ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, July 28, 2016
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:306
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

  • Mazin Aribi, Chair
  • Angela Rebeiro, Co-Vice Chair
  • Debbie Gillespie, Co-Vice Chair
  • Louise Bark 
  • Karma Burkhar
  • Jaspreet Dhaliwal
  • Raymond Dell'Aera
  • Margaret Hageman
  • Joan Jordan
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Howard Wax
  • Valdo Tammark

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 1:20 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

Angela Marley requested the following item be identified as a standing item for future meetings:
  • ACAT Meeting Highlights for the TTC Board Meeting.
On a motion by Howard Wax, seconded by Marian McDonell, the agenda was approved.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair

The Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy is under way.  Chair Mazin Aribi asked ACAT members, who have not already done so, to make it a priority to travel on the conventional system to test the accessibility. He encouraged members to email their items of concern to him, placing emphasis on how ACAT can support Wheel-Trans customers to have successful trips using the conventional system. Mazin is endeavouring to develop a priority list of items that will assist the TTC to implement this Wheel-Trans Plan.

5. Review and Approval of June 30, 2016 Minutes 

The approval of the June 30, 2016 minutes was deferred to the next meeting.

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

ACAT members reviewed the Outstanding Items of July 2016 and noted the following:

  • Item: Gap between Subway Trains and Platforms – The action should be amended to read:  The Station Pages will be updated online for Eglinton subway station.
  • Item: Accessibility Flash Cards – This item was completed.
  • Item: Suggestion that Wheel-Trans Buses be permitted to use GO Bus Reserved Lanes – Thomas Hartley, Division Manager of Wheel-Trans reported that the Strategy and Service Planning Department sought permission from the Province. Permission was granted and next steps are pending.
  • Item: Suggestion to Put a Yellow Line down the middle of Wheel-Trans Friendly Buses to assist people using mobility devices to exit to the rear – Declined, as the vehicle will eventually be phased out.

7. Deputation

Nil.

8. Wheel Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

Thomas Hartley presented an update on the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy. Eligibility for Wheel-Trans service is expanding and will not be limited to physical mobility considerations. In the near future, customers with cognitive, mental health, sensory, and/or physical disabilities may be eligible for Wheel-Trans service. Disabilities may be permanent or temporary as identified under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Customers will be eligible if they have a disability that prevents the use of the conventional system for all or part of a journey. Conditional eligibility is being introduced for individuals where there are environmental or physical barriers that prevent consistent use of the conventional services. 

Several TTC departments are working together in the development of this project including Wheel-Trans, Legal, and Diversity and Human Rights, in consultation with ACAT. 

The Eligibility Process will have two components: Application and Appeal. If the application is turned down, the Appeal process ensures procedural fairness. 

The processes of eligibility were outlined to include Emergency Short Term service, Temporary Service Extension, current customer re-registration, and current customer re-certification. To support the main process of eligibility and eligibility appeal, the short term service provides immediate Wheel-Trans services for 30 days to individuals who are not currently customers or to provide immediate short term service to potential customers to help them while going through the application process. Service will also be extended to 60 days to customers who receive temporary eligibility. A process will be in place for visitors.

Current customers who register prior to 2017 will not be reassessed for another three years. The focus will be on new eligibility and new registrants.

At the end of May 2016, the proposed application package was created and presented to many stakeholders, medical and legal communities, local and provincial agencies.

To support the eligibility processes, third party assessors and a third party appeals board will be required.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member asked if there would be a pilot project to educate people on how to use the conventional system. Staff advised that education on the use of the conventional system will be integrated into the program.

A member asked if Wheel-Trans registrants will have some type of photo ID for Operators to acknowledge that their eligibility process is pending. Staff advised that no decision has been made regarding this matter. The TTC is working on a Cross Boundary Sharing System, and collaborative effort is ongoing.

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

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

WTOS held a meeting on July 15, 2016.

Wheel-Trans Scent-Free Policy

Signs were removed from W-T buses and the TTC Maintenance department is still conducting fleet inspections to include the checking for signs and replenishing signage. A pictogram was suggested for scents and other signage.

Telephone Performance Charts

Wheel-Trans staff acknowledged the long waiting times for customers to speak with Reservationists and advised it is due to being underfunded and under staffed. 6,000 trips are booked daily over the telephone lines. The graphs of the last three years showed a steady increase in calls. Internet trip booking accounts for 40% of trips booked. By September 2016, another three staff will be hired for a total of 39 staff in the call centre. Wheel Trans is trying to get more staffing and continues to look for solutions to manage the increase in calls. Many calls are made to the Priority Line which should be going to Reservations. A larger part of the problem is due to the telephone system that requires upgrades.

New Wheel-Trans Bus Specifications

Many recommendations and suggestions were brought forth for consideration in the new bus specifications, including but not limited to:

  • Vehicle lighting
  • Changes to the ramps
  • Securement systems
  • Air conditioning and heating. In response to members' request for more information on air conditioning and heating, Bruce Peters, Manager - Lakeshore Garage, will be invited to attend a WTOS meeting.

Late Cancellation Policy

The policy is under revision as flexibility is needed to accommodate late and same day service cancellations. Consideration will be given to the length of time that a cancellation can occur without penalty.

Comments from the Ontario Medical Association Regarding the Application Form

The questions to be completed by Healthcare Providers need to be redesigned on the proposed new Wheel-Trans eligibility application form. The doctor affiliated with the Ontario Medical Association who is on the Forms Committee met with Dean Milton, Wheel Trans. The TTC Legal, Human Rights, and Wheel-Trans departments will work on the application form collectively. The draft will then be forwarded to the Ontario Medical Association for review and back to ACAT.

Highlights for the TTC Board

  • Collaboration in drafting the Medical Form for the W-T Application
  • W-T Late Cancellation Policy

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member raised a question regarding the cost factor in simplifying the form. Staff advised that they want to ensure the form can be completed in minimal time so there will not be a cost to the client. If there is an applicable charge, ACAT has requested the cost be capped.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marian McDonell, Chair

Marian McDonell advised that the next CS meeting was scheduled for August 11, 2016 and items for discussion will include the distribution of flash cards and Wheel-Trans transfer stops.

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

DRS held a meeting on July 6, 2016. The Manager of Track and Structure, Maintenance Engineering, provided a status update on the actions ongoing to resolve the “platform gap” issue present at certain stations in the subway system. A sample product referred to as “rubber fingers” was provided for discussion. The product can be placed at the edge of the platform and will deflect gently when the train comes in and provide a solid surface when someone is walking over it; thereby, reducing the horizontal gap between the platform and train. The issue is that the product has not been tested to meet Canadian fire standards. There are ongoing negotiations in an attempt to locate another supplier with the same product who is willing to have the product tested, since testing is costly.

The Subcommittee then asked about the issue of vertical gaps present on some platforms. Eglinton was the only station where the platform was completely below standards and a raised platform edge ramp was built along part of it. This fix was implemented on only part of the platform because the subway platform at Eglinton Station is set to shift further northward as part of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project; it was intended to make the platform usable in the short term for customers using mobility devices in advance of the more comprehensive solution spurred by the LRT construction. The Subcommittee asked about the need for similar fixes at other stations with large vertical gaps, and staff answered that this is dependent on an ongoing effort to get accurate measurements of all subway platforms. Measurements of 60% of station platforms are now complete. On average, two stations are measured per month - a result of limited resources and the need for the work to be performed when the subway is not operating. DRS noted that it would take another 15 months to complete this task at the current pace and advised that the measurements should be advanced.

After discussing the challenges faced by customers navigating conventional transit, the members of the Subcommittee agreed on the importance of addressing the platform gap issue in the most comprehensive way possible, noting that customers have the expectation that they can board and deboard trains safely without having to memorize the location of narrow or level gaps. This is especially urgent considering the role of conventional transit in the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Plan. To that end, the DRS Chair summarized the next steps: 1) measurements are first priority and must be expedited, 2) identify all stations with gap problems, 3) obtain the scope of work and determine cost, and 3) decide what work will be done.

Two short updates were given on other items currently ongoing for DRS. For the external door chimes on Toronto Rocket trains, most of the speakers are now installed. The wiring and software upgrades will commence in July and the external route announcements on those trains will be implemented at the same time.

On developing standards for tactile signage for bus bays, staff advised that other alternatives are being explored for this project. A Request for Information (RFI) will be developed to find out what other types of systems are available in the market.
Highlights for the TTC Board

  • Consulted with staff on next steps for addressing large gaps between subway platforms and trains
     Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Valdo Tammark, Chair

SPS met on July 6, 2016.

 Karen Kuzmowich, Manager of Diversity, gave a presentation on the Diversity and Inclusion Lens. A one-page tool called the Inclusion Lens Tool was introduced which is used by employees to help determine how various equity seeking groups may be impacted by a program or initiative at the TTC. A booklet accompanies the one-page tool and was distributed to the ACAT members for review. The booklet provides detail on how the Diversity and Inclusion Lens works.  

The 2016 Public Forum on Accessible Transit will be held on Thursday, September 15, 2016, at the Allstream Centre at Exhibition Place. The presentation will focus on the Wheel-Trans 10 Year Strategy and provide an update on the progress of accessibility improvements completed or underway since the previous year's Forum.

ACAT members were advised that several deficiencies identified as hindrances from last year’s Forum have been resolved, including improved accessible washroom signage and ensuring that Wheel-Trans trips are not scheduled to arrive too early.   
 
The suggestion to merge the 22 Coxwell and the 70 O'Connor bus routes was declined. Temporarily, those routes were merged due to construction at Coxwell Station. TTC cannot justify merging the two routes when construction is completed because ridership levels are different on each route and additional buses would be required to meet service standards.

ACAT requested to discuss the subway emergency evacuation procedures. This discussion will take place at the next SPS meeting on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, in the afternoon.

Highlights for the TTC Board

  • 2016 TTC Public Forum and the Diversity and Inclusion Lens
    Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A question was raised if route announcements and door chime integration would be discussed at the Public Forum. Staff advised that it will be added to the list; the presentation has not yet been finalized.

Mazin Aribi requested that the TTC Diversity and Inclusion Lens, Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit, and Diversity and Inclusion Lens Toolkit slides be forwarded to all ACAT members. Staff will forward the requested documentation to all ACAT members.

10. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters 

The TTC Board Meeting was held on Monday, July 11, 2016, at City Hall.

The Board accepted the approved April 28, 2016 ACAT minutes and asked the ACAT Chair to provide meeting highlights. Mazin Aribi reported the following:

ACAT received a deputation from a group of people who are deaf-blind. They are worried about their safety in the subway stations and they have difficulty navigating the subway and communicating with others.

ACAT members participated in filming a TTC educational video about bus accessibility features which will be used for internal and external purposes. The video is available on the TTC website in the Accessibility section.

ACAT raised a concern about the accessibility of the PRESTO fare card readers for customers who cannot reach up to “tap on” to the reader on top of the stanchion. ACAT was informed that the solution is to mount a second PRESTO reader on the front of the accessible fare gate stanchion. However, ACAT has not yet reviewed this solution and is still concerned that access to the reader will be a barrier for some customers to travel independently on the TTC.

Mazin Aribi informed the Board that the next ACAT meeting was scheduled to be held on Thursday, July 28, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge St. 7th Floor Boardroom.

Mazin Aribi encouraged the TTC Board members to attend the TTC Annual Public Forum on Accessible Transit on September 15, 2016, at the CNE, where they can learn a great deal from customers in their constituency.

The next TTC Board Meeting is on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, at City Hall.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member asked that, when TTC sends out invites to the Public Forum, are they sent to City Councillors and the TTC Board? Staff advised that all Councillors receive invites. It was suggested that ACAT members should find out who their City Councillor is and personally invite them to the Public Forum, accompany them, and speak with them to educate them about challenges faced and about the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy. 

A member asked if staff submitted the report on the Easier Access Phase III to the July 11, 2016 TTC Board Meeting. Staff advised that the report should be provided in September Board Meeting.

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

A CLP meeting was held on July 13, 2016. Members received updates on the Fare Policy Change related to Concessions and Cashless Surface Fleet. CLP members provided a variety of observations regarding their use.

Angela Marley suggested that Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans, be requested to give the Wheel-Trans 10-year Strategy presentation to CLP to obtain feedback from conventional service customers. Their feedback is valuable because they are transit users and there will be an increasing number of people with disabilities using the conventional service. Angela Marley also volunteered to give a presentation about ACAT. 
The TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit scheduled for September 15, 2016 was announced. As it is the same week as the regular CLP meeting, the CLP meeting will be rescheduled. A CLP member encouraged other members to attend the TTC Public Forum, stating she has gained a better understanding of the issues faced by riders who have disabilities

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

No TFE meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting.

13. Report on Accessibility Advisory Panel for Transportation Services

No meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting.

14. ACAT Terms of Reference Update

It was requested to expand on Item 1.2 to say, “Individual complaints are being handled by Customer Service”.
 
Questions and Comments from the Committee:
 
A question was raised whether Customer Service is keeping complaints statistics and categorizing the various types of complaints received. This method may be the way to identify the systemic issues. Staff advised that all customer complaints are categorized.
 
A member asked if the stats are brought back to ACAT to be addressed. Staff responded that issues are brought to the attention of ACAT when staff approaches ACAT to request for advice.
 
Due to time constraints, it was suggested to defer ACAT Terms of Reference discussion to the start of the next ACAT meeting.

15. Review of Correspondence

Nil.

16. Other / New Business

Nil.

17. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, August 25, 2016, from 1.00 to 3.30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

18. Adjournment

On a motion by Margaret Hageman, the meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.
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