ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, September 29, 2016
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:308
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

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

Pool Members

  • Anita Dressler
  • Lauri Sue Robertson
  • Sarah Adams

Regrets

  • Jaspreet Dhaliwal
  • Karma Burkhar

TTC Representatives

  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
  • Thomas Hartley, Division Manager, Wheel-Trans Transportation
  • Ihor Witowych, Division Manager, Bus Transportation
  • Michelle Jones, Wheel-Trans Transformation Program
  • Aislin O’Hara, Project Lead, Wheel-Trans Customer Service
  • Gail Mahon, Senior Instructor, Bus Transportation
  • Sal Maltese, Manager of Training
  • Almerinda Amaral, Diversity and Human Rights

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, (Acting) 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

The ACAT Terms of Reference Update was added to the agenda as item 7. On a motion by Howard Wax, seconded by Bobbi Moore, the agenda was approved as amended.

4. Remarks from ACAT

Mazin Aribi thanked all the ACAT members and TTC staff who worked hard to make the 2016 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit a great success. He also recognized the TTC Board Members who attended the Forum.

The ACAT Executive asked that all Subcommittee Chairs submit their reports electronically prior to the ACAT meeting, where possible. It was also requested that the reports be in an abbreviated and bulleted format.

5. Review and Approval of August 25, 2016, Minutes

On a motion by Angela Marley, seconded by Joan Jordan, the minutes were approved with the following amendment:

  • Page 8, item 13, DRS Highlights - the wording was adjusted to "Visited Hillcrest Garage to consult on modifications to securement equipment on Nova Buses to make space for people using mobility devices."

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

An update was provided that Customer Communications and Streetcar staff are to work on the video regarding entry and exit from streetcars.

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

  • Item: PRESTO Accessibility Features – A Metrolinx Accessible Self-Serve Kiosk (MASK) Checklist is being developed which includes best practices from several accessibility standards including the CSA B651.2-07.
  • Item: Accessibility at Bus Bays – Update expected after next DRS Meeting in October.
  • Item: Accessibility at Transit Stops – Update expected after next CS Meeting in October.
  • Item: Gap between Subway Trains - A motion has been approved to be delivered at the next TTC Board Meeting on October 27, 2016.
  • Item: Legends on Maps over TR Train Doors – Update expected after next CS Meeting in October.
  • Item: Tracking of Reduced Fares – Update expected after the next Board Meeting in October.

7. ACAT Terms of Reference Update   

Under Item 4.2, the wording was adjusted to “Members will make reasonable efforts to ensure that employment, volunteer and other committee responsibilities do not interfere with their commitment to attend ACAT meetings.”

On a motion by Howard Wax, seconded by Lynn McCormick, the recommendation that the ACAT Terms of Reference as amended be approved, pending review and minor technical amendments from the TTC Legal Department staff, and then forwarded to the TTC Board for approval. Carried.

8. Deputation 

Nil

9. Review of Correspondence

Nil

10. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

Michelle Jones presented an update on the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy.

On September 28, 2016, the TTC Board was given an update regarding the revised $48 million implementation cost for the Strategy, which was well-received. 

The Wheel-Trans eligibility categories are to be changed in response to Provincial legislation, the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). These changes are to be rolled out by the legislation deadline on January 1, 2017.

Also, in line with the IASR requirements, the TTC approved updating the mandate of ACAT to include disabilities represented by persons with mental health and cognitive disabilities.

A Family of Services pilot will be gradually implemented in 2017. During this period, Wheel Trans will book rides to serve self-selecting volunteer customers, using a pre-selected set of accessible services (i.e. specific routes, stops, and stations)

During the next 2 to 3 years, the Permanent eligibility of current Wheel-Trans customers will be changed to either Conditional or Unconditional eligibility. This does not change a person’s eligibility for Wheel-Trans.

The Application Form, Appeal Form, Emergency and Temporary Request Form were reviewed with the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) along with the corresponding processes.

The next step is to prepare all documentation for January 1, 2017. All new forms will need to be designed, published, and posted to the TTC website as well as the FAQ section, and all high-level processes will need to be updated. 

A Request for Proposal (RFP) for Functional Assessment will be posted next week and close in mid-October. A second RFP will be posted at the same time for Third Party Appeal, including the medical component. While bidders will be able to bid on both contracts, the successful companies can only be awarded one.  

Because of the TTC’s intent to expand the customer base for Wheel-Trans, the TTC’s Training and Development department will be working with the same company that worked with the Transit Enforcement Department on Mental Health and Cognitive awareness training. The intention is that this course will first be rolled out to Wheel-Trans Operators before being rolled out to the rest of the TTC Operators. WTOS is expected to view these training program changes at their next meeting on October 18, 2016.

The upgrade to Wheel-Trans' scheduling system GIRO is to be implemented in October. The upgrade will allow for scheduling based on the new eligibility categories. A review is being completed on Community Bus services. A draft report, which was completed by an outside consultant, needs to be reviewed. Recommendations based on this review will go to the Service Planning Subcommittee and a status report will be provided at the November TTC Board Meeting.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Clarification was requested regarding the project cost. Michelle Jones advised that the estimate for the project implementation cost has been updated to $48 million from $30 million. However, the return on this investment is estimated to be over $300 million in benefits over a 10-year period. The revised cost was approved by the Board.

A member asked what the changes were to the people with disabilities training. Michelle Jones advised that the mental health and cognitive training components would be improved.

A member asked whether the new training program would be brought before ACAT before being rolled out. Michelle Jones stated that if the training program update from April was brought before ACAT and Human Rights, then this update would follow the same process.

A member asked whether it would be possible to see the RFP before they were sent out. Michelle Jones stated that she would send a copy of the scope of work to WTOS. However, any feedback would be required by the end of the weekend.

Michelle Jones noted that anything being posted to the TTC website would first be going through the Communications Subcommittee (CS). It would be most likely that CS would see this material in their meeting this December.

A member asked whether other trainers could have access to this new training material. Michelle Jones responded that they were recommending that Customer Service staff and Community Service representatives receive a half-day of training at Variety Village in addition to Wheel-Trans staff.

A member asked that ACAT be involved because the customer service piece was critical to improving sensitivity to people with disabilities. Michelle Jones advised that this would be discussed at the WTOS meeting on October 18, 2016.

Lynn McCormick stated that she helped to train drivers on Disability Awareness Training. However, they were a long way from this point. Michelle Jones recommended that the October 18, 2016 WTOS meeting be extended to discuss this in further detail.

A member asked whether the new Application Form PDF would be capable of being saved and emailed to a doctor to be completed. Michelle Jones stated that this was a possibility that she was working towards. However, it may not be possible or may not be possible by the January 1, 2017 deadline. Mazin Aribi stated that this was important to achieve.

Further clarification was requested on the two RFP’s. Michelle Jones stated that regarding the Third Party Appeal Panel RFP, the provider would have to offer multiple locations and have access to specialists. The panel would include an Occupational Therapist, a community member that has a disability, and a TTC staff member that can speak to the conventional services available.

A member asked if the panel could include a 4th member from ACAT. However, Michelle Jones voiced concern over the issue of tie votes and also that the identity of panel members needed to be confidential.

Mazin Aribi stated that in the past, there was Quality Assurance personnel to ensure consistency. Michelle Jones confirmed that a new position was being created that would be responsible for eligibility decisions and to make sure contracts were being followed.

Margaret Hageman stated that she was concerned that there would be an emphasis on the medicalization of disabilities. She suggested that, when looking for an Occupational Therapist, they should ask for people familiar with the UN ICP assessment tool that looks at impairment. Michelle Jones advised that she would send the ACAT members an abstract with the list of functional assessments that they are requesting the Occupational Therapist use.

Michelle Jones also noted that a variety of medical professionals are permitted to complete the medical part of the new Application Form in addition to their general practitioner.

11. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

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

A DRS meeting was held on September 7, 2016.

Jan Richards, Senior Advisor of Accessibility for PRESTO, presented the Metrolinx Accessible Self-Serve Kiosk Checklist v.2016 (MASK). He explained that AODA regulations mostly cover kiosks, which is why the MASK was developed, to include best practices. CSA B651.2-07 is included almost in its entirety, and portions were chosen from the other standards. Metrolinx divisions will be required to use MASK during the design and testing phases of new devices.

DRS members asked what can be done about the height and/or tilt of the screen to make it more accessible. Jan Richards noted that this was not included in the checklist. It is difficult to design an angle that is great for both seating and standing individuals, so some compromises are required. There are glare and colour contrast issues with tilted screens and they could be difficult to use with shaky hands. One suggestion was to use audio mode instead of the screen. However, this was not ideal or desired by all customers. Another suggestion was to have the screen visually tilted using software.

A question was raised regarding exploring a similar design to the accessible bank machines and bank machine keypads. Jan Richard advised that, in the future, they may look at the EZ Access keypads, currently in use by US Customs kiosks. DRS members emphasized that they would like to review proposed keypads in advance.

DRS members emphasized education on how to use these machines, such as informing customers in advance that audio mode exists, and placing an online simulation of how to use the machines on the PRESTO website. Learning material should be in multiple languages.

Donna Bryant, TTC Fare Card Team, noted that the checklist did not appear to include all standards required by the TTC’s Business Requirements, and will collaborate with Jan Richards regarding this.

The second major item of business was a discussion on the platform gap motion, which had been in development over the past month. The Subcommittee reviewed the latest version of the proposed motion, which included changes submitted by members. The Subcommittee unanimously approved the motion, as amended, so that the final motion could be brought to the September General Meeting.

DRS brought forth the Platform Gap Motion to the ACAT members. A friendly amendment was accepted to add “seniors” to the wording of “for persons with disabilities and seniors”.

On a motion by Raymond Dell’Aera, and seconded by Howard Wax, the Platform Gap Motion was carried unanimously.

The Platform Gap Motion:

Improving Safety and Accessibility When Moving between Subway Train and Platform for all Customers Including Those Using Mobility Devices

As part of ongoing efforts to expand and improve transit services for persons with disabilities and seniors through the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy, the TTC is moving towards a model that incorporates conventional transit for these customers, where appropriate. There is, however, a known issue regarding larger than normal gaps between platforms and trains at some subway stations which, if left unaddressed, will compromise the reliability and attractiveness of subway travel for customers using mobility devices (i.e. wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers).

ACAT Recommendation:

ACAT recommends the following to the TTC Board regarding the issue of subway platform gaps, in the interest of safety and removing physical barriers for customers with disabilities on conventional transit:

  1. Expedite detailed measurements of subway vertical and horizontal platform gaps at all stations where this data remains to be collected;
  2. Define the scope of remedial work; and
  3. Package work as a capital project to be funded and implemented as soon as possible.

Background:

TTC staff, with input from ACAT, have been investigating an issue with subway platform-to-train gaps. The problem is that on some platforms, there is a wider than normal gap between the platform edge and train car doors. In addition, there are platforms where there is a large discrepancy between the height of the platform and that of the train car door threshold, creating a significant step. These issues have in many instances resulted in customers getting stuck in the gap as the wheels of their mobility device drop into the empty space — causing panic, unnecessary wear/damage to mobility devices, and system delays — ultimately undermining confidence that the subway is truly accessible.

While these characteristics are believed to affect a minority of subway platforms and are often localized to only part of the platform, the full extent of their existence has yet to be determined and is currently being ascertained by Track and Structure Maintenance Engineering. Unfortunately, the timeline for the completion of their measurements is lengthy (over one year) due to resource restrictions among competing activities. Understanding the full extent of the issue is critical to formulating and acting upon a solution.

At the same time, the TTC, as part of its mission to provide barrier-free, accessible service that is efficient, reliable, and available, and in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), is currently transforming the way customers use accessible transit services as part of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy. A key component of this strategy is promoting the “family of services” concept to customers, meaning those who are able to use conventional transit modes do so, ensuring the availability of Wheel-Trans service for those who need it.

This means that an increasing number of customers with disabilities will be asked to use the subway system for all or part of their journey. As this places more pressure on the conventional system to accommodate customers with varying needs, it will be more important than ever that those who use mobility devices can expect to board and deboard subway trains safely and consistently, especially when those trains serve stations marked “accessible”.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Valdo Tammark, Chair

An SPS meeting was held on September 7, 2016. The items discussed were:

Line 1 Extension - Bus Network Realignment

Eric Chu, Transit Planner, presented the draft planned bus network changes for when the Line 1 Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) opens in late 2017.

The bus network changes are planned to make travel time faster, maximize connections to the new stations, improve efficiency, and avoid service duplication.

Eric Chu presented maps showing the existing bus service network vs. the proposed changes in area, including maps for each bus route. Also presented were maps reflecting the land uses in the study area, and maps depicting where people are travelling from to reach the study area. It was explained that the travel data was derived from the Transportation Tomorrow Survey (TTS), a survey undertaken every five years in the Greater Toronto Area. The TTS data revealed that there is high east-west travel demand to the area and that east-west connectivity should be improved.

The changes to the bus routes in the area are summarized as follows:

  • 196 York University Rocket eliminated between Downsview Station and York University, as the subway will duplicate this service
  • TTC will no longer operate buses north of Steeles Avenue on Weston Road, Dufferin Street, Keele Street and Jane Street. Instead, York Region Transit (YRT) will provide service on these routes.
  • TTC routes that previous connected to York University will now be redirected to serve Pioneer Village Station
  • Bus services will serve new subway stations, where possible
  • The overnight bus network will change so that the three overnight routes serving York University will all circle the ring road.

The next steps will be consultation with external stakeholders, including an online survey for the public, and refining the plan based on that feedback.

TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit – Presentation

Staff reviewed the presentation material for the 2016 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit with SPS. SPS made several suggestions to improve the content.

The next SPS meeting will be held on October 5, 2016.

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

WTOS meetings were held on September 8 and September 22, 2016. The items discussed were:

  • WTOS worked on the new Application Forms and instruction sheet as well as the new screening process.
  •  WTOS also worked on the functional measurements, the Appeal Form and instructions and the appeal process, as well as the Emergency Request Form.

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Marian McDonell, Chair

The next CS meeting is scheduled to be held on October 12, 2016.

12. ACAT Meeting Highlights for the TTC Board Meeting   

DRS:

  • Met with Senior Advisor for PRESTO, to review the Metrolinx Accessible Self-Serve Kiosk Checklist
  • Finalized a motion addressing larger than normal platform gaps at subway stations, to be presented at the next ACAT General Meeting

SPS:

  • Bus Network Realignment for the Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE), are being made to:
    • Faster travel time
    • Maximize connections to the new stations
    • More competitive transit system
    • Improve efficiency
    • Avoid service duplication
  • The next step will be consultation with external stakeholders, including an online survey for the public, and refine the plan based on that feedback. The extension is planned to go into service December 2017.

13. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters – Mazin Aribi   

The TTC Board received the approved ACAT May 26, June 30, and July 28, 2016 Minutes and asked Mazin Aribi to give a few highlights:

May ACAT Meeting:

  • As part of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy plan, ACAT continues to provide advice on the Wheel-Trans eligibility criteria and the new Wheel-Trans application process.

June ACAT meeting:

  • ACAT assisted TTC staff to develop a new Flash Card. 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 had a tilting bus with the message “Please kneel the Bus”. They will be available in two sizes.
  • ACAT provided Accessibility Tips for TTC Corporate Communications to be added to a column in the 24 Hours newspaper and will be called “Accessible Tips for TTC Customers”.

July ACAT meeting:

  • ACAT collaborated with staff in drafting the Medical Form for the Wheel-Trans Application.
  • ACAT assisted with the revision of the Wheel-Trans Late Cancellation Policy.
  • ACAT consulted with staff on the next steps for addressing the large gaps between subway platforms and train.
  • ACAT reviewed a TTC booklet and a toolkit that provided details on how the Diversity and Inclusion Lens works.
  • ACAT participated in the preparation of the 2016 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit.

Mazin informed the TTC Board that the next ACAT meeting will be held on September 29, 2016.

Mazin Aribi thanked Board Members Joe Mihevc, Rick Byers, Allen Heisey, and TTC Chair Josh Colle for attending the 2016 TTC Annual Public Forum on Accessible Transit on September 16, 2016 at the CNE.

The next TTC Board Meeting will be held on October 27, 2016, at City Hall. Mazin added, therefore, the October ACAT General Meeting will be held on Friday, October 28, 2016.

Mazin Aribi also attended the TTC Budget Committee meeting on September 21, 2016 at 1900 Yonge Street. He added his name to the deputation list in order to support the Wheel-Trans 10 Year Strategy Plan. He also demonstrated the importance of allocating capital budget to expedite fixing the gap issue in some subway stations.

The Budget Committee received a presentation from TTC CEO Andy Byford on the Preliminary 2017 TTC and Wheel-Trans Operating Budgets. The TTC Budget Committee approved the initiatives proposed in the report presented by Mr. Byford to achieve the -2.6% budget reduction target set by City Council, amounting to $15.8 million.

The Budget Committee will direct staff to develop a list of options to address the remaining year-over-year budget pressures identified in this report to be included in the 2017 budgets when they are submitted to the TTC Board for approval later this fall.

The following motions were carried:

  1. Chair Colle moved, “That staff report back when the 2017 budgets are presented to the TTC Board on the status of the major transformational projects currently underway and the work ongoing to modernize public transit in Toronto. Staff should include in that report the anticipated cost savings that will be realized as a result of these initiatives on the TTC operating budget over the next 3-5 years.”
  2. Commissioner Campbell moved, “To report back to the Board on the financial impact of providing no charge TTC service to Wheel-Trans riders for a period of one year for the purpose of encouraging and enabling transition to the regular TTC service for those who are able.”
  3. Also, “To report back to the Board on the effect on the inspection rate and incremental revenue from adding an additional 20 fare inspectors to the current staff complement of 80.”
  4. Commissioner Mihevc moved to “Request the Province to return to support the TTC’s operating budget by covering the historic 50% of the operating deficit.”

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

The CLP meeting was held on September 7, 2016.    

CLP Members were encouraged to attend the TTC Public Forum. One member attended and one member watched it on live streaming.

At the meeting, Eve Wiggins presented the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy. The response that some members had was that there was a need for public education regarding people with disabilities using the conventional system and the need to be more accommodating for these individuals.

A discussion regarding the naming conventions of subway stations also took place.

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

A Transit Fare Equity Report was completed by City Staff which represent the interests of people with disabilities and seniors. The report will go before the Executive Committee on October 26 2016, then to the TTC Board Meeting on October 27, and finally to the City Council Meeting on November 8, 2016.

Margaret Hageman and Sam Savona concluded their advisory role for these meetings.

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

No meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting.

17. Operator / Collector Training Sessions Talking Points Update

Mazin Aribi stated that as the TTC embarks on the changes to the Wheel-Trans eligibility criteria, Operators and Collectors will need to get proper training as more customers with disabilities will be using the conventional system. Also, for consistency reasons, the current talking points used by ACAT members to train Operators on disability awareness will need to be updated to include cognitive and mental health clientele.

Marian McDonell advised that the updated talking points would be ready to go in October.

Angela Marley encouraged other ACAT members to participate in the training who had not already done so.

Mazin Aribi advised that, due to the amount of information being shared to Operators, it was not worth attending for only a half-hour session. He asked whether this training could be increased to one hour. Gail Mahon and Sal Maltese advised that this would be possible.

Sal Maltese advised that they would also like to bring Operators in for training more frequently than the current period of every five years.

Debbie Gillespie commented that Operators and Trainers benefit from having an informal dialogue with ACAT members about issues as it gives Operators a chance to ask unusual questions.

Sal Maltese and Gail Mahon advised that the general feedback from Trainers and Operators when ACAT members attended training was very good.

Louise Bark advised that the current First On Last Off policy created frustration for Operators as it did not work. She suggested that an announcement be incorporated at major stops to say “please exit by the back door”. Joan Jordan also commented that this policy does not work for her.

Joan Jordan mentioned that, on at least one occasion, a TTC Operator temporarily refused to put the ramp down.

A member asked whether a Train the Trainer program could be developed for ACAT members attending the Operator training sessions for consistency. It was advised that this was the purpose of the talking points.

A member asked whether the trainers could be trained for at least one session on disability awareness. An example of trainers calling persons with disabilities by their mobility devices (e.g. chair) was given as a reason.

Debbie Gillespie clarified that, if a TTC vehicle cannot stop at the designated location, then the Operator should tell people with visual impairment how far they are from this location. 

Mazin Aribi advised that when he showed the flash cards at the training, Operators responded positively. He also asked whether it was possible for trainers to resume welcoming ACAT members at the Hillcrest Building door as had been done previously or to ask security to meet them. Sal Maltese confirmed that this was possible.

A member asked whether Trainers could remain in the room while ACAT members completed the session. Sal Maltese advised that this is the current policy. Therefore, members should advise him if this does not occur.

Gail Mahon advised members that she could be contacted via her number in the instance where they arrived early or late to a training session.

Mazin Aribi advised ACAT members that they could partner up to complete the training if they wished to.

18. Other / New Business

Michelle Jones introduced Aislin O’Hara as the new Project Lead - Wheel-Trans Customer Service for the Wheel-Trans transformation program.

Regarding the ACAT Information Sessions for 2017 membership, Angela Marley encouraged members to recruit members and bring them to attend the ACAT Information Sessions on October 6, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. or October 17, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. Interested candidates must attend one of the information sessions to get an ACAT Application Form.

19. Next Meeting

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

20. Adjournment

On a motion by Debbie Gillespie, the meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

Megan Lewry
Recording Secretary
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