ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, July 31, 2014
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:280
  • 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
  • Bill Castor
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • Angela Rebeiro
  • Sam Savona

Regrets

  • Karma Burkhar

Pool Members

  • Anna Barath
  • Jerry Borins
  • Margaret Hageman 

TTC Representatives

  • Kirsten Watson
  • Matt Hagg
  • David LoPresti

Copies

  • Andy Byford
  • Richard Leary
  • 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 1:05 p.m. Attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

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

  • Item 6 Deputations: Addition of May Lui
  • Item 8 TTC Funding: Deferred to a future meeting
  • Item 9 Update on Platform Gap Issue at Eglinton Station: Deferred to the next DRS meeting

4. Review and Approval of June 26, 2014 Minutes

Deferred to the next meeting.

5. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items

Deferred to the next meeting.

6. Deputation: May Lui

May Lui presented a deputation on behalf of iTaxi Workers Association. Materials were distributed in hard copy and will be distributed in accessible format via email following the meeting.

The new TTC Wheel-Trans contract with accessible taxis started in early July and many drivers did not sign due to the $800 to $1,000 per month reduction in pay. Because the contract is 5 to 7 years, they do not want to be locked into the contract. They felt that there was no choice but to take a job action. They went back to work on July 20 and will attend the TTC Board meeting next month, hoping to have their original pay reinstated. After expenses, taxi drivers make $30,000 per year, working 12 to 14 hour days.

The iTaxi Workers Association hopes to get a letter of support from ACAT to bring to the meeting with the TTC.

ACAT informed the deputant that it is not within the scope of the Committee to provide such a letter.

The Committee thanked May Lui for her deputation and received the deputation for information.

7. Update on PRESTO Implementation

Donna Bryant, TTC Farecard Team, provided an update on the PRESTO implementation plan. The presentation will be submitted electronically and distributed to Committee members.

The PRESTO Farecard is a means of modernizing and automating fare collection. It will be implemented in two stages. Wave 1 will begin in November to support the launch of the new streetcars with partial fulfilment of the TTC business requirements. PRESTO will be installed on 50 new streetcars and in 25 subway stations, most of which are accessible stations. Wave 2 will be the fulfilment of all business requirements with PRESTO on TTC buses and streetcars, Wheel-Trans buses, and in all subway stations. Once fully implemented, TTC Legacy fare media will be eliminated.

Because PRESTO will not be ready for the August 31, 2014 streetcar launch date, a two to three month interim solution will be implemented between the launch of the streetcars and the roll out of the PRESTO system. TTC vending machines will be installed onboard each streetcar and at bus stops on Spadina and Queens Quay. Customers can insert a token or coins and receive proof of payment to present to fare inspectors and to use as transfers.

The interim device will be leased equipment similar to what is in use at Pearson Airport where customers choose adult or child fare. They are currently being tested in a lab situation and will be installed in August, 2014. In addition to the vending machine, a ticket validator for concession tickets, such as senior, child, and student, will be installed. Customers will insert their ticket to be stamped with a date and time, and the stamped ticket will be their proof of payment and transfer. Transfers will follow the same rules currently in place.

In November, PRESTO machines will be rolled out. Basic functionality allows customers to pay their fare by tapping their loaded PRESTO card at the streetcar door, at which point the appropriate fare is deducted.

Cards will be designated as student, senior, or adult, and cannot do multiple fares at a time. Every person requires their own card or payment method. There are no distinguishing features between card types, but the PRESTO website provides a list of acceptable methods to differentiate the cards if someone is carrying several. Cards can be anonymous or registered. Registration is not required, but it provides advantages, such as transferring the card funds if the card is lost or stolen, or setting up auto load. Registration is not required for concession cards.

During Wave 1, proof of payment/transfer receipts must be collected from the vending machine. After tapping at the door, customers will go to the vending machine and tap again to retrieve their receipt. This will not deduct an additional fare. To ensure that they are only being charged a single fare, customers can go onto the PRESTO website and look up their card number to see their transactions.

In Wave 2, this listing will include non-payment transfers. If there is a dispute, customers can call the PRESTO Call Centre or go to the TTC Customer Service Centre at Davisville Station.

PRESTO fare cards have an expiry date, noted on the back. When an expiry date is close, the funds can be transferred onto a new card. If a card passes its expiry date, the funds can be recovered only if the card is registered. If it is not registered, the money is not retrievable.

In Wave 2, the fare cards will have full functionality. Customers will tap at every vehicle or station, and fares will only be deducted as applicable, allowing for automatic transfers. TTC Legacy fare media will be phased out. Travel across transit services will be streamlined, including the purchase and use of concession fares.

Regarding group passes, such as the Day Family Pass, this is still under development for Wave 2.

Subway Roll-out

Wave 1 subway implementation will involve the installation of 60 new turnstiles that have the PRESTO readers already installed. Customers will tap their cards and pass through. They will be narrow gates so as to fit into the existing space in the subway stations.

Wave 2 roll out will involve the installation of new accessible fare gates, as station fare lines are redesigned.

Communication Plan

A TTC communication plan will be launched for the streetcar and PRESTO roll outs. This will involve ads and information in the Metro newspaper and local papers along the Spadina route, and videos on the TTC and PRESTO websites for how to board and pay a fare. Customer service ambassadors will be riding the streetcars, fare enforcement will focus on educating customers, and staff in stations will take a more proactive role in assisting customers.

Project Status

Currently, the project is on track with no significant changes to the schedule. Wave 1 devices are going through two phases of testing in Germany. PRESTO and TTC Quality Assurance are on site and participating in the testing. This includes human factor and software tests. Installation activities are ongoing on the new streetcars. Operational business processes are underway for training, acquisition, etc.

Device audio testing is one issue, as there has not been a successful run of the audio function as of yet. The Farecard Team will be working closely with Craig Nicol and Debbie Gillespie to validate the audio by August 20, 2014. Lab tests will continue through September, and field testing of the final devices will run through October.

Comments and Questions from the Committee

The Committee expressed concern about the tight deadlines. The testing will likely reveal failures and there will be limited time to fix them.

The Committee was not satisfied by the installation of devices that do not comply with TTC business requirements. Donna Bryant agreed that the Wave 1 devices will not be 100% compliant due to constraints, but issues will be addressed in Wave 2. ACAT members will be involved in the user acceptance testing and can bring their concerns forward, and state if they are not satisfied with the designs.

The Committee suggested that the TTC send ambassadors to immigration organizations to explain the new system and demonstrate how it works.

The Committee verified that the PRESTO reader will be usable by people with limited dexterity, confirming that a hard tap is not required, only waving it near the reader. The readers will be mounted at a height that is accessible by people using mobility devices. The Committee suggested a reader in the form of a long vertical strip rather than a small square, for increased accessibility.

Regarding the placement of the reader in vehicles, the Committee raised the concern that if a person in a manual wheelchair requires a free hand to tap their card, they may roll backward if the floor is slanted toward the door.

Donna Bryant encouraged the Committee to submit additional comments and concerns via the ACAT Executive. The Committee thanked her for the presentation.

8. TTC Funding

Deferred to the September ACAT meeting.

9. Update on Platform Gap Issue at Eglinton Station

Deferred to the next Design Review Subcommittee meeting.

10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Angela Rebeiro, Chair

The Subcommittee met on July 2, 2014 and three items were discussed: Lift-equipped buses, low-floor streetcars, and the People in Motion debrief.

Lift-equipped buses

Jeffrey Kay, TTC System Planner, presented an update on the status of the TTC's remaining lift-equipped buses. They will be replaced full time on some routes with low-floor buses as early as October, 2014.

The 7200 series of Nova RTS lift-equipped bus primarily operate out of 96 Wilson and 165 Weston Road, and are used on other routes in the northwest end of the city. They are not used for weekend service and all Nova RTS lift-equipped buses are scheduled to be retired by 2016.

The 9400 series Orion 5 mainly serve Keele North and were used on Dufferin, which has now been converted to the articulated buses. They are also used in the north and central part of the city, and have limited weekend use. They will be retired in 2015.

The 7000 and 7100 series Orion 5 are in the process of being retired by the end of the year. The buses remaining at this time are in use Monday to Saturday, with limited service on Sunday.

When asked if it was reasonable or possible to put low-floor buses on weekend service when there are not as many buses being used, Jeffrey Kay explained that it was agreed with ACAT in the past to leave the high-floor buses at their various garages until they were all retired. It was not previously possible to run only low-floor buses on routes operating from Malvern Garage, as it did not have enough low-floor buses to use them on all routes on weekends.

Jeffrey Kay asked the Subcommittee if its members would prefer that routes be converted to low-floor starting in October, or if the high-floor buses should be spread around the routes they are currently on, and mixed in with low-floors until the high-floors are all retired. Subcommittee members expressed opinions in favour of both options; Jeffrey Kay will discuss this issue with Staff as they are now arranging October schedules.

New Low-Floor Streetcars

The Subcommittee discussed the two questions:

  • Can the ramp from the new streetcars be safely deployed at street stops where an island does not exist?
  • What training are operators being given to ensure that passengers board safely?

Staff explained that Streetcar Operators will be required to exit the vehicle and deploy the ramp from street level to ensure customer safety. Operators are being given a training course on the operation of the streetcars, including the ramp.

The Subcommittee requested a written operating system/procedure to review and make suggestions/recommendations. Staff agreed to follow up on the Subcommittee's concerns.

There was a discussion on the topic of traffic coming alongside streetcars that could be a major safety issue when the new streetcars come into service, because customers may be required to enter the traffic lane to push a button to open the doors. The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) as it currently stands only requires traffic in the adjacent lane to stop when the streetcar doors are open. The Subcommittee asked if TTC Legal was aware of this problem—which has been raised in the past—and whether or not any changes need to be made to the HTA.

The Subcommittee wondered how ACAT could do more to get the TTC's Legal department to become more involved in the safety issue. Craig Nicol agreed to draft a motion to present to ACAT.

In an earlier meeting, Staff agreed to arrange for a joint meeting between the Service Planning and Communications Subcommittees to discuss education and communication for the new low-floor streetcars.

People in Motion Debrief

Comments varied from the ACAT booth being too isolated to some people preferring that it was separate from the TTC's own booth, and others not liking that it was. It was believed that ACAT should have a more succinct message describing what they do. Members advocated to include items at the ACAT Booth that would engage and educate the attendees to be more independent using accessible transit.

Additional Comments from Committee Members

Angela Rebeiro raised another concern about the new streetcars. There is already tension between customers when people with disabilities ask for the ramp to be lowered, or customers are asked to move from their seats. The concern is that there will be more tension when Operators have to leave the streetcar to put down the ramp, and then get back on. There has been tension with Operators as well, and this may be exacerbated by the requirement to exit the streetcar, particularly in inclement weather.

The Committee discussed the issue of tension between customers with disabilities, other customers, and Operators. Education and communication are critical for Operators, customers, and customers with disabilities. The TTC must train Operators in both procedures and in how to demonstrate to customers what is expected when someone using a mobility device needs to board, or when someone needs a seat. Other customers often do not know what to do when someone using a mobility device is boarding and this confusion causes tension, so a clear message and educational campaign is required.

Another issue may be the tight timelines, where lowering the ramp makes the bus run late and causes tension to rise, although Operators can call in delays to dispatch for guidance.

Angela Marley brought forward the need for ACAT members to participate in the Operator Training, and to submit comments and commendations for Operators, giving the TTC feedback on what is or is not working.

With respect to the motion about the HTA, Craig Nicol clarified that the intent is to produce a draft motion to circulate to Subcommittee members to review at the next SPS meeting for final wording before presentation to ACAT.

Marian McDonell commented that the Bus Operators at training sessions often complain that the lift buses do not work. Often when a person is trying to board a lift bus, the Operator has to tell them to wait for the next bus, which may or may not be working. Although Operators cycle the lifts at the beginning of the day and refrain from using the bus if the lift does not work, sometimes buses must go on the road anyway, due to limited vehicle availability.

The next meeting will be held on August 7, 2014, jointly with the Communications Subcommittee.

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

The last meeting was held July 30, 2014.

David Hogg, TTC ITS, attended to go over the Wheel-Trans online booking enhancements for adding addresses. The Subcommittee discussed what was working and what was not.

Thomas Hartley updated the Subcommittee on the Auditor General's recommendations. All but five of the recommendations have been completed, and those five are in the process of planning.

Staff brought forward the suggestion of ACAT being involved in the training of Wheel-Trans drivers. Staff will review the training and determine where it would be appropriate for ACAT members to participate. This will be a pilot program and subject to change as the program progresses.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

The last meeting was held July 2, 2014.

The Subcommittee received an update from Allan Foster covering status of preparations to launch PRESTO in November and the interim equipment to be used on new streetcars when entering service in late August. The Subcommittee was advised that further testing of both the interim devices and PRESTO devices with audio lead through would take place in July and August. Further onboard testing of PRESTO equipment is to be conducted in September and October. Plans for a new style of fare gate replacing turnstiles with a system of arms and clear width for passage of persons with mobility devices were discussed.

The Subcommittee was to see the device audio in July, but this was pushed back to August. Testing of the interim equipment has not been presented.

The need for a public education campaign was emphasized by the Subcommittee.

A platform gap update was provided by Aleksandar Urosevic, reviewing data and experience gathered at the Hillcrest Yard gap simulation trials. It appeared that the vertical gap most participants were comfortable with was 0 to 3/4 inches, plus or minus. The US standard is plus or minus 5/8 of an inch. Aleksandar Urosevic suggested that the TTC should set a maximum plus or minus variation which would be good for most stations. It was noted that Eglinton and St Andrew are the most difficult stations.

A discussion was held regarding building up the surface of the platform at the Designated Waiting Area the length of a car at Eglinton. This would be a temporary solution pending relocation of the existing station platform as part of the Eglinton Crosstown construction. Aleksandar Urosevic will report back to the Subcommittee later in 2014 regarding a strategy for Eglinton's interim solution.

The next meeting will be held on August 13, 2014 at Hillcrest Yard.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marian McDonell, Chair

The Subcommittee did not meet since the last ACAT meeting.

The next meeting will be held on August 7, jointly with Service Planning.

11. Customer Liaison Panel Report

Presented by Angela Marley, the 2014 CLP ACAT Representative.

The Panel met on July 9, 2014 and mainly discussed the new Ride Guide. There are some significant revisions making the Ride Guide easier to read.

TTC was holding a contest to find Toronto’s favourite transit information app for mobile devices. The Panel was encouraged to vote.

The next meeting will be held in September.

Tim Rose brought forward and the Committee acknowledged that one of the Panel members, Howard Muchnick, passed away in July.

12. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

Presented by Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair.

The TTC Board meeting was held on July 23, 2014 and the majority of the meeting was taken up by a discussion on the newly proposed McNicoll Bus Garage. There were 13 deputations on the new garage. Former Chair Karen Stintz put forward a motion to say that the funding for the garage should not be put forward until the entire system is accessible. The motion was voted down, but not without some support. Other commissioners suggested investigating other avenues for funding.

Sam Savona mentioned that there was another motion from the Board that passed to have Staff bring forward a report on where they can find the funding by delaying other projects. He encouraged the Committee and the public to make deputations to the Board that the system must be fully accessible by 2025.

Craig Nicol brought forward that the installation of door chimes on the Rocket trains was part of the discussion. It will cost $464,000 to install the door chimes and hand holds, far less than the original estimate, given TTC had credits available from the manufacturer.

There will be one more Board Meeting before the Election break.

13. Review of Correspondence

Susan Davidson, Chair, sent response letters to the deputants from earlier in 2014.

The ACAT Executive received an email from Eleanor Batsheldor, who tried to find information about ACAT on the website and was disappointed by the difficulty of access. Susan Davidson will respond.

14. Recommendations from Deputants

This item was resolved with the responses that went out to the deputants.

15. Other Items / New Business

a) Marian McDonell sent Committee members a revised schedule for Operator Training at Hillcrest. If any current or former ACAT members are interested, they need volunteers for Collectors Training, Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

b) Sam Savona mentioned the Mayoral Debate on Disability Issues is being held on September 22, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Ryerson Student Centre.

c) Tim Rose asked that discussion of the culture of accessibility meeting be placed on the Agenda for next month's meeting.

d) The Public Forum on Accessible Transit will be held on September 17, 2014. The ACAT Executive will distribute a schedule requesting volunteers to person the ACAT booth before or after the Forum. This is an excellent opportunity to speak with people and provide information to those who are interested in applying to ACAT. The Public Forum will be advertised in the Wheel-Trans newsletter, and there will be a TTC advertising campaign in the three weeks beforehand.

e) Susan Davidson mentioned that there is an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum entitled "Designs for Sitting" which features the work of Torontonian Izzy Camilleri, who designs and creates clothing for men and women who use wheel chairs.

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, August 28, 2014, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

17. Adjournment

Motioned by Tim Rose and seconded by Judy Berger, the meeting was adjourned at 3:20 p.m.
Janet Wright
Recording Secretary
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