ACAT Meeting - September 25, 2014
Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.
- Susan Davidson, Chair
- Mazin Aribi, Co-Vice Chair
- Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair
- Karma Burkhar
- Angela Marley
- Lynn McCormick
- Marian McDonell
- Bobbi Moore
- Craig Nicol
- Angela Rebeiro
- Sam Savona
- Anna Barath
- Margaret Hageman
- Sarah Adams
- Bill Castor
- Judy Berger
- Debbie Gillespie
- Jerry Borins
- Kirsten Watson
- Jacqueline Darwood
- Matt Hagg
- Ross Visconti
- 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
2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
3. Approval of Agenda
On motion by Sam Savona and seconded by Bobbi Moore, the Committee reviewed and accepted the Agenda with the following revisions:
- Sam Savona will report on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT under New Business.
- Item #7 - TTC Funding must be held at 1:15 p.m. but will be moved to whenever the speaker arrives.
4. Review and Approval of August 28, 2014 Minutes
On motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Mazin Aribi, the Committee reviewed and accepted the Minutes with the following revisions:
- Page 10, first paragraph, revise "other drivers" to "motorists"
- Page 11, Item b, revise "written" to "with input from"
- Page 11, Item b, revise "he wrote it" to "the article is"
- Page 11, Item b, revise "26 centre platforms" to "28 centre platforms"
- Page 12, Item e, revise "H-posts" to "H-shaped columns"
5. TTC Funding
Mike Roche, TTC Head of Finance, presented an explanation of the rumoured "pot of money" that the TTC was reportedly returning to the City in May, as covered by media.
Each year, the TTC prepares a budget based on estimated ridership, stating what resources are needed including vehicles, personnel, infrastructure, fuel, etc. They compile the total expenses and compare it to the estimated revenue from riders. The City will usually provide a subsidy based on the difference between estimated expenses and revenue. As the year progresses, the ridership and costs are reviewed and there are inevitably differences between the estimates and the actual numbers. In 2013, the reality was lower and the TTC required less subsidy by $48 million. Therefore, the TTC did not give money back to the City, but required less subsidy.
The TTC asked the City if the money could be given anyway, to help offset costs in 2014. However, the City's surpluses are put into a pool that goes into the City's capital funding, of which the TTC is a big beneficiary, receiving 75% of corporate reserves in 2014. From that pool, it is estimated that the TTC will receive $120 million, plus $10 million in employment benefits. So, instead of keeping the $48 million, the TTC will let the City go through their processes and receive a much larger subsidy.
Mazin Aribi explained that the Committee's concern is the continuation of funding for the TTC's Easier Access III program, and possible delays in meeting the AODA stipulation that all stations must be accessible by 2025.
Mike Roche agreed that this is a concern. To retrofit 69 stations costs $600 million, and currently nearly half of the stations have been retrofitted. Last year, in preparing the capital budget for 2014 to 2023, the total ask for subsidy from the City was $9 billion for projects. The City said that they could not afford this at this time, and requested that the TTC remove items from the list. Although the TTC cannot remove items, per se, they could postpone those items that do not require a decision in 2014, which included the EA III project as well as approximately half of other projects, such as the replacement of T1 trains. The TTC does intend to meet the AODA requirement and will put more pressure on the provincial government and look for more infrastructure funding programs. The removal of the project from the budget does not mean the TTC would not finish the project.
Susan Davidson, Chair, made a statement indicating ACAT support if the TTC goes to the table with the federal or provincial government. Mike Roche will bring that back to Vince Rodo and Andy Byford.
Tim Rose expressed that, although Mike Roche’s presentation alleviated some concern, the EA III project cannot become a luxury item and left off the project list if the funding does not come through. Mike Roche agreed.
Sam Savona related an experience in the past when TTC Finance explained to the Committee how the budgets were structured, with an imaginary line delineating the "must haves" from the "wish to haves." His concern is that EAIII has fallen from the first category into the second. Mike Roche explained that EA III is solidly in the first category, and has only been removed because it is an item that does not immediately need to move forward. They are hoping that new programs will result in more funding from the federal government.
The Committee will be kept informed as the TTC moves forward.
6. Deputation: Tim Archer
Tim Archer from Advanced Listening Ltd., a Canadian company, presented a listening system for persons with hearing impairments that has been implemented in public spaces, proposing that they could also be installed in subway stations.
The system is called an "audio induction loop," where a microphone or audio source is fed through an amplifier that sends the signal through a loop of wire, which can then be received by a hearing aid, so long as the hearing aid has a T-coil and the T-coil, or "telephone mode," setting is selected. This eliminates the majority of distracting background noise by transmitting the audio source directly to the person's hearing aid, similar to wearing wireless headphones. These can be used at kiosks or, if the wire loops an entire room, can be used for presentations given to an audience.
This system has been installed in public places in Europe, the UK, such as on London taxis and the Underground, and the US, including the New York City Subway system where it has been installed at every Help station and ticket booth.
T-coils are already in 70 to 80% of hearing aids and audiologists simply need to be asked to program the hearing aid.
An audio example was presented, demonstrating the removal of ambient noise.
The mandate of the company is to "loop Canada". They have installed 200 systems on the West Coast in the last year and a half, though not in transit systems. The estimated cost for the systems per location, including design, installation, and equipment, was $700.
Craig Nicol explained that Metrolinx is planning to have this technology in their design requirements. The TTC could install it at Collector booths, at Push for Help buttons, and possibly at station platforms.
Mazin Aribi asked if an automatic translation to text display would be possible. Tim Archer will investigate this.
The Committee thanked the deputant and will accept this item for information, keeping track of it through the Design Review Subcommittee.
7. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items
Angela Marley brought forward an item from Page 7 of the Minutes, where the Communications Subcommittee reported that there would be competition with strollers in mobility device spaces on the new streetcars. Staff response was 'strollers have to be accommodated as there are customers in them.' The Committee was concerned about this response and discussed that more clarity is required on the policy about priority seating, which does state that customers must give up the priority seats for customers using wheel chairs or other mobility devices. Both customers and Operators must know this policy and how to handle situations where someone needs to move.
This item was referred to the Communications Subcommittee for customer education. It will also return to ACAT at the October meeting with Operations staff invited to discuss the policy which will apply to all TTC vehicles.
Craig Nicol brought forward an item from Page 8 of the Minutes, the Communications Subcommittee Outstanding Item - Subway Interchange Station Announcements. The item states that the interchange station announcement was removed and that members felt the information was helpful and should be reintroduced. However, a new announcement has already been introduced with the addition of specifying which line it transfers to.
Regarding Outstanding Item Accessibility at Transit Stops, Marian McDonell requested the removal of the line "and may be worded differently on the Subcommittee's Outstanding Items List."
Regarding Outstanding Item - Incorporating "Accessibility Matters" on all Board Reports, Sam Savona requested an update and a completion date. Susan Davidson stated that she would follow up with Kevin Lee. This item is also reported on later in the current Minutes.
Regarding Outstanding Item Tracking of Reduced Fares Issues Response, Sam Savona requested an update. Matt Hagg reported that the City has asked their staff in conjunction with TTC to report back in 2015 on reduced fares for residents with low income.
The Committee discussed the possibility of asking for a quarterly update on every item, with the date and a statement of whether there is a response from Staff or not. The Committee agreed to this procedure.
8. Update on Accessibility Matters on TTC Board Reports
This update corresponds to the Outstanding Item Incorporating "Accessibility Matters" on all Board Reports.
Kirsten Watson, Wheel-Trans, had a conversation with Kevin Lee, who provided an update. They have a new, computerized tracking system in place that indicates when staff register board reports and the different issues or items to acknowledge or explain. This will include accessibility, to reflect the TTC strategic plan. They are currently developing a communication plan to managers who use the system, and are planning an end of year roll out. Kevin Lee asked to review it with ACAT.
The Committee suggested the Communications Subcommittee, either the next meeting or the one following, after which it will be reported to the Committee. The Outstanding Item will be updated with this report.
9. Update on Platform Gap Issue at Eglinton Station
This item will be reported on in detail in the Design Review Subcommittee report.
Matt Hagg provided additional comments:
TTC Engineering will take additional measurements of the height of train doors over the next few weeks. Engineering and Architectural groups will then meet to discuss the best locations to install the "ramps". They will also be looking at gaps in nearby stations in their evaluation of where the best locations are to construct them. They want to avoid forcing customers to board and deboard at locations where, when they arrive at other stations, the gap is an issue.
Once the analyses are complete, Engineering will construct a mock-up of the changes, which will then be tested by Committee members. If members are satisfied, construction will begin at Eglinton Station.
Note that this solution will address the vertical gap only.
10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Angela Rebeiro, Chair
The last meeting was held on September 3, 2014.
Mary Leo-Oliver, TTC Special Events, and Matt Hagg, TTC Service Planning, presented an update on the plans for the September 17, 2014 Public Forum, emphasizing solutions to issues that were brought forward at the last ACAT meeting.
New Streetcar Ramp Deployment Standard Operating Procedure
Streetcar Operations staff provided the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the new streetcar ramp deployment. Subcommittee members had previously sent in comments via email, and discussed additional issues.
In general, the SOP does not differentiate between street and platform loading. These should be separated, as the operations are very different and follow two sets of rules.
The Subcommittee made specific comments and recommendations for the wording of particular items, which can be found in the Service Planning Subcommittee Minutes. Members then provided feedback on the new streetcar, which Staff responded to.
Staff will pass on the Subcommittee's comments, and request the other SOPs for review.
Proposed Motion re: Highway Traffic Act and New Streetcars
The Subcommittee decided on one of three proposed recommendations regarding the Highway Traffic Act and the new streetcars, proposed by Craig Nicol. This recommendation, which has been distributed to Committee members, will be posed as a motion after this report.
Union Station – Accessible Alternatives
The Subcommittee discussed concerns about the Ambassadors at Union Station and other stations. They do not always know of alternate accessible routes when there is an elevator outage. The Subcommittee believed that Ambassadors, as well as all Station staff, must be educated on alternatives, transfers, and signage.
Additionally, Ambassadors on the new streetcars should be educated on the use of the ramp and the AODA. For example, if a person is already in the mobility device location and someone using a mobility device enters the vehicle, the first person may need to move. Very clear signage specifying what customers should and should not do may also be required.
Staff will investigate who trains the Ambassadors and the information they are being given, and invite the person responsible to attend the next meeting.
Feedback from the Joint Service Planning/Communications Meeting
Angela Marley reported that the priority seating demonstration was very similar to information already provided to ACAT, but that the package did not include feedback already given by ACAT. Comments included the need for immediate education and consistent terminology.
Regarding the streetcar presentation, Margaret Hageman was unable to attend the meeting, but sent her comments, indicating that Ambassadors and Operators will need accessibility training. Customers will need education provided from the Ambassadors, and motorists will need to be educated on new safety procedures. She seemed to suggest that more discussion was required, which was addressed in the current meeting.
Angela Marley added that streetcar operators should now be included in the recertification training with which ACAT is involved.
Mazin Aribi brought forward the observation that when the ramp deploys, it hits the tactile strip at the edge of the Spadina Station platform and sticks. The Subcommittee observed that its members had advised against installing a tactile strip, and they were concerned that it had been ignored, and requested that this be discussed in the Design Review Subcommittee.
Angela Marley noted that, once new streetcars are in use, the accessible door loading area would be marked on the platform.
Mazin Aribi requested information on what is and is not working on the streetcar.
Highway Traffic Act Motion
Angela Rebeiro read out the motion prepared by Craig Nicol and posed by the Subcommittee.
SUBJECT: IMPROVING PEDESTRIAN SAFETY WHEN CROSSING TO STREETCARS AT STOPS WHERE NO PLATFORM EXISTS.
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 the streetcar at stops where no platform exists.
There is a concerted and cooperative effort, between the TTC and the City of Toronto, to improve pedestrian safety on Toronto's streets, and to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries which result from pedestrian-vehicular contacts. This has been a primary focus of work being done by the City's Public Realm group as well as the Traffic Services Division of the Toronto Police Services.
With the current streetcar fleet operating in mid-roadway there has been a persistent safety problem with motorists passing streetcars stopped with doors open for passenger boarding and deboarding. It may be argued that the new streetcar increases the problem with more points of passenger entry and doors which may not be as visible when open since they do not project from the side of the streetcar.
For any system to be accessible the transit vehicles and access to those vehicles must also be accessible. When transit vehicles are separated from the sidewalk by traffic lanes pedestrian movement between the sidewalk and the transit vehicle exposes pedestrians to vehicular hazards.
This matter is of particular importance on TTC streetcar routes. Most streetcar routes operate in the centre of streets and where platforms do not exist customers must embark and disembark directly from the roadway. Customers must cross at least one lane of traffic when moving between the sidewalk and a streetcar, so the TTC has a special interest in, and obligation regarding, improving the safety of such customer movements.
ACAT recommends that the TTC Board, in conjunction with the City of Toronto, request that the Province of Ontario amend Section 166 of the Highway Traffic Act to require:
Every driver on a public right of way encountering, from the rear, a stopped streetcar that is stationary for the purpose of taking on or discharging passengers, has its rear “Do Not Pass” sign and red sidelight signal-lights flashing, shall stop 2 metres behind the streetcar or an entry door, as the case may be, and shall not proceed until the “Do Not Pass” sign and red signal-lights have stopped flashing, and passengers have safely reached the side of the road.
Mazin Aribi brought forward the concern that the motion specifies stopping two metres behind the streetcar or an entry door, and that this may encourage motorists to pass alongside the vehicle's closed doors after it is stopped, making it impossible and dangerous for people to enter the street to trigger the accessible door and ramp. He suggested removing "or an entry door," which would ask clearly for the most safe operation of the streetcar.
Craig Nicol explained that the streetcar Operator will arm the doors and the warning lights and sign will flash. This will stop traffic, but motorists will inevitably be caught next to the streetcar when it stops and need to know where to stop when the lights begin to flash. If the doors are armed, drivers cannot pass the streetcar. However, in some cases, vehicles may inadvertently be blocking the doors and need to be able to move forward; otherwise the Operator cannot operate and open the doors.
The Committee discussed this issue, with support for and against removing "or an entry door." An agreement was not reached. It was proposed that, because the Highway Traffic Act will be written by lawyers, a discussion about the particular wording was not required so long as the motion captured the Committee's intention to reword the law to ensure safety. If or when the law is modified, the Committee will have a chance to comment.
Angela Rebeiro moved to forward the Highway Traffic Act Motion to the Board. Tim Rose seconded. Nine members voted in favour, two were opposed, and none abstained. The motion was passed.
The next meeting will be held on October 8, 2014.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Lynn McCormick, Chair
No meeting since last ACAT meeting.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair
The last meeting was held on September 3, 2014.
Tom Kliem, TTC Construction, provided an update on streetcar platform design, responding to Subcommittee advice on improving passenger safety. The new design will be finalized and brought back to the Subcommittee, after which the Subcommittee indicated an intention to approach the TTC Board to assign capital funds to upgrade existing platforms.
Harrison, TTC Wayfinding and Signage, presented an update on the new materials for Braille and tactile signage. The new materials are in metal to address issues of durability. The Subcommittee was satisfied with the quality of the prototype buttons. Discussion took place regarding standardization of elevator level identification and directory information. There is a legacy issue of unusual names for levels, as the Elevating Devices section is currently replicating these names when they perform elevator repairs. A list of these unusual names has previously been compiled. The next step is to conduct trials at St. Andrew and Dufferin Stations. Harrison will return to the Subcommittee once a project to upgrade elevator buttons is in place, estimated to be in 2015.
Allan Foster, TTC Farecard Team, attended via teleconference to update the Subcommittee on progress with the PRESTO devices. Field testing of PRESTO devices on streetcar is expected in late September. Staff will advise on participation. The Subcommittee reminded Allan Foster about the issues of accessibility identified but not yet resolved. A further round of human factors testing is to be scheduled, which will hopefully address concerns. Add Value Machines will be introduced in 2015; however, the Subcommittee again reminded Allan Foster of deficiencies already pointed out for correction before introduction.
Pierre Laurin, TTC Engineering, presented an update on the vertical gap at Eglinton Station. A temporary solution was proposed to overcome the vertical gap by sloping the tactile edge marker strip along the south end edge of the platform for a length of two doors, creating a ramp to enter the train. The Subcommittee agreed that this may be practical; however, it advised that the "ramp" should be for the length of one car and that moving it further north would reduce the horizontal gap problem. Pierre Laurin will take this back and look into the detailed surveys and testing.
The Outstanding Items List was updated with several items closed.
The next meeting will be held on October 3, 2014, and the issue of wayfinding tiles on centre platforms will be discussed.
Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marian McDonell, Chair
No meeting since last ACAT meeting.
The next meeting will be held on October 7, 2014. The new Customer Communications Manager, Deborah Brown, will be invited to meet the Subcommittee.
11. Customer Liaison Panel Report
Presented by Angela Marley, the 2014 CLP ACAT Representative.
The meeting was held September 10, 2014, chaired by Arthur Borkwood, Head of Customer Development. The 2014 Second Quarter Customer Satisfaction Survey results were presented by Viktoriya Artemyeva, Research Manager. She reported that they have conducted a customer satisfaction survey of customers who use Wheel-Trans and are compiling the results.
Mitch Stambler, Head of Strategy and Service Planning, presented the TTC document, “Opportunities to Improve Transit Services in Toronto”, that was accepted by the Board at the August meeting and reported by Vice Chair Tim Rose in his Board meeting report at the ACAT August meeting. This report outlines initiatives that the TTC can undertake in the short-to-medium term to improve transit service.
Members contributed observations on their transit use. Angela Marley reported on her trip using accessible routes during the planned Bloor-Lawrence subway closure. This report included commendations and concerns and has been forwarded to Customer Service.
Two members of the CLP as well as Arthur Borkwood and Michelle Picard, the CLP support staff, attended the 2014 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit on September 17, 2014. They stated they gained a lot of information about the challenges faced by customers who need accessibility features.
The new edition of the Ride Guide Lite "Take One" pamphlet was circulated. Copies were provided to ACAT members.
The next meeting will be held on October 8, 2014.
12. Culture of Accessibility
13. Review of Correspondence
14. Other Items / New Business
a) Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee Update – Sam Savona & Sarah Adams
Sam Savona reported on the September 23, 2014 meeting at Metrolinx regarding the Eglinton Crosstown, which he and Sarah Adams attended on behalf of ACAT.
For the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, it was reported staff are still working with the companies who will be bidding for the contract to build and maintain this line. Staff are ensuring that these companies have a clear idea of what is expected of them. The communication between Metrolinx and these companies will end at the end of 2014. The reasoning for this communication is so the company can give a more accurate cost. It was also stated that this contract would be a 30-year contract so all the upkeep of stations will be their responsibility.
Members had concerns about fare lines and being able to connect with someone within the station. It was reported that, although there will not be a ticket booth with a person in it, there will be call buttons via which staff who will be roaming within the station will be able to communicate through a handheld device. These call buttons will be equipped with keyboard access. All of these stations will be on the PRESTO system.
Another concern brought forward was single elevator access. It was reported that it would be the responsibility of the company who wins the contract to either design stations with multiple accessible routes, or provide alternative service between stations while an elevator is out of service. Within this contract, there will be standards, which will have to be met, as to how long an elevator is out of service and the quality of shuttle service between stations. If these standards are not met, financial penalties will be applied to the company and will continue until the elevator is back in service. In future meetings, they will be discussing in more detail the design of the stations, design of equipment within stations, and setting standards.
b) Marian McDonell thanked the staff who came out for the September 17 Public Forum, and commended the effective advertisement that brought people to the Forum. She was happy to see so many staff in different roles, which encouraged attendees to ask questions.
c) Marian McDonell reminded the Committee that the ACAT Orientation / Information session is on October 1 and 2, 2014 and there is not much information available to the public.
Kirsten Watson stated that staff will look into making this information available on the TTC website, the Wheel-Trans website, on the Ride Line, and in the Metro. She will enquire about having announcements over the subway system.
Angela Marley reminded Committee members to recruit applicants from their contacts.
d) Mazin Aribi commented that pamphlets for the Public Forum are still available on subway cars. Kirsten Watson responded that outdated materials on vehicles are an ongoing maintenance issue, and that they are trying to keep up.
e) Angela Marley commented that the item "Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters" is a standing item on the ACAT agenda. Although for the current meeting there was no September Board meeting to report on, this item should be retained.