade takes place, defects in platform alignment be part of that work.

The Subcommittee was also asked for input into a realistic range of horizontal and vertical variability over which a mobility device can safely cross. A test will be performed with the Subcommittee.

Elevator reliability continues to be examined, with DRS commenting on exterior elevator installations, requesting drainage gradients around the Dupont Station elevator and recommending a vestibule where possible. Regarding the Ossington bus platform elevator, a splash guard and attention to drainage were recommended. The reason reported for the outage at Dundas West Station was corrosion due to water entering the elevator shaft.

With respect to elevator door failures, the data addressed only 45% of cases, and DRS requested information on the remainder. Many door issues appear to be caused by debris obstructions and dirt on the sensors. DRS inquired whether Station Managers could reduce this problem without having to resort to outside maintenance to fix minor problems.

DRS also reviewed snow removal on streetcar platforms. Staff reported that platforms are fully cleared and salted to the base of the ramp within 24 hours. DRS pointed out that when snow is permitted to accumulate in the streetcar right of way to the level of the platform, it is difficult to determine where the curb edge is located, which could lead to customers falling off the platform. TTC will continue to work with the City to coordinate snow removal.

The Outstanding Issues list was updated. Item 13 was discussed, regarding painted squares at bus platforms to indicate a boarding area, and it was agreed that the objective to give priority to persons with mobility devices boarding first would be better served by Operator instructions and customer education. The Subcommittee suggested an indication on the pavement as to where the bus will pull up, to assist both bus Operators and customers waiting to board, and is waiting for a report back from staff.

DRS members are very concerned about the number of new streetcar design issues, with only four months remaining to ensure that the streetcars going into service are not deficient.

Next meeting: May 7, 2014.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair, expressed his surprise that the St. Andrew Station platform is a problem, in spite of everything that has been done to make sure gaps would not be an issue.

Craig Nicol explained that the situation has been ameliorated with Rail Vehicle Engineering’s instruction that the trains be lowered by half an inch. DRS has requested the full rail maintenance report which identifies the measurements along the platform at every four feet. A special warning decal will be placed where discrepancies occur.

In response to a request for clarification from Debbie Gillespie, Craig Nicol explained that the problem lies with the platform and not the track.

DRS brought forward two motions, attached to the agenda:

Zebra Crossing Motion: Improving Pedestrian Safety when Crossing to Streetcar Platforms

In compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the TTC and the City of Toronto are currently engaged in a project to make the streetcar network accessible. This initiative means that persons with disabilities will need to safely cross traffic lanes to reach streetcar platforms.

Recommendation

ACAT recommends that the TTC Board request the City of Toronto prioritize installation and maintenance of zebra pedestrian crossing markings at all places where pedestrians must cross traffic lanes to reach streetcar platforms located within a roadway.

Ideally all pedestrian crossings to transit platforms should be converted to zebra markings right away. If it is not feasible to do all crossings immediately then installation of zebra markings should parallel the roll out of new accessible streetcars.

The motion was moved Craig Nicol, seconded by Mazin Aribi and carried.

Accessible Pedestrian Signal Motion: Improving Pedestrian Safety when Crossing to Streetcar Platforms

In compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), the TTC and the City of Toronto are currently engaged in a project to make the streetcar network accessible. This initiative means that persons with a disability will need to safely cross traffic lanes to reach streetcar platforms.

Recommendation

ACAT recommends that the TTC Board request the City of Toronto install Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) at all places where pedestrians must cross traffic lanes to reach streetcar platforms located within a roadway.

Ideally all pedestrian crossings to transit platforms should be equipped with APS right away. If it is not feasible to do all crossings immediately, then installation of APS should parallel the roll out of new accessible streetcars.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

There was considerable discussion on the option of removing the second sentence from the third paragraph of the motion, namely, “If it is not feasible to do all crossings immediately, then installation of APS should parallel the roll out of new accessible streetcars.” Many members felt that the sentence would give the City permission not to take action on a matter of universal safety, and that ACAT should be consistent in stressing equal accessibility.

Craig Nicol brought forward the following points:

  1. While the AODA stipulates that vehicles have to be accessible, it does not make the same stipulation regarding access to the vehicles.
  2. The motion as written still requests a parallel roll out of APS installations with new accessible streetcars, and follows the process of making subway stations accessible over a graduated period.

Bill Castor expressed his concern that if ACAT asks the City to fund all the APS installations at once, it invites the possibility that Council could postpone the entire project to the 2018 budget.

Debbie Gillespie expressed her inclination to leave the motion as is, instead of pushing for a risky all-or-nothing position. If ACAT is reasonable, the City will be less likely to refuse the request.

Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair, acknowledged that he recognized the importance of ACAT instilling a culture of accessibility in Toronto, but said he would support the motion as is because it is better to get something rather than nothing.

Sam Savona requested that the agenda of the next ACAT meeting include an item on the ‘Culture of Accessibility.’ He stated he would vote in favour of the motion before the Committee, but put forward the idea of including a strongly worded letter reflecting the members’ concerns.

Moved by Craig Nicol and seconded by Debbie Gillespie, the motion carried.

There will be a letter that accompanies the motion to reflect the discussion.

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

April 9, 2014

For the majority of the meeting, members toured the Wheel-Trans offices and garage, with limited time to discuss the two issues on their agenda regarding Support Person Assistance Cards and the policy concerning no-shows for WT interviews (i.e., the number of times a no-show is permitted before a customer’s application is suspended, and he or she must re-apply).

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Craig Nicol raised the need to discuss the Support Person Assistance Card at the WTOS meeting because SPS has been handling this item. Lynn McCormick clarified that the discussion is as it pertains to Wheel-Trans service.

Sam Savona reminded the Committee that it had not yet discussed the recommendations made by Robert Muzzy in his deputation of February 27, 2014, regarding cancelling Wheel-Trans trips four hours in advance.

The Committee agreed that an item identified as ‘Recommendations from Deputants’ be added to the agenda of the next ACAT meeting and that summaries of the deputations be made available to the members before the next meeting. Ross Visconti offered to provide copies of recommendations he had received from deputants.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marion McDonell, Chair

The Subcommittee held two meetings since the last ACAT meeting – March 28, 2014, and April 16, 2014.

March 28, 2014

Marion McDonell was acclaimed as the Subcommittee Chair.

At earlier Subcommittee and ACAT General Meetings, the concern was raised that the legend of the route map in the Toronto Rocket subway trains was not legible to someone sitting in a mobility device. More specifically, the accessibility designation cannot be seen.

Customer Communications Staff attended and explained that including the accessibility information on the map itself is not feasible; however, they indicated that the legend panels could be modified more easily.

Members of the Subcommittee were told the legend information cannot be moved down to the advertising spaces due to existing contracts. Staff requested feedback and ideas from the Subcommittee on how to incorporate the accessibility information. Many ideas were brought forward; however, many of the current members were not involved in the previous discussion. It was agreed that staff would go back to those earlier discussions and bring the information forward at the next Subcommittee meeting.

The Subcommittee requested a mock-up of the map unit to look at. Customer Communications will meet with Engineers and return to the Subcommittee with further information.

The Subcommittee also discussed plans for the 2014 People in Motion Show. The show will be held June 6 and 7, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Exhibition Place. Customer Communications has created a communication plan and requested the Subcommittee’s input. The Subcommittee suggested that the TTC should combine both the Wheel-Trans and conventional service booths to promote service integration, and a separate ACAT booth needs to be retained. The booth will provide information or demonstrations of new initiatives in accessible transit to show progress.

The intent is to hold a meeting of TTC staff and ACAT members who will be staffing the booths prior to the show to discuss objectives, common questions, strategies, and integration.

Staff will circulate emails to ACAT members closer to the event to organize booth shifts, and staff will be scheduled.

Members also considered different options to make the International Symbol of Access at subway stops more visible, reviewed/edited the Spring/Summer 2014 Wheel-Trans Newsletter, and discussed updating the Travel Training handbook, which will be brought forward to the Subcommittee for review when ready.

April 16, 2014

This meeting was dedicated to reviewing the Welcome to Wheel-Trans booklet.

Next meeting: May 8, 2014

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Sam Savona raised the point that the maps will not be updated every time a station becomes accessible. Mazin Aribi asked if it is possible to place an add-on insert on top of the existing maps, showing only the accessible stations. Staff responded that they will look into a possible solution.

Craig Nicol expressed concern that CS items are overlapping with SPS items, and that ACAT needs to be clear about which Subcommittee is handing which item, e.g., People in Motion and the handbook.

10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

The Panel met on April 16, 2014 and was chaired by Chris Upfold.

Members provided observations of their transit use. Angela reported the need for education about priority seating, using examples of customers not giving their seat to someone with a greater need. Chris Upfold stated an education campaign is being developed. He reported an articulated bus with the blue upholstery on the priority seats has arrived

Viktoriya Artemyeva, Customer Communications, presented the results of the Mystery Shopper Survey which is an ongoing project.

John Morrison, Streetcar Transportation, gave an overview of the implementation and operation of the new streetcars from the staff perspective. He outlined plans for Operator training, in preparation for the launch in August.

Angela reported that DRS and SPS have been requesting information about the accessibility features and operating procedures of the new streetcar. ACAT has not received this information. Members are concerned about the short time to the launch. Chris Upfold stated that he would follow up to arrange ACAT consultation.

Bob Hughes, Head of Farecard Team, provided an update on PRESTO implementation. This presentation is being made to the TTC Board at the April meeting, and there is a recommendation that it be presented to ACAT at the next meeting.

Staff are accepting feedback on the signage pilot at Bloor-Yonge.

Meetings continue to not be open to the public.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Jacqueline Darwood, Strategy and Service Planning, responded regarding the accessibility features and operating procedures of the new streetcars. She explained that the operating plans discussed with CLP were not intended to be customer-facing. She will be contacting the Training Department to request they do a presentation for the Subcommittee, so members will see what instructions the Operators are receiving to accommodate passengers on the new streetcars. With a launch in four months, she acknowledged that ACAT needs to be further involved and work together on outstanding items concurrently.

Craig Nicol expressed concern that the Operator training manual for the new streetcars was still being developed, and requested to review a draft. He questioned how the manual could be developed when ACAT still does not know how the accessibility system will function, and stated that ACAT needs a blitz of meetings in May with firm, final answers and open discussion. He added that if problems are not worked out before the launch, it will be a problem from a publicity perspective. He expressed frustration that requests ACAT had made in the past year to review the manual had not been met.

Craig Nicol reminded staff that if the members do not yet know how the buttons will activate the doors, they will not be able to give proper feedback on the training manual.

Tim Rose commented that if ACAT commits to a culture of accessibility, nothing should go on the road without ACAT’s permission, or there is the danger of a public relations nightmare.

Susan Davidson indicated that she will raise this item with the Chair and CEO at the next Executive Quarterly meeting, and that a report will be added to ACAT’s May 29, 2014 agenda.

Sam Savona moved that the Chair of ACAT, the Chair of the Design Review Subcommittee, and possibly the Chair of the Service Planning Subcommittee write a letter to the TTC Board outlining ACAT members’ concerns that:

(a) the new streetcar launch is slated for August, in four months, and staff have not yet responded to DRS requests to address the unresolved items concerning the accessibility features, and
(b) staff have not brought forward to SPS a draft of the operating procedures, which is important because these new streetcars are dramatically different from existing vehicles and require an education campaign.

He further moved that this letter should be included on the agenda of the Board Meeting in May, where it would become a public document.

The motion was seconded by Tim Rose and carried.

11. Report on ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with CEO and Chair – Susan Davidson, Chair

Deferred.

12. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters: Nil

13. Review of Correspondence

Deferred.

14. 2014 TTC Roadeo and Family Day – June 8, 2014

Susan Davidson suggested that ACAT have a booth with pamphlets like last year. Ross Visconti said that TTC would support whatever decision ACAT came to, by providing tables and material. He added that Operators from every Division would be attending and taking away information.

Angela Marley commented that the Family Day ACAT booth is a good opportunity to educate Operators and their family members about accessible transit.

15. Other Items / New Business: Nil

Nil.

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, May 29, 2014, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

17. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.

Sandra Penwarden
Recording Secretary
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