ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, June 30, 2016
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:305
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

  • Debbie Gillespie, Chair
  • Angela Marley, Co-Vice Chair
  • Raymond Dell’Aera, Co-Vice Chair
  • Louise Bark
  • Mary Burton
  • Joan Jordan
  • Margaret Hageman
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Desrianne McIlwrick
  • Craig Nicol
  • Lauri Sue Robertson
  • Thomas Richardson
  • Valdo Tammark
  • Howard Wax

Pool Members

  • Anita Dressler
  • Jessica Geboers
  • Igor Samardzic

Regrets

  • Jaspreet Dhaliwal

TTC Representatives

  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Ricardo Couto, Division Manager, Streetcar
  • Mark Mis, (Acting) Manager – Service Planning

Copies

  • Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer
  • Richard Leary, Chief Service Officer, Service Delivery
  • Chris Upfold, Deputy CEO & Chief Customer Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Deputy Chief Service Officer, Service Delivery
  • Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
  • Vince Rodo, Chief Financial & Administration Officer
  • Brad Ross, Executive Director - Corporate Communications
  • Mike Palmer, (Acting) Chief Operating Officer
  • Jacqueline Darwood, Head of Strategy & Service Planning
  • Cheryn Thoun, Head of Customer Communications
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

The meeting was called to order at 1:05 p.m. and attendance taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Joan Jordan and seconded by Marian McDonell, the agenda was approved.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair

Chair Mazin Aribi thanked all members, TTC, and Wheel Trans staff who participated and volunteered their time at People in Motion and the Family Day Roadeo – both of which were very successful due to their efforts.

Activities:

  • The Chair was invited to participate in the Leadership Exchange and Development Program (LEAD) and provide an overview of TTC Accessibility and the role of ACAT on June 7, 2016 at City Hall. The LEAD program brought leaders from several U.S. Transit authorities to hear about TTC’s experiences and approach to challenges it faces from government funding to day-to-day operations. TTC participants were Kirsten Watson, Head of Bus Transportation, and James Ross, Head of Subway Transportation. LEAD’s goal is to promote best practices and develop future senior leaders. The visit ended on June 10, 2016 with closing remarks from Mr. Andy Byford.
  • 2016 Ontario Bar Association Susan Hilary Davidson Memorial Award for Excellence in Health Law - ACAT received an invitation from Shelley Birenbaum (a friend and colleague of the late former ACAT Chair, Susan Davidson) to attend the inaugural presentation of this Award to Lonny J. Rosen, C.S., who had worked with Susan on many occasions. Angela Marley, Marian McDonell, and Mazin Aribi attended the Award ceremony. The presenters spoke about Susan and how much she had loved ACAT’s work and how passionate she was about accessible transit. They showed slides of Susan in action at ACAT. The ACAT members thanked the OBA for including them in the ceremony.

5. Review and Approval of May 26, 2016 Minutes

On a motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Joan Jordan, the minutes of May 26, 2016 were approved as amended.

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

The Committee reviewed the Outstanding Items List:

  • Item: Accessibility at Transit Stops – an Accessibility Tips column will appear in the 24 Hours newspaper "Connecting Toronto". The first column was published on June 10, 2016 related to the "First On, Last Off" procedure.
  • Item: Tracking Reduced Fares Issues Response – The final TFE report schedule is as follows: TTC Board on September 28, Executive Committee on October 26, Board of Health on October 31, and City Council on November 8. Staff continues to look for ways to find concessions.
  • Item:Accessibility Flash Cards – New card has been finalized. Details in the Communications Subcommittee Report.
  • Item: Use of GO Bus Reserved Lanes by Wheel-Trans Buses – Thomas Hartley will look into this and provide an update.

7. Deputation

Nil.

8. Wheel-Trans 10 Year Strategy Update

Thomas Hartley handed out documents to be used in presentations to external stakeholders:

  • W-T Transformation Program
  • W-T Changes to Eligibility Process and Criteria
  • W-T 10-Year Plan – for the Upcoming City-wide public meetings

Mr. Hartley also gave an update of stakeholder meetings since late May (17 in total) and the consultations scheduled for July. Public Meetings are scheduled to be held July 5, 12, 14 and 21, 2016.

Members suggested several other groups that might be consulted. The Chair asked Members to let him know immediately if they believe other organizations should be included so that he can inform Mr. Hartley.

A pilot study was held on June 20 to 23, 2016 with 25 Wheel-Trans customer volunteers, who filled out the revised application form along with an Occupational Therapist. The volunteers underwent assessments both physical and cognitive. Results will be available in July.

Members asked if arrangements had been made for a large number of W-T vehicles to be available at the end of the Public Meetings to co-ordinate rides home and to post that information on the W-T Booking site. Mr. Hartley agreed to check this out and make the arrangements.

The Chair suggested that Members read the presentations, prepare questions, and try to attend Public meetings to listen to input from other attendees; then submit observations to the Chair or Dean Milton. Feedback from Members was requested by July 25, 2016.

Mr. Hartley was asked about the progress on cross-border para-transit services. He responded that Wheel-Trans is working hard on developing an agreement with all GTA para-transit providers on transfer points, eligibility, etc. with the goal of making travel more seamless.

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

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

The next WTOS meeting has been tentatively scheduled on July 11, 2016.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marian McDonell, Chair

A CS meeting was held on June 9, 2016. The items discussed were:

  • Flash Card - the new version of the card was shown to CS. One side of the card has the blue International Symbol of Access with a ramp under the wheelchair with the message “Please lower ramp”. The other side has a tilting bus with the message “Please kneel”. They will be available in two sizes. After lengthy discussion, CS recommended that the revised card should read: “Please kneel the bus” on one side and “Please lower the ramp” on the other.
  • Platform Gap, Eglinton Station - the station description pages will be updated online to inform customers about the modifications made at the south end of the subway platform to allow easier boarding for customers using mobility devices.
  • W-T Transfer Points - Currently, there is confusion at some transfer points at subway stations.  Angela Marley advised that W-T is working on this and is currently in the process of consolidating addresses.
  • Streetcar Video –There are not enough low-floor streetcars in service to be able to put one out of service for a day of video shooting. The video will have to wait until more low-floor streetcars are available. The bus video is complete and available on the TTC website in the Accessibility Section. The CS Chair will be sent a link to the video, for distribution to all members.
  • ACAT Brochure – the error made on the most recent brochure will be corrected. Brochures will be ready for the 2016 Public Forum on Accessible Transit in September, or earlier if needed. The W-T booklet provided at the People in Motion Show contained some content that was questioned. CS Chair emailed details to Deborah Brown.
  • CS reiterated that all marketing material related to accessibility should be passed on to them for review before being put into production. Deborah Brown will send an electronic version of the next W-T Newsletter to the CS members for review and comments.
  • The W-T 10-Year Strategy will be printed in black on a white background (instead of grey) to provide higher contrast, making it easier to read.
  • Accessibility Tips in “Connecting Toronto” – Corporate Communications committed to Deborah Brown that an Accessibility Tips column will be included in the 24 Hours newspaper. CS Chair asked members to send their suggestions for tips to her as soon as possible for forwarding to Deborah Brown. It was suggested that Accessibility Tips be added to the CS ongoing Agenda to ensure current issues are addressed. It was also recommended the title be “Accessible Tips for TTC Customers”, so it includes all customers.
  • Audible Route Announcements – Debbie Gillespie, Raymond Dell’Aera, and Mazin Aribi attended a meeting to address reports that the volume is too loud. A test was held at Bayview and Eglinton and they found that the volume is inconsistent due to ambient noise. The group also questioned the time interval between the end of one announcement and the beginning of the next – and suggested that it be extended by 5 seconds. Al Howard, Manager of TTC Bus Maintenance, agreed to experiment and test some suggestions and will report back to the complainant. When this moves from pilot to full implementation, announcements will be made via Connecting Toronto and featured on the TTC web site.
 

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) - Raymond Dell’Aera, Chair

DRS held a meeting on June 1, 2016.

Staff presented the Easier Access Phase III Preliminary Design Review for Bay Station. The design includes the construction of an elevator from concourse to platform level. The elevator to street level will be part of the Cumberland Terrace development on the east side of Bay Street. The existing ramp at concourse level to Cumberland Terrace will be improved and automatic doors added. The project is currently at 30% of the design stage, with construction scheduled for completion in Fall 2020. The PRESTO fare system is being installed this summer.

Construction staff also attended to discuss the report on the feasibility of accelerating the Easier Access program from its planned completion date of 2025, in response to a request by the TTC Board. The report, which was originally presented to DRS in its May meeting, elicited many questions and concerns from the Subcommittee, prompting staff to make revisions as well as return to DRS for further discussion. Steve Stewart presented his updated draft report which he indicated included responses to the questions raised by ACAT members. His conclusion remained the same – it will not be possible to accelerate the program. He explained that modifications had been made to the design schedule and that the budget has been approved; he showed a chart showing when all stations are in the design and construction stages and emphasized that his department is prepared to do all it can to ensure that the project is completed on time. The report is planned to go to the July Board Meeting.

The discussion then moved to the format of the draft report where more comments and observations were made, helping to refine things further while emphasizing the areas that are most challenging to the schedule. Steve Stewart thanked the Subcommittee for its input, and stated that he would revise the report further based on the additional feedback from the meeting.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Valdo Tammark, Chair

No SPS meetings were held in June.

10. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

A few ACAT members attended the TTC Board Meeting held on May 31, 2016 at City Hall. ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi encouraged members to attend Board Meetings.

The Board received the ACAT March 31, 2016 approved Minutes and asked Mazin Aribi to give a few highlights.

Mazin Aribi expressed ACAT’s delight that the new 514 Cherry Street accessible streetcar route would soon be available and he raised a concern that the accessible access to this route is limited. The only connections located north to Line 2 are via the 29 Dufferin, 510 Spadina, and to Line 1 is at St. Andrew. There is no access to an accessible subway station east of University Avenue. Although 514 Cherry connects with 6 Bay, 75 Sherborne, 65 Parliament, and Line 1 at King Station, customers who need an accessible connection cannot then transfer to Line 2 or Line 1 due to the lack of elevators at Bay, Sherbourne, Castle Frank, and King Stations. This impedes accessible connections to the downtown core from the east.

TTC Vice-Chair Heisey enquired about the dates when Sherbourne and Castle Frank would become accessible. The TTC staff will bring a report to the July 11, 2016 Board Meeting. Matt Hagg will add this topic to the agenda of the next SPS meeting.

Mazin Aribi expressed concern about the incident that happened on Line 2 when a train door stayed open while the subway train was in transit due to human error. He requested assurance this would not happen again, emphasizing the importance of persons with disabilities having confidence in safely using TTC train service.

Mazin Aribi informed the Board that the next meeting of ACAT is on June 30, 2016.

The next TTC Board Meeting is on July 11, 2016.

11. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) – Angela Marley, ACAT Representative

A CLP meeting was held on June 8, 2016. Presentations were made on the Next Time Arrival on Platforms and the Fare Policy Change and concessions were discussed.

Panel members provided observations; one being that an audio external bus announcement was incomprehensible.

Another member suggested merging bus routes 22 Coxwell and 70 O’Connor, both of which enter Coxwell Station, as a number of people were observed transferring from one bus to the other. Merging these routes would make them more accessible because passengers could ride on one bus on Coxwell through the station to reach their destination.

The TTC PRESTO pamphlet was distributed to ACAT members.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

The item regarding merging of the bus routes was referred to the Service Planning Subcommittee.

A brief discussion ensued related to Apps such as Transit Now Toronto, Next Bus, etc. which give TTC Access information.

It was noted that some of the streetcar stops on King Street do not have curb cuts for accessible boarding at the second door. This will be discussed by SPS and probably by DRS.

12. Report on Transit Fare Equity (TFE) Committee – Margaret Hageman, ACAT Representative

Sam Savona attended the TFE meeting at City Hall on June 16, 2106.

The TFE Committee determined to delay scheduling the final TFE report to Council until November 8, 2016. Staff reasoned that because there are many other reports going before the TTC Board and City Council, a Fare Equity Report may be over-shadowed and therefore not get the consideration that it deserves. The revised schedule is as follows:

TTC Board – September 28
Executive – October 26
Board of Health – October 31
City Council – November 8

Staff continues to look for ways to fund concessions, including meeting current concessions, such as those that seniors currently receive.

Regarding the Eligibility process roll out, there is nothing yet to report.

13. Report on Accessibility Advisory Panel for Transportation Services – Valdo Tammark, ACAT Representative

Not available at this time.

14. Report on ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with CEO and Chair 

Mazin Aribi, Debbie Gillespie, and Angela Rebeiro attended the Executive Quarterly Meeting on June 20, 2016. The following items were discussed:

Disabilities Representative on the TTC Board

Mazin Aribi reported that he had signed the joint letter between ACAT and the Disability Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee sent to the Civic Appointment Committee, regarding the vacancy on the TTC Board and the need to have a Board Member representing people with disabilities. TTC Chair Josh Colle advised that 300 people applied for the vacant position. He agreed there is an absence on the TTC Board of someone to represent disability matters and would advise the hiring committee to take this into consideration.

ACAT Executive urged that the person does not necessarily have to have a disability but could be someone who is thoroughly acquainted with disability issues.

Fare Update

Angela Rebeiro advised that the report on this topic should be available to the Board in the Fall.

Media Events Opportunities

Mazin Aribi drew attention to the number of recent ribbon-cutting events that did not mention accessibility nor was ACAT invited. ACAT Executive suggested that local news media be invited such as the Metroland community newspaper and that ACAT needs to be advised and be present at these events.

ACAT Executive suggested that the local newspaper “The Annex” be invited for the upcoming launch of the renovated accessible Ossington Station.

Josh Colle stated that he will contact Brad Ross at TTC Corporate Communications to include ACAT in events, or highlight accessibility aspects in news releases or include a quote from the ACAT Executive.

New TTC Funding Commitment Allocation to Accessibility Projects

As the money from the Federal Government has to be spent in two years or be returned, TTC representatives recognized the importance of escalating the accessibility of subway stations and recommended that ACAT make a motion to use the new money to that effect.

Accessible Fare Gates

Mazin pointed out that the new PRESTO Accessible Fare Gates have a swiping mechanism that is too high for customers with limited reach, to tap the reader. TTC is to investigate.

Easier Access Phase III

The ACAT Executive brought forth ACAT's dissatisfaction with the draft report that concludes it is not possible to accelerate the pace to make the subway stations accessible.

The next ACAT Executive Quarterly meeting is on September 15, 2016.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Members held a preliminary discussion about the feasibility of using free fares as an incentive for Wheel-Trans customers to use conventional transit.

ACAT members worked on a motion to advise the TTC Board to use the recently received Federal funding for Easier Access III current projects to assist in the implementation of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Plan.

Andy Byford, TTC CEO, joined the meeting and provided an update, including the TTC’s plans to use the Federal funding, outlined in #16 Update From CEO.

ACAT then referred back to the Motion on the floor related to Federal funding. Debbie Gillespie moved and Angela Marley seconded that ACAT recommends the monies recently received from the Federal Government be allocated to Easier Access Phase III current projects to assist in the implementation of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Plan. Motion carried unanimously.

15. ACAT Terms of Reference Update

Deferred to the next ACAT meeting.

16. Other / New Business

Update from CEO - Andy Byford

Andy Byford reported that the TTC is honing in on what to do with the Federal funds – the problem being that it has to be spent on projects which will be finished within two years. It is aimed at small projects. TTC will challenge this and ask if it can be carried over into Phase II funding. Replacing hybrid buses with diesel, new streetcars, and other ‘quick’ options are being looked at. TTC is making sure accessibility is on the list.

ACAT members emphasized the importance of using the Federal funding on accessibility projects such as speeding up completion of the Easier Access Phase III subway stations projects and the W-T 10 Year Strategy.

Andy Byford said that Cherry Street will have a full fleet of accessible streetcars which will create a fully accessible East/West route and eliminate overcrowding on King. He reiterated that the TTC is asking for more time to use the Federal money and that Accessibility is front and centre. Andy Byford will discuss the issue of Corporate Communications attending an ACAT meeting.  Also, he will discuss with Corporate Communications the media coverage concerning the St Clair Avenue streetcar Platform renovations.
The subway door chimes were estimated to be installed by the end of the third quarter, 2016.

Mazin informed Andy Byford of ACAT’s earlier discussion at today’s meeting on non-inclusion of people with disabilities at all levels of the TTC. Andy Byford noted that there is a vacancy on the TTC Board.
 
Mazin thanked Andy Byford for his input to the meeting.

ACAT Meeting Highlights to Report at Board Meetings

Mazin advised members that, at one of the ACAT Executive Quarterly meetings with TTC CEO, Chair, and Vice Chair, ACAT was asked to provide highlights from the minutes of ACAT meetings at Board Meetings. 

Members agreed that, at future ACAT meetings, during the Subcommittee reports and updates, each Subcommittee Chair is expected to recommend items from that month’s Subcommittee report to be highlighted for the next TTC Board meeting.

17. Next Meeting 

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, July 28, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

18. Adjournment 

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

Avril Hylands
Recording Secretary
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