ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, June 26, 2014
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:279
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

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

Pool Members

  • Anna Barath
  • Jerry Borins
  • Margaret Hageman

TTC Representatives

  • Kirsten Watson
  • Ross Visconti
  • Matt Hagg 

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 1:00 p.m. Attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

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

  • Item "Update on PRESTO Implementation" deferred to the July meeting.
  • Item "June 8, 2014 Article on the Star re:  TTC Driver refuses to let riders in wheelchairs exit bus" moved to Item 15.
  • New Item 10, Sam Savona and Sarah Adams, ACAT Representatives at Metrolinx for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, will report on the Metrolinx meeting following the Subcommittee Reports and Updates.

4. Review and Approval of May 29, 2014 Minutes

On motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Mazin Aribi, the Committee reviewed and accepted the Minutes with the following revision:

  • Page 1, List of Attendees:  Remove arrival times.

5. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items

Tim Rose provided an update on the Culture of Accessibility discussion and the potential for a separate meeting on the topic. Following the May General meeting, he distributed an email to outline what such a meeting could entail and received feedback from members. The ACAT Executive will combine this feedback into a preliminary agenda and then distribute to members to determine who would be interested in attending. The Committee was in agreement with this plan.

The May Minutes stated that there would be a presentation on Priority Seating at the June meeting. This presentation was deferred to July.

Outstanding Item "April 25/13 – Deputation from Alan Yule re: Installation of LED lights and Change to the Warning Sign on the new Streetcar" completion date revised to Summer 2014. Craig Nicol, Design Review Subcommittee Chair, briefly reported that TTC Vehicle Engineering is working on this, and has presented to the Subcommittee the prototype stop lighting and designs for an additional four side lights. The next manufactured vehicle will be built with the lights installed. The item will be resolved before the streetcars enter service.

6. Deputation: 

Nil.

7. Recommendations from Deputants

Staff briefly explained which deputations are outstanding:  Two concerned Wheel-Trans and will be discussed under the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee report, and the third pertained to Design Review, as the deputant wanted Dupont Station to have two elevators from street to concourse level rather than one. The Committee discussed the fourth deputation. There was consensus to respond to the deputant with acknowledgement that the deputation was received and referred to the appropriate TTC Staff, but that the policy is to have one accessible pathway through each station, as stated in the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan that ACAT has supported. However, the deputant can encourage the TTC directly. The ACAT Executive will write a letter to the deputant and remove the deputation from the list.

8. Update on PRESTO Implementation

Deferred to the next ACAT meeting.

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

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

The Subcommittee met on May 30, 2014, with no meetings held in June.

TTC Market Research is developing a survey for Wheel-Trans customers focusing on services provided through Wheel-Trans, the areas of concern, and how to improve. The draft survey questions were created in consultation with Wheel-Trans staff and brought to the Subcommittee for feedback. The Subcommittee will be involved throughout the development process.

The survey will be conducted via telephone, with a target of between 300 and 500 riders, from late July to early August 2014, with results for September.

The deputation made by Robert Muzzy at the February 27, 2014 ACAT Meeting regarding same day trip cancellations was discussed.

Currently, 25% of trip cancellations are same day, totalling 750 to 950 on a weekday. Staff concern is that, if same day cancellations are allowed, that number will rise and customers will book rides that they do not intend to take. Wheel-Trans does not have the flexibility to fill slots left empty by same day cancellations, even with a 4-hour window. In most cases, there will not be another person who wants the same pick up and drop off locations at the same time.

Staff explained that the only way that they could have enough flexibility to fill those empty slots is to have larger pick-up windows instead of an exact pick-up time. There would also be additional impacts to Wheel-Trans policies, such as the no show window, and how long to wait after the pick-up time before the customer can call in to Wheel-Trans to cancel their next ride.

The Subcommittee agreed that the same day cancellations are not feasible at this time, as it would result in higher cancellations and loss of available service. Currently, customers can cancel by 11:00 p.m. the night before their ride via phone, and 11:59 p.m. via the internet, which gives Wheel-Trans staff the opportunity to book more rides. Staff will determine what will be required to make the service more flexible, and will return to the Subcommittee for further discussion on impacts. A timeline will be provided at the next meeting.

The Subcommittee then discussed Helena Burnstein's deputation for Operators to always escort riders to the door and that not all Operators are consistent with escorting riders to and from the door. Staff explained that the policy is for Operators to escort customers to the door, for both taxis and buses. Regardless of what customers say, Operators must follow the policy. However, the policy does not specify providing assistance, which leaves room for customers to state that they do not need assistance. In those cases, Operators can simply walk beside them and ensure that they get inside. The level of assistance will be based on communication between the rider and Operator. Wheel-Trans avoids specifying that Operators can merely watch customers get to their door. Some members related incidences where Operators refused to assist them in entering, raising concerns that Operators are not following policy.

The Subcommittee suggested that the policy be clarified and reinforced.

Susan Davidson, ACAT Chair, agreed that the ACAT Executive will write a letter to Helena Burnstein stating that the issue was considered and Operators will be reminded of the policy.

Helena Burnstein also deputed to provide same day cancellations for trips that were booked on the internet, due to the way the same day internet bookings will book a trip that has a far different pick-up time than requested.

David Hogg, TTC ITS, explained that a trip can be cancelled within 15 minutes of booking and it registers as "refused," not cancelled, and will not be added to the month's late cancellation number. (Subsequent to the meeting, it was clarified that trips can be cancelled within 10 minutes.) The Subcommittee suggested including this as part of the booking process, making it clear that people have the opportunity to refuse trips.

Subcommittee members mentioned the issue that sometimes the system will book only half of a two-way trip, and tell customers that they might be able to book a return trip, but they will not know until after the customer has already begun their first trip. This has the potential of leaving a customer stranded. However, if the customer cancels both trips, that results in late cancellations. The Subcommittee suggested that a two-way trip only be booked if both ways are available.

Staff noted this issue and will look into it, and report back to the Subcommittee.

There was also discussion regarding the online booking enhancements. David Hogg demonstrated the improvements made to the Wheel-Trans online booking website, specifically the way that addresses will be handled in the system.

When booking, customers can choose from a list of registered, recent, or landmark addresses, or search for a new one. When they select an address, they can specify the building type and where they want to be picked up or dropped off. Landmarks will pop up with a pick-up point based on Wheel-Trans stops.

Website terminology was revised. For example, the word "escort" was changed to "companion," and "registered addresses" to "my addresses."

The website changes will be effective July 15, 2014 after QA testing.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Regarding the 15-minute window where same day internet bookings can be cancelled with no penalty, the Committee recommended including this in the Wheel-Trans newsletter as it is not known to most people.

Regarding the same day booking, if it is not filled, it does not count as a late cancellation.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Angela Rebeiro, Chair

The Subcommittee met on June 4, 2014.

At the request of Tim Rose, Michael Stevenson, Development Coordinator, and Jenny Matharu, Development Officer, from the Property, Planning and Development Department, attended to discuss the arrangements and procedures for TTC customer use of third party elevators, specifically when they are out of service or their signage is not clear.

They explained that there are two varieties of elevators in the TTC system, those owned by the City or the TTC, and those owned by third parties and used by the TTC under usage agreements. In most cases, the TTC has not put funding into the third party elevators, which were built and are maintained at the property owner's expense for their benefit that they would have a direct connection to the subway station. In a few cases, the TTC installed an elevator into a third party property, and that property owns and maintains it.

Property, Planning and Development is responsible for the administration of existing agreements, drafting of new agreements, and reviewing proposals for new connections. Currently, many of the elevators are under old agreements that lack uniformity. In some cases, even when the agreements exist, there is a lack of clarity on who is responsible in terms of elevator maintenance and signage, and a lack of implementation. The department will be working on the education of both TTC staff and the third party building managers to ensure that elevators are maintained and operated according to TTC standards for accessible routes, and will report back to the Subcommittee in the Fall.

Some examples of third party elevators are at Dundas, Osgoode, Queen, and St. Andrew stations.

Staff then brought forward a question from management about the usefulness of elevator closure alerts on the tickers on platform television screens. Management was concerned about the number of alerts and an excess of information that might be overwhelming for travellers.

The Subcommittee believed that this information is very useful, because the status of elevator availability can change while someone is in transit and the information on the Lift Line and internet may be delayed. The Subcommittee suggested colour coding the information or using symbols to differentiate between elevator, emergency, delay, construction alerts, or other categories. Alternatively, less critical information can be presented less frequently.

The Subcommittee also cautioned against the large quantity of information presented to customers on the televisions and on the P.A. that is not necessarily relevant to a particular station where people are waiting. It may cause confusion.

There were other questions brought forward by members, but no action at that time.

Questions and Comments from the Subcommittee:

Regarding the staff from Property, Planning and Development, they are responsible for other third party features into subway stations, such as automatic doors, but the existence of agreements is in question. For example, when asked about escalators, they stated that there are no agreements. When they return after the summer, the Subcommittee will follow up on this as well as the status of education of third party and TTC staff.

Other Subcommittee members added that Station Managers will be involved in the process of ensuring third party elevator agreements are followed, to communicate with building managers, and ensure maintenance and signage. TTC Collectors and Managers will be informed of alternate travel routes as well, to provide to customers when elevators are out of service.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

The Subcommittee did not meet formally in June.

Gap testing was held at the Hillcrest Yard to test various step up and width configurations with ACAT members, using different types of wheels. These tests were arranged to aid TTC Engineering and Construction in their work to resolve the gap issue at subway platforms, allowing them to see the problem first hand and gain a greater appreciation for the issue. Results will be discussed at the next Subcommittee meeting on July 2, 2014.

A demonstration of the first production streetcar was held on June 18, 2014, attended by ACAT members to test modifications to the ramp and review features that were not operating at earlier review of the prototype vehicles. A debriefing period followed, at which the members provided feedback to Vehicle Engineering about issues of concern which will be addressed before the vehicle goes into service. In general, the vehicle has progressed well; however, matters of the door procedure and audio cues/announcement still require clarity, as well as refinement of the motorist stop/warning light. Other issues to be resolved relate to handholds at the club seating and the windscreen/hand hold at single doors. The Subcommittee will review the outstanding features before the vehicle goes into service.

In May, the Subcommittee received an update from Vehicle Engineering on the Toronto Rocket train relating to exterior door chimes, intercar barriers, and additional hand holds. One train has been equipped with these features and customers have given positive feedback. A program to install these upgrades is to commence in September with one train being processed per week, requiring 80 weeks to complete the project.

The Subcommittee has been involved in PRESTO design. Many ACAT and DRS members attended testing of the new AVM, LFTP, and SRVM in June, organized by PRESTO. In general, the testers were disappointed with the status of the test machines, as they were not in a state ready for testing, and much work remains to be done by PRESTO.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marian McDonell, Chair

The Subcommittee had not met since the last ACAT meeting.

10. Metrolinx Update

On June 17, 2014, Sarah Adams and Sam Savona attended a meeting at Metrolinx on behalf of ACAT. Most of this meeting was spent discussing a document outlining the guidelines of the requirements for accessibility design on the system, for all projects. Although there were many attempts by those representing the disability community to state that designs should exceed the minimum standards, Metrolinx stated that the document was to paint a broad picture of the organizational goals on accessibility, and when they did go out to tender for designs, they will be more specific and more detailed in the requirements. Metrolinx stated that at this point they could require the architects to go beyond the minimum standards.

The next document they looked at was on Best Practices Accessibility initiatives for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. This document did go into a little more detail on the requirements, but only on street level service.

Questions and Comments from the Subcommittee

Sarah Adams and Sam Savona will be the ACAT Representatives to Metrolinx, and will be called in whenever there is a meeting specifically dealing with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. After these meetings, they will report back to ACAT, informing the ACAT Executive when there is a call for agenda items.

Metrolinx will be looking all over the world at other transit providers as sources for best practice standards and guidelines.

11. Customer Liaison Panel Report

Presented by Angela Marley, the 2014 CLP ACAT Representative.

The Panel met on June 11, 2014. Chris Upfold introduced Arthur Borkwood, Head of Customer Development.

Members contributed observations from their transit use in the past month.
Stephen Lam, Head of Streetcar Maintenance, gave a presentation on the new streetcar. That afternoon, members had gone for a ride and commented on their experience.
Some members have participated in the PRESTO customer interface testing sessions and the discussion of their feedback was deferred to the next meeting.

12. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

Susan Davidson and Mazin Aribi attended the Board Meeting on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, and reported that there were no accessibility matters discussed.

13. Review of Correspondence

Susan Davidson, Chair, sent two letters to the Board. The first was to forward the approved Minutes of the previous ACAT meeting. The second letter concerns the motion made by Debbie Gillespie offering ACAT support to TTC Staff and Board in their efforts to regain funding. Vince Rodo was invited to the July ACAT meeting to speak on the funding issue.

The ACAT Executive received an email from Tracy O'Dell of the City of Toronto Disabilities Issues Committee. She is looking for opportunities for ACAT and the Transportation arm of the Disabilities Issues Committee to work together. The ACAT Executive will be attending their June quarterly meeting. They will be taking forward the issue of street furniture, the motion on zebra crossings, and the motion on audible pedestrian signals. They will report back to ACAT following the meeting.

The intention is to open a line of communication with the portion of the Committee working with transportation to ensure that the TTC and the City are not given conflicting advice. The City's committee seemed to be in agreement with the items that the ACAT Executive brought forward.

14. Other Items / New Business

Nil.

15. June 8, 2014 Article on the Star re:  "TTC Driver refuses to let customers in wheelchairs exit bus"

The ACAT Executive raised the issue of the article printed in the Toronto Star on June 8, 2014, providing background on discussions held with TTC senior management. The issue is being dealt with by Staff to the satisfaction of the Committee. The incident was a reminder of how important it is for ACAT to participate in the Operator Training at Hillcrest.

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, July 31, 2014, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

17. Adjournment

On motion by Tim Rose and seconded by Sam Savona, the meeting was adjourned at 2:55 p.m.
Janet Wright
Recording Secretary
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