ACAT Meeting - December 21, 2021
Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.
- Debbie Gillespie, Chair
- Angela Marley, Co-Vice Chair
- Raymond Dell'Aera, Co-Vice Chair
- Louise Bark
- Mary Burton
- Margaret Hageman
- Joan Jordan
- Lynn McCormick
- Desrianne McIlwrick
- Craig Nicol
- Thomas Richardson
- Lauri Sue Robertson
- Howard Wax
- Anita Dressler
- Jessica Geboers
- Igor Samardzic
- Jaspreet Dhaliwal
- Valdo Tammark
- Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer
- Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
- Dean Milton, Project Lead, Wheel-Trans Transformation
- Matt Hagg, Senior Planner, System Accessibility
- Yuval Grinspun, Wheel-Trans Transformation Program Manager
- Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager - Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
- Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer
- Richard Leary, Deputy CEO / Chief Service Officer
- Kirsten Watson, Chief Customer Officer
- Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
- Tara Bal, Chief Financial Officer
- Brad Ross, Executive Director - Corporate Communications
- Mike Palmer, Chief Operating Officer
- Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
- Jacqueline Darwood, Head of Strategy & Service Planning
- Cheryn Thoun, Head of Customer Communications
- TTC Board Members
1. Call to Order / Attendance
2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
3. Approval of Agenda
4. Remarks from ACAT Chair, Debbie Gillespie
ACAT Chair Debbie Gillespie provided an overview of ACAT's activities in 2017:
- Six new subway stations were opened in December, expanding service to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre in York Region. While existing stations, Ossington, Woodbine, and St. Clair West, became accessible during the year as part of the Easier Access Project. ACAT was involved in creating station descriptions, touring stations, advising on accessibility items and speaking at station events.
- The Wheel-Trans Family of Services initiative was launched, and ACAT was part of the panel for the presentations held throughout the city in April. ACAT members were featured in the video as part of this presentation.
- The eligibility criteria for Wheel-Trans service were expanded to include people with cognitive and sensory disabilities. ACAT continues to work closely with staff to ensure good communication to customers and smooth rollout for each phase of the process.
- ACAT members also participated in the development of the travel training curriculum, the new streetcar video, and the Please Offer Me a Seat campaign.
- In response to the suggestion from ACAT, the deployment of the ramp was included for the first time in the annual TTC Bus Roadeo competition, held at Arrow Road Bus Division on June 25, 2017.
- ACAT participated in the annual People in Motion Show and the TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit.
The December 21, 2017 meeting marked Debbie Gillespie’s last ACAT General Meeting as Chair. Debbie Gillespie acknowledged the support of ACAT members, staff, and the 2017 ACAT Executive. She stated that she could not have fulfilled her role as Chair without their support, and the CNIB for recognizing the time commitment required to carry out her responsibilities.
5. Acknowledge and Thank the 2017 Retiring ACAT Members
6. Presentation and Introduction of the 2018 ACAT Members and Pool Members
7. Review and Approval of November 30, 2017 Minutes
On a motion by Thomas Richardson, seconded by Craig Nicol, the November 30, 2017 minutes were approved with the following amendment.
- Page 6, Item #8, Community Bus / Subcommittee Comments and Recommendations section, was amended to read: The 404 East York Community Bus did stop at the entrance to a seniors' residence. However, if passengers were not present at the stop, the bus would leave immediately, which did not provide passengers who were waiting in the lobby with enough time to come to the entrance.
8. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items
An update will be sent from Wheel-Trans staff regarding the stop request button on Community Buses.
ACAT members agreed that a presentation on PRESTO’s accessibility features and its rollout across the system is needed. It was also reported that information has been provided to the various subcommittees. Information is recorded in the DRS Subcommittee minutes.
Is Wheel-Trans able to provide door-to-door service on King during the King Street Pilot? Eve Wiggins reported that there is positive feedback from drivers regarding access to the full area on King, and further work will be done with customers on stop and wait locations. A report on the King Street Pilot will be presented to the TTC Board and then to ACAT in January/February 2018.
- Item: Request for Amendment to Proposed New Guidelines for sideway cafes – A member asked about the possibility of ACAT giving direct input to the design company for street furniture. As ACAT is an advisory committee, the inquiry request was passed to staff. The opinion was also expressed that bus shelters can be considered as a transit issue as they protect riders. ACAT members were asked to address specific areas of concern to DRS members.
10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
Communication Subcommittee (CS) – Margaret Hageman, Chair
A CS meeting was held on December 7, 2017 and the following items were discussed.
The subway newspaper, 24 Hours, has ceased its publication. There are now plans to print “Accessibility Tips” in the Metro newspaper.
The Streetcar Education video can be found on the TTC website and on YouTube, and has now obtained 2,000 views. The video presents information on how to board and use the streetcars safely and is geared towards all users.
Ian Dickson presented the modifications to the stop poles at the Shared Wheel-Trans Stops used by Wheel-Trans and conventional buses in the Family of Services pilot. The pilot includes 40 stops across five bus routes. Due to the amount of content on the pole, CS recommended that decoding information be provided and published in the next Access newsletter. Also, that symbols be used instead of words.
During 2017, CS members provided input on the Access newsletters that are sent to Wheel-Trans customers, the Family of Services materials, surveys, letters to new Wheel-Trans customers informing them of their registration status/conditions, Community Bus communications, the Public Forum on Accessible Transit, the update on ACAT brochure, the Handbook for Accessible Travel, and People in Motion trade show.
TTC Communications staff has provided information that advertising and communications for the Community Bus will be done at street level. This includes the placement of transit shelter information along Community Bus routes, advertising in community newspapers, and conducting face to face outreach.
Questions and Comments from Committee Members
Craig Nicol commented on the lack of tactile information on the poles for shared bus stops. Customers with vision loss have no way of knowing that the stop is shared. This item will be added to the Outstanding List for the 2018 Committee, as different types of vehicles and Family of Services now use the stops.
A question was asked about whether there are plans to add an audio version of the information currently being displayed as an electronic visual display in the bus shelters. It was also mentioned that some communities are also exploring the use of transit poles made from different materials that provide unique auditory information when contacted by a white cane.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair
A DRS meeting was held on December 6, 2017.
TTC Design Standards – ACAT Suggestions
Adrian Piccolo, TTC Chief Architect, met with DRS to review a list of design features that have been raised by the Subcommittee this year. Another meeting will be scheduled in 2018 to continue the review.
PRESTO – Proposed Reader Screen and CNIB Card Update
Jan Richards and Allan Foster, TTC Farecard Team, discussed the proposed updates to the information displayed on PRESTO fare payment screens. Customers have shared concerns of not being aware of the amount charged when tapping, and that managing their balances is difficult as these items are not displayed. It was proposed that the amount paid and card balance be displayed briefly upon tapping. It was also suggested that PRESTO equipment in the 905 area have audio capabilities, along with the installation of an earphone jack.
CNIB PRESTO cards are for TTC fares only, and will feature a raised tactile symbol in the bottom centre of each card. The CNIB client numbers are printed on the card.
DRS Outstanding Items List
New fare gates, power operated doors, cameras, and an intercom are being installed at the Scarborough Centre station to provide an accessible route between the GO Station and the TTC bus platform.
Next DRS meeting
Depending on the requirements for consultation, a DRS meeting may be scheduled in January. DRS members from the 2017 Subcommittee are expected to participate.
Questions and Comments from Committee members
During the tour of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) stations, it was observed that limited media cannot be purchased on the PRESTO machines, and until such machines are installed, fare boxes will be in operation. It was reported that limited use media paper PRESTO cards are expected mid-2018 and that tokens and other alternative forms of payment will be accepted at the TYSSE stations until at least that time.
Concerns were expressed regarding the reach of the PRESTO fare vending device. It was observed that a compromise had been made regarding the placement of the keypad to accommodate both standing and sitting positions. In addition, information on the small display is duplicated on the main screen.
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Valdo Tammark, Chair
Debbie Gillespie presented the Service Planning Subcommittee’s October 4, 2017 report on behalf of Valdo Tammark.
Emergency Subway Closures - Accessible Alternatives
Staff reported that Transit Control provided responses to complaints received regarding subway closures and customers being dropped off at inaccessible stations. Transit Control will trigger buses if the delay is expected to be 15 minutes or more in length, as it takes time to stage enough buses to bridge service between stations.
Wheel-Trans is to provide vehicles in case of emergency closures. In the future, Wheel-Trans staff will be connected to the Transit Control Centre to help respond to customers faster, as part of the Family of Services initiative.
Comments and Questions from Subcommittee Members
In a situation where an emergency stop is made at an inaccessible station, there should be an announcement that informs customers who require an accessible station to stay on the train so that they can be taken back to an accessible station.
During emergency subway closures, what happens when a customer requires a Wheel-Trans vehicle to continue the rest of their trip? Wheel-Trans staff will provide the protocol for this.
2017 Public Forum on Accessible Transit - Debrief
Suggestions and Comments from the Subcommittee Members
- The ACAT booth at future Public Forums should be differentiated from the TTC booth. Staff noted that the table would usually be identified with an ACAT table cloth but this was left out of the planning in error.
- Name tags should be provided for ACAT members seated at the information table.
- It is recommended to emphasize that ACAT members only speak to ACAT-related matters. TTC-related questions should be referred to staff.
- Alternative locations for future Public Forums are being considered.
- It is recommended to have the Forum next year at a time where the TTC Board members can attend.
- Having the Community Bus and the ProMaster Bus at the venue was a good idea.
- For next year’s Forum, allowing members of the audience to text or email their questions should be considered.
- Instead of handing out questionnaires, short targeted questions could be asked by the facilitator at the start to take the pulse of the audience. Responses will be immediate.
- Better awareness of the Forum should be a priority as some people believe that the Forum is solely for Wheel-Trans customers.
Matt Hagg provided the following report on review of the comments:
- 65 questionnaires were received and based on the feedback:
- The number of attendees using conventional transit has increased from previous years.
- The number of attendees using streetcar has increased.
- The ratings received were generally good.
- 34 people spoke in person during the Forum, 126 Assistance Cards were submitted, 17 calls/emails were received and 433 discreet comments received.
The comments and questions will be sorted and referred to the appropriate TTC department. Responses will be posted on the TTC website by year-end.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) - Lynn McCormick, Chair
A WTOS meeting was held on December 14, 2017.
Nagini Pappu and David Hogg, ITS staff, presented the changes to the trip booking system. Discussion was held on the lack of communications regarding the changes to the system, as well as the changes not being reviewed by ACAT prior to rollout. Consensus was reached to move forward with the current system, as returning to the old system could be confusing especially for customers with cognitive disabilities. A number of changes were recommended and the estimated date for the changes was to be sent to Lodon Hassan.
Dave Tonon, Manager of Lakeshore Garage, reported that 13 Pro Master buses are to be delivered in December 2017. Feedback on the buses has been positive, with comments made about smoothness and easy maneuverability.
Louise Riggi, Project Co-ordinator, Wheel-Trans, provided the Wheel-Trans 10-year Strategy update, reporting that the access hub on Meadowvale Loop will open in January 2018. Ten more sites will be discussed at the next ACAT meeting.
Charlene Sharpe, Business Analyst, reported that the Community Bus schedules will change in January 2018. Adjustments are being made for longer service times. Timing will no longer be on the hour, and 30-minute breaks are scheduled for two of five Community Bus routes. A communications package will be sent out. Wheel-Trans customers will receive direct mailing of new schedules.
Wheel-Trans Operators have provided feedback that the allocation of five minutes for loading and unloading customers is not sufficient given customer load and traffic. Further feedback is needed from customers.
Lodon Hassan reported that 1,496 applications were received, with 78 customers given a functional assessment. Out of the 78, 61 became conditional customers, 12 did not appear, and 3 moved into unconditional status.
A query was received about using the Priority Line for cancellations or no show alerts. It was confirmed that the system is not set up for other tasks than booking priority trips.
The next Wheel-Trans Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for February 19, 2018.
Questions and Comments from Committee Members
Wheel-Trans staff confirmed that the Community Bus service operates from curb to curb, not door to door.
A member repeated the comment made earlier that drivers do not stop long enough to enable passengers who are waiting inside the building to come out to the entrance. It has been suggested that bus drivers wait for customers who might be seeking shelter inside to come out to the stop. Drivers are not required to go into buildings.
Personal thanks were expressed to all Committee members regarding their support to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee Chair.
11. ACAT Subcommittee Meeting Highlights for the Next TTC Board Meeting
- New Streetcar use and safety video produced and completed with ACAT Communications Subcommittee’s input. The video can be viewed on the TTC website and YouTube.
- Identifying alternate formats for the information on bus stop poles provided for persons with visual impairment. As a result of discussion at ACAT, it was identified that the new stop poles used for accessible buses along the Family of Services routes pose accessibility barriers due to the height of information and the lack of tactile indicators.
- A review of TTC architectural design elements is underway
- Discussion to upgrade PRESTO customer payment device information. (Note: This relates to the provision of card balance and amount charged.)
- TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit Debrief
- Discussed changes to the Wheel-Trans Trip Booking System
12. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update
13. Wheel-Trans Transformation Program – Presentation
Yuval Grinspun, Wheel-Trans Transformation Program Manager, provided an update on the Wheel-Trans 10-year Strategy and also provided an overview of the Transformation Program.
The Wheel-Trans 10-year Strategy spans a number of key areas and will focus on providing full community and stakeholder engagement, by ensuring communication and support for services.
New categories of eligibility for Wheel-Trans service began as of January 1, 2017. There have been 12,873 applications received and processed. An overview was provided of the breakdown of the status granted to applicants. It was noted that only seven appeals were received, which reflects that customers feel they were given a fair opportunity to present their case and were satisfied with the results of the assessment.
The Family of Services (FOS) service delivery model integrates Wheel-Trans as a door to door service with conventional services. It has been enabled for conditional customers, and is based on customer feedback. The launch has occurred in four phases with the first two phases focused on integration with the subway network while the second two phases focused on the conventional bus network.
Conventional Operators have been provided with AODA training, and feedback from ACAT has been incorporated. Regular communications have also been instituted. Conventional Operators, Transit Control, Transit Enforcement, Bus Transportation, and Service Planning departments are all working together.
The third phase of the FOS pilot has now been implemented, with 48,000 Family of Services trips delivered. It was observed that long-term success will rely on customers’ comfort level when travelling on conventional services. FOS volunteers were commended for encouraging other customers. Training and communication have also been tested out with ACAT volunteers. Further training is expected in 2018.
A new Late Cancellation and No Show policy has been introduced. Penalties have been removed and replaced with points. These changes have been met with positive feedback.
ProMaster Buses have been delivered and ACAT’s feedback has been vital for modifying these buses.
The Community Buses have been introduced, with pilot routes launched on two out of five routes. These pilot routes may be expanded if customer response increases and the areas of improvement have been found for route schedules. Once the nine-month pilot had been completed, a report will be made to the TTC Board in 2018.
The Access Hubs are planned for a network of conventional buses, and feedback has been obtained from the Design Review Subcommittee. The access hub at Meadowvale is close to completion and is scheduled for launch in January 2018. Further discussions will be regarding 11 other locations.
An outline of future plans for 2018-2019 was provided, which include an increased number of bus routes, launch of the travel training workshop, and the delivery of more ProMaster vehicles. Other plans include a new phone system for a better call management support, improvements to dispatch and scheduling as well as the customer relationship management system. There will also be opportunities to further advance customer experience strategy and develop a customer charter and handbook. Key policies will also be revised.
A list of ACAT’s contributions to the 10-year Strategy plan was provided. ACAT was thanked for its role, which has been critical to ensuring that the customers’ best interests are met.
Questions and Comments from Committee Members
A member commended the friendliness of conventional bus drivers, but observed a lack of knowledge of securements. Staff responded that, for the pilot program, training is currently targeted to Divisions and Operators of Family of Services routes, and there is a higher probability that a Family of Services customer will be driven by a trained Operator. Securement is covered in the training and there are plans to expand training and engagement for all bus operators.
It was noted that education needs to be provided to customers on the need for securement as it provides protection in a moving vehicle. It was also noted that there is an “all or nothing” policy in place on securement – where customers must choose all securement points and if they opt out of some points, must opt out of all. Driver training is not helpful if customers choose not to be secured.
A member commented that refresher courses on sensitivity training are needed for drivers on Cosburn and Leaside buses and reported difficulty obtaining priority seats on conventional buses.
A member noted that Wheel-Trans customers now have the ability to book their own Family of Services trips to any stop on the bus route, which allows customers to invent their own trips.
Angela Marley commended the creation of Access Hubs, noting that it provides humanity and heating to customers who need to wait for their connections. The Family of Services staff were also praised for their assistance to customers and willingness to solve problems.
Yuval Grinspun reported on the rollout of a new scheduling and reservations system which will be integrated with the conventional network. ACAT’s feedback is helpful in identifying issues so that the new system can be defined.
It was reported that a longer journey results when an additional person is added to a Wheel-Trans trip. Staff will look into this issue.
A suggestion was made that locations for future access hubs, such as in projects like the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, be discussed with ACAT, as there might be customers who want to take Wheel-Trans to such locations. Yuval Grinspun noted that a network of hubs will be established over two years and further expansion may also be considered.
Could the length of travel time be predicted for customers who use both Family of Services and Wheel-Trans services? Staff responded that FOS Reservationists base the travel on scheduled trip travel times and add in a 10- to 15-minute buffer so that the customer does not miss a connection. A member requested that customers be informed of buffer times.
14. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters
15. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) – Tom Richardson, ACAT Representative
16. CEO Update
Personal remarks were made regarding Andy Byford’s interaction with ACAT and that the insight obtained from working with customers with mobility impairments has strengthened his resolve on the need for accessibility. The TTC’s accessibility program is in safe hands with Richard Leary.
Debbie Gillespie was presented with a framed and signed map of the TYSSE system, and Andy Byford was presented with a photo of the 2017 ACAT Committee and a poetic presentation.
17. Review of Correspondence
18. Guidelines for Presenters at ACAT Meetings
19. 2018 ACAT Meeting Dates for Approval:
On a motion by Louise Bark and seconded by Howard Wax, the 2018 ACAT Meeting dates were approved.
- January 26, 2018, Friday (as January 25, 2018 is a TTC Board Strategy Meeting)
- February 22, 2018
- March 29, 2018
- April 26, 2018
- May 31, 2018
- June 28, 2018
- July 26, 2018
- August 30, 2018
- September 27, 2018
- October 25, 2018
- November 29, 2018
- December 20, 2018
20. Other / New Business
21. For Members’ Information
ACAT New Member Orientation– January 10, 2018, Wednesday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., 1900 Yonge Street 7th Floor Boardroom/p>
ACAT Executive Elections– January 17, 2018, Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 1900 Yonge Street 7th Floor Boardroom
22. Next Meeting
The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.