ACAT Meeting - February 26, 2015
Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.
- Mazin Aribi, Chair
- Angela Rebeiro, Co-Vice Chair
- Judy Berger
- Karma Burkhar
- Nicole Cormier
- Margaret Hageman
- Joan Jordan
- Marian McDonell
- Bobbi Moore
- Craig Nicol
- Tim Rose
- Sam Savona
- Valdo Tammark
- Howard Wax
- James Bartlett
- Raymond Dell'Aera
- Jaspreet Dhaliwal
- Matt Hagg
- Dean Milton
- Eve Wiggins
- Jacqueline Darwood
- Andy Byford
- Richard Leary
- Chris Upfold
- Kirsten Watson
- Sameh Ghaly
- Vince Rodo
- Brad Ross
- Gary Shortt
- Mitch Stambler
- TTC Board Members
1. Call to Order / Attendance
2. Moment of Silence for Susan Davidson
3. Executive Vacancy
Angela Rebeiro advised ACAT members that, in keeping with the Terms of Reference, she and Mazin as well as TTC staff, discussed who the next ACAT Chair would be. It was decided that based on experience and knowledge of ACAT, and experience and knowledge of the disabilities community, and given that he had been ACAT Vice Chair last year, that Mazin Aribi will be ACAT Chair for the rest of 2015.
In taking over the role as Chair, Mazin addressed ACAT members to say that even though Susan Davidson left us unexpectedly, her memory and legacy will carry on. The torch will be carried with the help of all members and staff, to ensure that public transit in Toronto will get better with the hard work of all ACAT members.
Mazin thanked the members of the TTC management who attended Susan’s funeral service. He also extended a special thank you to the TTC for lowering its flag at the TTC buildings in memory of Susan.
Mazin informed the Committee that, in January, the TTC had leadership changes in the Bus Transportation division. Kirsten Watson has been appointed as Head of Bus Transportation, and Eve Wiggins was introduced to ACAT Members as Senior Manager of Wheel-Trans.
Election of New Vice Chair
An election, facilitated by Dean Milton, was held for a second Co-Vice Chair in accordance with the ACAT Terms of Reference. Dean Milton noted that if the individual is a Chair of a Subcommittee and they accept a position as Vice Chair, they will have to step down from the Chair position in the Subcommittee.
Judy Berger nominated Howard Wax, seconded by Joan Jordan. Howard Wax accepted.
Angela Rebeiro nominated Nicole Cormier, seconded by Tim Rose. Nicole Cormier accepted.
Marian McDonell nominated Sam Savona, seconded by Judy Berger. Sam Savona accepted.
Each nominated individual gave a brief speech as to why they would be suited for the position. After secret ballot voting and tabulations, Nicole Cormier was elected as the second Vice-Chair. Nicole accepted the position. Nicole had agreed that she would step down as Chair of the Service Planning Subcommittee.
Following the election, it was announced that the vacancy on ACAT would be filled by someone from the Pool and that person would be announced at the March meeting.
4. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
5. Approval of Agenda
- Mazin Aribi advised that three additional items would be discussed: (1) Culture of Accessibility, (2) Wheel-Trans information becoming available in different languages, and (3) addressing the concerns from Karma Burkhar about snow removal from sidewalks.
6. Review and Approval of January 29, 2015 Minutes
- Page 3, second paragraph under Business Arising should read: the Communications Subcommittee Chair asked ACAT to archive the past ACAT minutes. Dean Milton advised that he is going to talk to the committee about it."
- Page 3, under Business Arising out of Minutes, it should read, "Craig Nicol suggested we fall in line with TTC Board practice."
- Page 10, second paragraph from the bottom, should state "the TTC is making their web site much more visible and user friendly."
- Page 9, under Other/New Business, should read, “Craig Nicol advised that the Zebra crossing and Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS) proposals remain with the Public Works Committee, awaiting a report from City staff."
7. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items
Mazin Aribi suggested that if there are no new updates for the outstanding items, the existing items will continue to be recorded as ongoing and they will not be taken off the list until it is completed.
8. Deputation: Cindy Monk - Fuller
Ms. Monk-Fuller started off her presentation by thanking Wheel-Trans for the work that they do. She informed the Committee that she had a situation which necessitated her to call Wheel-Trans. Her 14-year old son has mental health issues and is now attending a new school and did not have transportation. She called Wheel-Trans to ask if they were an option to take her son to school and she was advised that it is not an option. She added that her son suffers from an anxiety disorder which prohibits him from going anywhere with crowds.
Mazin Aribi thanked Ms. Monk-Fuller for her presentation.
Howard Wax asked, if the TTC were to pick up her son, who would accompany him. Ms. Monk-Fuller stated that she would not have to accompany him. She said she is not advocating for just her son, but all individuals with mental health issues. Howard questioned who would be responsible for her son if he is to travel alone, as it should not be the bus driver.
Marian McDonell explained that Wheel-Trans accepts up to 900 individuals a month, who would set the criteria for individuals with mental disorders. Tim Rose advised the Member that the items that Ms. Monk-Fuller deputed on should be discussed further at the Subcommittee level, and not at the current meeting.
9. Update on Policy Framework for Toronto Transit Fare Equity
The development of a policy framework for fare equity was approved by City Council in June 2014, and the TTC and City of Toronto Social Development are to work together on this, along with other City agencies including the Board of Health. This report is available on the City of Toronto website (http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2014/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-70755.pdf).
There was an acknowledgement that while transit expansion will result in improved transit service across the City, that service will not be useful for all residents, particularly low-income residents, if they cannot access it due to fares that are prohibitively high. Currently, TTC discounts are not linked to financial needs, but rather, age. Staff are currently completing a jurisdictional review, looking at best practices in fare policy from around the world. There will be a report back to City Council at the end of this year.
Questions and Comments from the Subcommittee:
Judy Berger stated that social service organizations in the City give tokens to their clients and asked if they receive these tokens at a discounted rate. Chris Upfold noted that there are no discounts for external organizations.
Tim Rose asked if there would be room for discussion once the report comes out. The direction of the report is around income.
Valdo Tammark asked if seniors and students will still need a photo ID. The TTC is still working on the photo ID issue. Photo IDs are not required for customers under the age 19 and for seniors.
Angela Rebeiro stated that children 12 and under will now get on transit for free but they do not have ID cards. How will this be enforced? Chris Upfold noted that TTC wants to make Operators less responsible for being the fare enforcer. The majority of children are probably accompanied by an adult, but children who appear older can obtain a TTC-issued proof of age card from their school.
ACAT members asked to be kept up to date and aware of what is going on. This may include a presentation to ACAT.
10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) - Craig Nicol, Chair
The last meeting was held on February 18, 2015.
The first item discussed was external pre-boarding announcements on buses. This accessibility improvement needs to be in place by 2017. Engineering staff are proposing a new external announcement system that is integrated with the existing bus destination sign. DRS was satisfied with the approach Engineering is taking, but recommended that they consider additional functionality such as an announcement to ask customers to stand clear for ramp deployment. There will be five prototype buses outfitted with pre-boarding announcement systems in the next couple of months and DRS will be invited to a test session.
Fare Card Team staff attended to provide a PRESTO update. There will be more stations PRESTO-equipped than originally planned and the older streetcars will be PRESTO-equipped by the end of the year. There will be a more detailed update on PRESTO fare cards at the next meeting.
Staff also briefly updated DRS on the Easier Access design for Yorkdale Station, where changes to improve the slope of the proposed ramp will be made in response to recommendations made by DRS.
The next meeting will be held on March 4, 2015.
Communications Subcommittee (CS) - Marian McDonell, Chair
The last meeting was held on February 12, 2015.
Issues discussed included the accessibility audit of the TTC website, the safety campaign on pedestrians, the Twelve-Point Action Plan, issues of deployment of the ramp, snow removal, and the development of accessible flash cards.
Some discussion began regarding the purpose of the flash cards. Tim Rose stated that this is not a discussion at this point on our agenda. If there is a need for it, it should be discussed further at the next Communications Subcommittee meeting.
Craig Nicol asked who conducted the audit of the website. Marian stated that ACAT members should be involved in the audit.
ACAT requested that Eve Wiggins arrange for a presentation on the 12-Point Action Plan at the April ACAT meeting.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) - Sam Savona, Chair
The last meeting was held on February 19, 2015.
An election for Chair of the Subcommittee was held and Sam Savona was elected Chair. The following items were discussed at the meeting.
Auditor General’s Report Updates
Thomas Hartley spoke to this matter and updated any progress on the 22 recommendations that Wheel-Trans and the TTC should address. Highlights include:
- Discussion on the changes to Wheel-Trans eligibility 2nd to 3rd Quarter 2015, to be in place for January 1, 2017
- Telephone call-out to notify customers when they have received their 1st and 4th late cancellation or no-show
Review of Public Forum Questions and Staff Replies
A large part of the meeting was used to look at the comments from last year’s TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit. The questions were divided into common categories. All questions were captured verbatim so as not to change the essence of the comments.
Discussions are to be continued at the next meeting scheduled for March 5, 2015.
Pan Am Games Update
York Region will be running the “Call-One” Centre organizing all trips to Pan Am venues across the GTA. Wheel-Trans customers will be expected to book their rides through this specific Call Centre.
Also discussed was how Wheel-Trans will be procuring new vehicles for their fleet. Staff promised that ACAT will be involved in any discussion related to the procurement of new vehicles for Wheel-Trans service.
Members recommended having a joint meeting with the Design Review and Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittees at that time.
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) - Nicole Cormier, Chair
The last meeting was held on February 4, 2015 and the following items were discussed: Dundas West Station Elevator Overhaul and the 2015 Accessibility Plan Status Report.
Dundas West Station Elevator Overhaul
Damien Forbes, Senior Project Engineer, TTC Construction Department, attended to discuss the upcoming Dundas West Station elevator overhaul.
The elevator between street level, concourse, and the eastbound platform will be closed for sixteen weeks starting March 8, 2015 for a complete overhaul. The deadline is to reopen by the first week of July and in time for Pan Am / Para Pan Am Games. During this time, the existing elevator will be completely removed, and a brand new elevator cab, doors, and piston installed. The work is expected to make the elevator more reliable in the future and will bring the elevator up to current safety standards.
TTC will provide an accessible shuttle bus service during the elevator overhaul, running from Dundas West Station to Dufferin Station. The service will operate every 20 minutes during all subway opening hours using Wheel-Trans vehicles. The service will be available for anyone who would otherwise use the elevator. Signage and customer information staff will be in place, and the online trip planner will be updated to include the shuttle service.
It was discussed that sixteen weeks was a very long window. The Subcommittee was advised that staff have explored and implemented every measure that could compress the project into the shortest time possible. The required work is extensive and complex in nature.
It was brought to SPS’ attention that vendors using passenger elevators for heavy freight, and damage from elements such as snow, salt, water, and dirt contribute to deterioration. Some design efforts to prevent these elements from entering the elevator and the elevator shaft would be included in the remediation. Staff advised they would inquire with Property, Planning and Development as to what means may be available to prevent vendor misuse of elevators in this and other locations.
It was confirmed that information and communication features inside the elevator cab would also be upgraded to current standards for accessibility. Elevator mechanics will be on-call during the overhaul to ensure that the elevators at Dufferin Station remain operational.
2015 Accessibility Plan Status Report
The 2015 Accessibility Plan Status Report outlines completed and in-progress objectives from the 2014-2018 TTC Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, which was approved by the TTC Board in April 2014.
Staff advised that there were a total of 41 accessibility improvement objectives in the plan, 19 of which were targeted for the year 2014. Of these 19, only 2 remain outstanding. The remaining 22 objectives are in progress.
For a complete list of reported items, a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and accompanying Word Document are available. ACAT members are also invited to review the Approved Minutes once they are received. A copy of the 2015 Accessibility Plan Status Report will be provided to ACAT when it is finalized and provided to the Board.
The next meeting will be held on March 4, 2015.
11. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) – Angela Marley, ACAT Representative
12. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP)
Tim Rose reported that the last CLP meeting was held on February 11, 2015, chaired by Arthur Borkwood, Head of Customer Development. Two new members were introduced. The Panel shared observations on transit use and there was a lengthy discussion regarding the 2015 Customer Charter.
The next meeting will be held on March 11, 2015.
13. Report on ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with CEO and Chair
The meeting was held on February 9, 2015. Angela Rebeiro provided a report regarding the items that were discussed at their meeting.
Under this issue of fares, it was explained that giving free transit to children 12 and under is an attempt to give help and support to low-income families who, it is observed, are the main users of public transit. This fare removal is seen to help families get around the city and to take part in more activities than they might not otherwise enjoy.
In the meantime, the TTC has not forgotten ACAT’s requests for fare reductions for people with disabilities and seniors. In fact, the TTC and its Board have heard from many groups making requests for fare reductions. We were also told that once PRESTO is fully available, it will be much easier to address various fare reductions. For example, a PRESTO card carrier can be identified as an ODSP client so that a reduced fare would be removed on entry to a vehicle.
Community consultation will be conducted by the Poverty Reduction Strategy team, and Chair Colle noted and committed to ACAT being one of the groups that will be consulted.
A case was made for the evaluating options to replace some aging Wheel-Trans vehicles. There was an expressed concern that vehicles that would be restricted to one entrance and using lifts instead of ramps are neither safe nor can they be used efficiently. Mazin provided very detailed examples and arguments of problems with a lift at the back of a Wheel-Trans bus and the time it takes getting the person on and off the lift, but the real issues are safety and manoeuvrability, something not easily achieved on buses with lifts.
Andy Byford responded that TTC is looking at a lot of options. Nothing is carved in stone, but it had become important to secure less expensive and smaller vehicles and that the technology might be better advanced for lifts than it was a few years ago. ACAT Executive disagreed with that position quite strongly and did not believe that lifts are safe for people with canes, scooters, wheelchairs, and seniors who are unstable on their feet.
Andy Byford pointed out that the more customized a vehicle, the greater the cost, but that the TTC would not run “rough-shod over our valued concerns” while trying to acquire affordable vehicles.
Highway Traffic Act and New Streetcars
Neither TTC staff nor the Board Members had any news on these motions and believed that it is going to be a while before we hear anything. Nevertheless, Andy Byford did agree that the TTC would check on the motions to find where they might be in the system.
Sidewalk Debris, Snow, and other Difficulties
This discussion which included problems with curb cuts being made to routes where new streetcars will travel resulted in the decision that the TTC would invite the Transportation Department to meet with the Service Planning Subcommittee at its March meeting, which means that SPS will be making that report at the March ACAT meeting.
Ticketing Wheel-Trans Buses on King Street during Rush Hour
This item came to the attention of the ACAT Executive just before the meeting so it was raised with Andy Byford and Josh Colle. By the time of the meeting, however, the problem was being addressed and it was known that TTC was not paying for those tickets. The problem is largely with the Beck sedan taxis which are not always picking up Wheel-Trans customers, and which might be picking up other fares and standing too long in waiting for their customers.
Accessible Stations by 2025
The Capital Budget carries a note in it that the TTC does not have the funds to meet the AODA requirements to make all subway stations accessible by 2025. Andy Byford explained that, at this time, there is not enough funding to complete the job started to make all stations accessible by 2025. However, he assured us with optimism that the job will be completed by 2025.
14. ACAT Representation to the Relief Line Stakeholder Advisory Group
15. Review of Correspondence
16. Other/New Business
Tim Rose advised the Committee that his proposal on the Culture of Accessibility has been sent to Members electronically, in addition to the hardcopy distributed at the meeting. He further advised the Members that he would not be at the March meeting to discuss his proposal, so the discussion was moved to the April meeting. In the meantime, ACAT members were encouraged to review his proposal and to send questions to Tim Rose by email, before the April meeting.
Karma Burkhar spoke about the debris and snow that is making it difficult for Wheel-Trans to get around the City. Every year, there is a newspaper article about physically impaired individuals having a difficult time with the snow. The Wheel-Trans drop-off areas are very clean. Karma stated that she was dropped off in front of TTC Head Office but because it was such a clean area, other cars parked there as well. Bobbi Moore advised that she usually goes by herself to get groceries but Wheel-Trans needs to take her now. Bobbi stated that she had to drive on the road to get home rather than the sidewalk because of the amount of snow, which was unsafe. It was suggested that someone from Transportation come to meet with ACAT.
Mazin Aribi addressed the issue that there are some Wheel-Trans customers whose first language is not English. If there were materials available for different languages, this might cut back on the amount of no-shows. This matter was referred to Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.
17. Next Meeting
The meeting was adjourned at 3:22 p.m.