ACAT Meeting - September 24, 2015
Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.
- Mazin Aribi, Chair
- Angela Rebeiro, Co-Vice Chair
- Tim Rose, Co-Vice Chair
- Judy Berger
- Karma Burkhar
- Raymond Dell’Aera
- Jaspreet Dhaliwal
- Margaret Hageman
- Marian McDonell
- Bobbi Moore
- Craig Nicol
- Sam Savona
- Valdo Tammark
- James Bartlett
- Joan Jordan
- Howard Wax
- Matt Hagg
- Dean Milton
- Eve Wiggins
- Andy Byford
- Richard Leary
- Chris Upfold
- Kirsten Watson
- Susan Reed Tanaka
- 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
4. Review and Approval of August 27, 2015 Minutes
On motion by Sam Savona and seconded by Craig Nicol, the Minutes of August 27, 2015 were approved with the following amendments:
- At the bottom of Page 4, the last sentence, immediately following the words “yellow demarcation”, “from the bus platform” should be inserted.
- On Page 5, “Dundas Station” should be replaced with “Dundas West Station” to avoid confusion.
5. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items
- Robert Muzzy
- Greg Contaxis
7. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair
Craig Nicol reported that DRS met on September 9, 2015.
A proposal by the City to install a two-way cycle track on Lakeshore Boulevard near Royal York Road was discussed. The proposed cycle track would be similar to what is currently available on Sherbourne Street, where the sidewalk has tactile markings to divide the cycle track from the sidewalk. The difficulty with that location is that two services serve these stops, streetcars and buses. There is no clear indication of where to wait for either service. TTC should look at installing two stop poles, one for the bus route and one for the streetcar route; and also, having identification on the pole, including tactile identification to indicate which route the pole serves.
Accessible signage and wayfinding was discussed and the following points were considered:
- Ground markings at bus bays in subway stations. It was pointed out that this is already in place at Pape and Don Mills stations.
- Elevator signage inconsistencies with respect to level designation. This occurs at the Queen/Yonge and Bloor/Yonge stations.
- Tactile bus stop identification. Further investigation is required and feedback will be provided.
DRS talked about removing the audible announcement discussion, which indicates which side will open at the next stop, from the DRS Outstanding Items List because the software is being installed.
Also discussed was the pre-boarding announcement trial period. It is on schedule and it is expected that installation will begin at the end of the year. By the end of next year, all buses in the fleet will have pre-boarding announcements in place to meet requirements.
The CNIB is making some changes to their guidelines with respect to tactile markings at intersection points. Matt Hagg agreed to raise the issue with Engineering.
The next meeting is scheduled for October 7, 2015.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Sam Savona, Chair
The last WTOS meeting was held on September 23, 2015, and two sets of previous Minutes were approved.
WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff (WSPPB) presented the Subcommittee with their review and recommendations for changes to the eligibility criteria for Wheel-Trans. Topics included new eligibility requirements: Unconditional, conditional, and temporary in order to be compliant with AODA. It was also suggested that all disabilities be considered, physical, cognitive, and sensory, to determine whether a customer would be able to use conventional transit. A hybrid approach would be in line with best practice, i.e. an application plus an in-person interview.
WSPPB recommended that a medical verification of the application should also be considered. Consultation with the public, community leaders, advocates, agencies, and politicians will be required over the next few months.
An ad hoc group involving ACAT members may be required when meeting with other groups. WTOS agreed to have a follow-up meeting within two weeks to further discuss this process.
WTOS heard from Stuart Gilchrist, Manager - Lakeshore Garage, to receive feedback on the ProMaster bus. Overall feedback was positive. The bus can accommodate three customers using mobility devices and four ambulatory customers. Presently, this bus has only a rear ramp entry; however, a side entry ramp will be installed. WTOS members would like to retest the bus when the side ramp is installed. WTOS members would also like to see whether ambulatory seating can be arranged in different configurations.
Eve Wiggins was asked to coordinate discussion with other transit properties, perhaps through CUTA or APTA, to see if common bus types can be purchased by all specialized transit providers. This item has been moved to the Outstanding Items List.
Michelle Hall, Safety and Training Coordinator, Wheel-Trans, demonstrated why the manufacturer-installed hooks cannot be used to properly secure raise and tilt wheelchairs. A 45-degree angle of the securement belt must be maintained to have the wheelchair secure. She demonstrated why O-rings and an extra belt are used to stabilize these models and prevent tipping.
Dean Milton explained that policy dictates that all drivers accommodate service animals, and failure to do so would result in an investigation and disciplinary action. WTOS agreed that both incidents involving Ms. DiMarco were properly investigated and appropriate actions were taken. WTOS asked that the ACAT Executive e-mail Ms. DiMarco informing her of the Subcommittee’s decision.
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Valdo Tammark, Chair
SPS held a meeting on September 2, 2015.
There was a presentation given by Mike Palmer, Deputy Chief Operation Officer. He advised that Toronto is transitioning to an OPTO (One Person Train Operation) system. The driver would be responsible for the safe operation of the train, operation of train doors, and train door monitoring on departure. There has been Union opposition on safety grounds; however, experience in London has shown that, in fact, the OPTO lines had less door-related incidents than conventional lines.
Four cameras would monitor the platform, and cameras will be tested daily ensuring continuous coverage. It was explained in detail how the cab would look with the new controls, and the safety aspects were also discussed in detail.
The pilot project on Line 4, the Sheppard line, will begin in early 2016 and will include live exercises to test evacuation from trains, driver collapse/rescue, disabled train recovery, and smoke resistance. Also, because one driver has been removed, there will be an additional person on the platform or in the concourse of the station.
Matt Hagg, Service Planning, discussed the driver compartment door on buses with respect to training guidelines. ACAT had recommended that the door be kept closed as it may be a safety hazard. There are no current guidelines with respect to the driver compartment door on buses but it will now be introduced into Operator Training that the door ought to be closed.
TTC Operations has asked for feedback on the new message regarding subway doors opening on the left or right side. There have been several customer complaints on the matter; however, pre-boarding announcements and external door chimes add to the safety of people entering or exiting the train. SPS discussed the issue and saw no problem with the implementation of the announcements. Customer Service staff may have to be trained to answer questions on the intent of the announcements to educate customers who make inquiries.
The next SPS meeting is scheduled for the first week of October 2015.
Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marian McDonell, Chair
CS met on September 11, 2015. The June 19, 2015 Minutes were approved.
The final version of the ACAT brochure, “Making Toronto Accessible” was distributed with the insert and was well received. Two posters have been prepared for the “Stay Focused/Stay Safe” safety campaign. The focus was on “Board First/Exit Last” and, also, “Stand Back”, which illustrates the ramp being deployed.
There will be a photo shoot on September 25, 2015 at Queensway Division. The posters will be placed inside vehicles and stations. They will be produced in three sizes and will be broadcast on screen in stations. Print ads will appear in 24 Hours newspaper.
Videos for the new streetcar and bus accessibility features are being considered. A YouTube video will be created with a brief storyboard containing the main points to be captured and will be sent to the CS Chair to review, ensuring that the right shots are captured. There will be a short video for both streetcars and buses. It is hoped that these videos will be used for training sessions. There is a video on YouTube focusing on the Courtesy Campaign that was produced for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. A link can be sent to interested parties.
The Blue Flash Card needs to be differentiated from the proposed Travel Assistance Card. The Blue Card lets the Operator know that the ramp should be deployed; and the Travel Assistance Card indicates that the holder has an invisible disability and requires another form of help. No change in policy is planned. It was suggested that the Communications Subcommittee’s approval be obtained before escalation to the Executive Committee. A mock-up of the new card will be brought to CS for its input in November.
The new Style Guide has been reviewed by the Communications Subcommittee. A final internal review is required followed by design approval and subsequent release of a booklet online. Some wording of the station announcements will be tied into this guide to achieve consistency.
A comparison was done showing the existing subway maps and the proposed new ones, which incorporate the new typography of the Wayfinding System and the new line numbering system. There was a discussion on ways to simplify the information to make it easier to read. It was noted that it will not be possible for the new maps to be put on Line 2; so information pertaining only to Line 1 needs to be included, e.g. accessibility points, washrooms, interchange points, etc. The possibility of eliminating street addresses and parking was discussed to enable station names, transfer points, and other information to appear in larger type.
Two different maps will be prepared for the next meeting: One map will show Line 1 only, removing addresses and parking, while increasing the size of interchange points and making them more visible. The second map will list all four lines to determine whether font size is appropriate. The Legacy names are gradually being phased out, so that may be an option to create space on the maps. There will also be space for the new TYSSE stations to be added.
There has been an initial refusal for signage to be placed at the Eglinton subway platform elevator concerning the gap. The presumption is that a customer who is challenged by the gap is now able to board anywhere. Staff will discuss with management in advance of next month’s meeting.
More testing is required for external bus announcements. System-wide external bus announcements should be completed in 2017.
There has been a focus on Wheel-Trans transfer points at all subway stations. Wheel-Trans is working on a project to get correct address information for all stations to eliminate discrepancies.
8. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) – Tim Rose, Chair
The Customer Liaison Panel met on the September 9, 2015.
The meeting took place at the Hillcrest Yard. It was the second meeting with the new Customer Liaison Panel members, and an informative tour of Transit Control was provided. A detailed presentation followed, which was given by the Customer Development Group on Transit Control. A second detailed presentation on the Customer Service Plan, which was implemented last year, took place.
The Chair appreciated seeing three members of the Customer Liaison Panel attend the TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit.
The next meeting is to take place on Wednesday, October 14, 2015.
9. Report on ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with CEO and Chair
The Quarterly meeting of the ACAT Executive with the CEO and Chair took place on September 15, 2015.
There was a follow-up to the June 1, 2015 meeting, including a discussion of the Fare Policy. Two ACAT members, Margaret Hageman and Sam Savona, were invited into the fare equity discussion.
ACAT is working with staff on marking boarding and de-boarding areas, as well as working with the City of Toronto, as it applies to street furniture, implementing standards, measurements, and bylaws to facilitate boarding and de-boarding.
ACAT is participating in an educational/marketing campaign that involves photo shoots and a short video to demonstrate the importance of priority boarding. The bylaw is difficult to implement and a stronger case must be built; perhaps, using other cities as a model. It is necessary to find an example of a transit agency that has policies and bylaws where people must give way to a person with a disability to board first.
Inviting the ACAT Chair onto the TTC Board as a non-voting member has the continued support of the TTC Chair, Vice-Chair, and CEO. While it appears there are no impediments to this occurring, there will be further investigation into the TTC bylaws to ascertain whether this is problematic. Having the ACAT Chair on the TTC Board should not preclude one of the citizen Board members being a person with a disability. Given that the TTC considers accessible transportation a priority, one of the citizen Board members should be at the table to ensure continuity for accessible transportation.
Invitations have been extended to TTC Board members, civilians, and Councillors to attend ACAT meetings. It has been suggested that the position could be rotational or, alternatively, if Board members are unavailable, perhaps, a designate could be appointed. Further investigation into TTC Bylaws regarding the ACAT Chair on the TTC Board as an ex officio is warranted. TTC Board members will be publicly asked to attend ACAT meetings at the next TTC Board meeting.
Josh Colle agreed to recommend to the Civic Appointments Committee that, in the future, at least one of the four positions on the TTC Board be filled by a person with a disability. As this may take some time, barring resignation or circumstances which cause the TTC Board to replace a member, it will be incumbent on the future Executive to ensure that this item remain on the agenda. Ultimately, it was decided to place it on the list as a standing item on the Quarterly Agenda with the CEO and a regular item on that meeting’s agenda. This ensures that the TTC Board is aware of ACAT’s continued interest to participate.
Changes to the Highway Traffic Act regarding boarding and de-boarding of the new streetcars cannot be achieved. A letter was drafted to the Minister of Transport, and the reply indicated that future changes in the Act may address current concerns.
Lift-equipped buses for Wheel-Trans are no longer an issue. They are not safe or practical. The new proposed vehicles are shorter, less expensive, and come equipped with two ramps and space for three people with mobility devices, plus four other seated passengers in fixed chairs. It was determined that more testing is required when the second side ramp is added. Also, seating configuration for ambulatory customers needs to be tested. Eve Wiggins stated that, as a result of the changing the eligibility criteria under the AODA, there may be a need for multi-seat configurations for these vehicles at the time of purchase.
A concern was expressed regarding the length of time it has taken to affect a change with respect to the TR subway map legends. Over the past three years, the request has remained outstanding. The current type used is very small and virtually unreadable. Consideration was given to having an announcement of accessible stations as the train approaches. However, proper wording and future investigation is required.
ACAT members have expressed a need for subway addresses to be posted. The TTC has asked ACAT to come back with specific reasons as to why these addresses are important, given that the stations are known and identified by their names. ACAT is to offer specific details at the next Quarterly meeting as to why these addresses are required and should be posted. This item will be discussed further by SPS.
ACAT expressed concern for the delay in the installation of the exterior door chimes and speakers on TR and wishes to ensure these changes are implemented prior to introducing the TR on the Sheppard line and before the implementation of the OPTO (One Person Train Operation). The work is underway and should be completed by mid-2016.
The next meeting will be on November 19, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. at City Hall.
10. New ACAT Member Information Sessions
11. Other/New Business
In 2006, when the trains were first designed, a request was made to provide directional announcements to advise passengers exiting the train. The request was again made upon the delivery of the trains. We are now getting the announcements on the train. Providing exiting information is very useful. It is beneficial to those who are directionally or visually impaired, seniors, and people who experience difficulty accessing the door quickly.
The announcement system does not appear to be active at all stations, however. This issue warrants discussion and should be brought up at DRS, where it was previously discussed.
The planned subway closures were brought up in July and were referred to Service Planning. The issues were described and appeared to be a very straightforward set of fixes. There were a couple of items to add:
- Get an information package to the booth Collectors so that they are aware when there are accessible shuttles and where they are.
- Signage improvements, language describing what the shuttle is and where it is located.
- Mr. Ross undertook to double-check to ensure that TTC Customer Service people were on the platform; they are supposed to always have someone in an orange vest.
Since July, there have been a few other planned subway closures, but the suggested fixes have not been acted upon. Some follow-up is required to confirm current status. Has it been implemented? Why or why not?
Frontline staff needs to be more knowledgeable. People in orange vests are often a third party. Information is not being disseminated appropriately. Frontline staff need to be debriefed on accessibility. Possible solutions include an invitation to Union and middle management to attend a set number of meetings. Invite the Union and middle management to attend an ACAT meeting to better service its customers.
Pan Am Games Update:
Thanks to the TTC for the service regarding the Pan Am Games.
Recommendations for Susan Davidson Memorial Plaque
Angela Rebeiro suggested that the final draft be circulated via e-mail. There will be space, two or three columns, available to add more people. Submissions need to be made regarding future recipients and what requirements make those people eligible: what makes an accessibility champion.
After a thorough discussion, it was agreed that the plaque will read:
“This plaque is in recognition of all those Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit volunteers who have provided leadership in removing barriers and advancing the accessibility of the TTC for full inclusion.
Susan Davidson, Chair (Years of service here)”
A plaque ceremony was proposed.