ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Friday, January 26, 2018
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:326
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

  • Raymond Dell’Aera, Chair
  • Mazin Aribi, Co-Vice Chair
  • Desrianne McIlwrick, Co-Vice Chair
  • Louise Bark
  • Anita Dressler
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • Thomas Richardson
  • Lauri Sue Robertson

Pool Members

  • Scott McArthur
  • Angela Rebeiro
  • Igor Samardzic

Regrets

  • Mary Burton
  • Jessica Geboers

TTC Representatives

  • Rick Leary, Acting Chief Executive Officer
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner, System Accessibility
  • Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager - Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Charlene Sharpe, Business Analyst, Wheel Trans
  • Martin Wiegers, Instructor, Bus Transportation
  • Aislin O’Hara, Project Lead - Customer Service, Wheel Trans
  • Donna Harris, Customer Communications
  • Thamina Jaferi, Diversity and Human Rights

Copies

  • Rick Leary, Acting Chief Executive Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Acting Deputy CEO/Chief Customer Officer
  • Collie Greenwood, Acting Deputy Chief Service 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
  • Deborah Brown, Acting Head of Customer Communications
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Raymond Dell'Aera, ACAT Chair, called the meeting to order and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil

3. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Marian McDonell, the agenda was approved with the following amendment.

  • Addition as Item #9: update from staff from the Training Department regarding Bus Recertification Sessions.

Under New Business:

  • Wheel-Trans stops at subway stations and street entrances (Angela Marley)
  • TTC response to problems and emergencies involving customer mobility device breakdowns on the TTC (Lauri Sue Robertson)

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair Raymond Dell’Aera

ACAT held an in-camera meeting on January 17, 2018 to hold the ACAT Executive elections. Raymond Dell'Aera was elected as ACAT Chair. Mazin Aribi and Desrianne McIlwrick were elected as the Co Vice-Chairs. Thomas Richardson was elected as the ACAT Representative to the TTC Customer Liaison Panel. Raymond Dell’Aera welcomed the new ACAT members and the retired ACAT members were thanked.

Raymond Dell'Aera stated that Subcommittee Chairs will be elected at the first Subcommittee meetings of the year.

2017 ACAT Chair Debbie Gillespie and Co-Vice Chair Angela Marley were acknowledged for their hard work and dedication.

ACAT reiterated its endorsement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) principles: that all persons shall be accommodated and have full access to all services. ACAT accommodation is to the point of undue hardship.

Thanks were extended to volunteers at the ACAT booth at the Abilities Expo, which presented an opportunity to engage people within and outside the Greater Toronto Area.

The new 2018 CNIB TTC transit passes were released January 2, 2018, and are now compatible with PRESTO.

Easier Access upgrades at Coxwell station were completed as of December 2017. An official launch is being planned for March 2018.

5. Review and Approval of December 21, 2017 Minutes

On a motion by Thomas Richardson, seconded by Lauri Sue Robertson, the December 21, 2017 minutes were approved with the following amendment:

  • Page 5, Item #10, Communications Subcommittee Report, under Questions and Comments, Louise Bark stated that the reference to audio tape should be amended to say, "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. In addition, some communities are also exploring the use of tactile or cane sensitive poles." 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."

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

  • Item: Request for Amendment to Proposed New Guidelines for sidewalk 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.
  • Item: Travel Assistance Card - An update will be provided in March regarding the status of the Travel Assistance Card.
  • Item: Wheel-Trans Buses being permitted to use DVP Bus Bypass Lanes - Eve Wiggins reported that this item is in its final stages, and that the TTC and the City of Toronto have come to an agreement. The last stage is for Operators to undergo refresher training.
  • Item: Emergency Subway Closures - Shuttle Buses for Inaccessible Turn-back Stations - Update to be given at Service Planning Subcommittee report
  • Item: Request for Amendment to Proposed New Guidelines for Sidewalk Cafes - Ongoing.
  • Item: Lack of Tactile Information on Poles for Shared Bus Stops - Matt Hagg reported this is still ongoing as the Communications Subcommittee has not yet held a meeting.

Business Arising

  • Regarding ACAT’s inquiry into accessible features on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, staff are already working on connecting ACAT with Metrolinx's Chief Customer Service & Marketing Officer, Mary Proc.
  • Mazin Aribi expressed concern that Warden and Islington stations would not meet the requirements of the Easier Access Program by 2025, as funding has not yet been secured for the bus terminal redevelopments that will be required to accommodate accessibility.

7. Deputation

Nil

8. Announcement of 2018 Subcommittee Membership

The 2018 Subcommittee membership was announced and the Guidelines for Subcommittees were read.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Craig Nicol emphasized that members are expected to be in attendance in order to maintain quorum. Absences should be communicated ahead of time, when possible, to the Subcommittee Chair and Staff liaison.

Members who are interested in attending Subcommittee meetings should inform the staff liaison and Subcommittee Chair. Such members can listen, and address the Subcommittee, once recognized by the Chair, but may not vote.

In reference to a member's query, it was confirmed that the Executive (the ACAT Chair or a designate) are allowed to attend and participate in every Subcommittee, but cannot vote. It is recommended that the ACAT Executive attend the meetings when possible, which would be helpful for when the ACAT Executive has their Quarterly meeting with the TTC CEO, Head of Wheel-Trans, Board Chair, and Vice Chair.

9. Training Department  – Bus Recertification Sessions

Martin Wiegers, Bus Transportation Instructor, provided an update on the Bus Recertification training sessions. He started by explaining internal changes which has placed ACAT's involvement in training on hold. Once both the Customer Service course and Bus Operator Recertification have resumed, ACAT members will be informed.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Are there opportunities for ACAT members to participate in current programs, e.g. curriculum development?

Could the Service Planning Subcommittee review the existing curriculum and see if any new items should be added to the Bus Operator Recertification curriculum in light of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy and Family of Services? Matt Hagg reported that this will be added to the Service Planning Subcommittee's to-do list.

Is there AODA training for new hires? Martin Wiegers responded that such training is usually scheduled within six months of the Operators' hiring.

10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Communication Subcommittee (CS)

No CS meeting was held since the last ACAT meeting.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS)

No DRS meeting was held since the last ACAT meeting.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS)

Debbie Gillespie presented the December 6, 2017 Service Planning Subcommittee report on behalf of Valdo Tammark, 2017 SPS Chair.

Final Draft - Five Year Corporate Plan

Staff presented the final draft of the TTC Five-year Corporate Plan encompassing 2018-2022. SPS members noted that the PDF file provided was not accessible to visually impaired Subcommittee members using a screen reader. One member was not able to navigate through the document by section and return to a specific location. Reading from beginning to the end of the document was the only option available.

Staff assured members this would be rectified for the online version. A note of information, this has now been placed online and is accessible.

SPS members provided further comments:

  • Ensure there is sufficient colour contrast
  • Review photos for content and relevance
  • Incorporate accessibility throughout the plan, rather than specific sections. This demonstrates true integration of services and initiatives.
  • Include Accessibility in the Key Milestones section.

The Corporate Plan was originally scheduled to be presented to the TTC Board at the January 25, 2018 Strategy meeting.

TYSSE Emergency Evacuation Debrief

This item was deferred to the next SPS meeting.

New Business – Emergency Subway Closures

SPS reviewed the response from Wheel-Trans staff regarding Family of Services trips affected by emergency subway closures. If the closure occurs at an inaccessible station, Transit Control will coordinate all details by contacting all departments and Wheel-Trans vehicles/trips are moved to shuttle service.

If a customer is unable to exit the station, they are to proceed to the Designated Waiting Area (DWA) and request assistance from the Passenger Assistance Intercom. This also applies to customers using conventional services.

Express Bus Stop Announcements

Bus stop announcements will be added to buses on all Express and Rocket routes as part of the Vehicle Information System and Integrated Operations Network (VISION) Communications system starting in 2018.

The next SPS meeting will be held in 2018.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

It was suggested that the Communications Subcommittee inform customers, either via signage or within the newsletter, that customers stuck within inaccessible stations should proceed to the DWA.

How does Transit Control coordinate pick up with accessible taxis? Eve Wiggins explained how Transit Control monitors the customer journey by automatically re-routing, sending dispatch notes, and alerting vehicles on who to pick up. Taxis are also included in the communications loop. The automated features are helpful for future service increases due to Family of Services (FoS) trips.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS)

No WTOS meeting was held since the last ACAT meeting.

11. ACAT Subcommittee Meeting Highlights for the Next TTC Board Meeting

Raymond Dell'Aera requested that Subcommittee Chairs provide to the ACAT Chair one to three main items that can be used as highlights of their Subcommittee's activities, so that a high level overview may be provided to the TTC Board Members at the Board meetings. It was recommended that Subcommittees discuss which highlights should be chosen to be reported to the Board.

12. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update 

Aislin O’Hara provided an overview of the 10-Year Strategy update, plan, and milestones.

ACAT members were encouraged to help with the goal of 3% of Wheel-Trans trips becoming Family of Services (FoS) trips. ACAT members were also encouraged to participate in Phase 4 of the FoS pilot which involves customers being picked up at one of 42 designated bus stops. Members are invited to provide feedback.

The Meadowvale Access Hub is now ready and a formal opening ceremony is scheduled. Howard Wax and Angela Marley were thanked for their feedback. A second location is planned for Humber College, and site visits for the next three locations are being planned. Dean Milton will provide more feedback to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.

The Operators from Malvern, Wilson, and Arrow Road Divisions have obtained AODA training with mental health training planned to be conducted in the future.

Outreach events are being planned to publicize the Community Bus routes and increase community engagement. A consulting firm has been hired to target the seniors market. The events will be advertised to community members.

New vehicles have been obtained and Wheel-Trans has put 10 new ProMaster buses into service. An additional six buses are scheduled to enter service, bringing the total to 16.

Customer Service sessions will be held in various locations starting May 2018. The focus of the meetings is to share the Wheel-Trans customer experience strategy and present customer policies. The February 16, 2018 WTOS meeting will outline the customer journey and members’ feedback is welcomed and encouraged. More information will be provided to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.


Questions and Comments from Committee Members


Charlene Sharpe, Business Analyst, confirmed that the Community Bus schedules along the two pilot routes have been republished and mailed out to customers. Community Buses will also have their own pamphlets which can be accessed on the TTC website.

Aislin O'Hara confirmed that Phase 4 of the Family of Services Pilot is set to begin on February 12, 2018. This phase will allow customers to be picked up by Wheel-Trans at one of the designated FoS bus stops. Customers are able to book FoS trips online, including Phase 4 trips (i.e. pick up at bus stop). Wheel-Trans is working with IT to improve the customer experience for online booking for FoS trips. We are developing an "FoS" button where customers can easily click to select the landmark for their FoS trip when booking online.

What is the planned number of hubs? Staff responded that there are 10 planned in total, with three planned for 2018.

The issue of safety was brought up, given the Meadowvale Hub’s remote location. Suggestions were made, such as the inclusion of pay phones or planning future hubs near commercial centres. In addition, it was noted that snow removal is paramount and should be part of communication with the TTC and the City of Toronto. Aislin O’Hara stated that the suggestions of a phone/camera will be raised with Dean Milton.

What is the possibility of obtaining an FoS trip within 10 minutes? Aislin O’Hara noted that FoS trips are guaranteed to arrive within four hours’ notice, and times may be reduced to two hours in the future. A reduction in times is a way to provide incentive to customers. Feedback was provided that a member who booked an FoS trip online was placed on the waiting list.

Discussion ensued on rear loading at bus stops. It was reported that visits have been conducted at the 42 bus stops to ensure there is a safe space to deploy the ramps and ensure safe pick up and drop offs. Members expressed concerns about the use of rear loading, given the size of the ProMaster vehicles, the size of mobility devices, and the space within the bus, if another customer is already seated. Eve Wiggins stated that staff’s first priority is that of safety. It is up to the Operator to determine the safest way to board a passenger. Customers should inform the drivers if they feel unsafe or report if they have a problem with a particular Operator.

A member reported that curb cuts are also needed at subway stations, in case passengers are picked up by a ProMaster bus. Also, the curb cut at the Access Hub was covered with snow when recently visited. It was stressed that the proximity of curb cuts to the WT stop in the design of future hubs is essential.

A member asked about the procedure for maintenance of the Access Hubs and Aislin O’Hara responded that Customer Service will respond to customer feedback and notify the appropriate department.

Debbie Gillespie also provided feedback that a person with vision loss might not hear the bus when waiting inside an Access Hub, and that she would either stay outside or use an app to alert her of the next bus arrival. She also noted that there is a significant distance from the Hub to the actual bus pick up spot.

Angela Marley noted that ACAT members have expressed concern that FOS customers at the Access Hubs need phone access to call for help, if needed.  In addition, education is needed on the conventional side as more Wheel-Trans customers will be using the conventional system.

In response to a query about feedback for Phase 3, Aislin O’Hara reported that a specific FoS dashboard will be presented by Dean Milton at the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee meeting, which depicts a breakdown by mode and day. Requests were made for data on the type of mobility devices used by customers.

Members were asked to refer any other items to the ACAT Executive or to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.

13. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) – Tom Richardson, ACAT Representative

There are no updates as the November CLP meeting was deferred and the December meeting was not held. The next CLP meeting is scheduled for January 30, 2018.

14. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

A TTC Board meeting was held on December 11, 2017 at City Hall.

The October 26, 2017 ACAT minutes were received by the Board.

As outgoing CEO, Andy Byford presented highlights of his five-plus years as CEO of the TTC which included many accessibility-related milestones:

  • Easier Access project completions such as Dufferin and Lawrence West
  • Introducing the Support Person Assistance Card
  • The Priority Seating campaign
  • New modern accessible fare gates, noting ACAT’s advocacy for a more accessible card reader
  • Wheel-Trans Transformation and a new Wheel-Trans vehicle

The appointment of new ACAT members and pool members were approved. The retiring five members were presented with in-appreciation plaques and a transit pass in line with the number of years served in their term, as recognition of their contribution.

The next TTC Board meeting is scheduled on January 18, 2018.

TTC Board Meeting - January 18, 2018

A TTC Board Meeting was held on January 18, 2018.

The November 30, 2017 ACAT minutes were received by the Board. Chair Josh Colle thanked Debbie Gillespie for her service as 2017 ACAT Chair, for being a great advocate, and for her contributions to the TTC. Commissioner Fragedakis further recognized Debbie for her involvement with both ACAT and the Commission, noting it to be on the record.

Acting CEO Rick Leary provided an update on Wheel-Trans and stated that punctuality has dropped since August 2017. However, since the 4-hour Cancellation Policy was introduced in September 2017, same day bookings have doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 per day.

In terms of Family of Services, the procurement of a new software is underway to assist with future scheduling of FoS trips.

Mr. Leary recognized the continued collaboration with ACAT during these changes. Coxwell Station became fully accessible as of New Year’s Eve, and several accessibility features were noted. It was also mentioned that the 506 Carlton and 505 Dundas streetcar routes will be operating entirely with buses as of February 18, 2018 until further notice, due to the shortage of streetcars. This enables accessible service on the entirety of these routes.

To relieve crowding within the King Street Pilot area, there are now 10 low-floor streetcars on the 514 Cherry streetcar route, and 8 on the 504 King route. 18 out of 50 streetcars assigned to King Street are low-floor. Full deployment of low-floor streetcars on the 504 King route is planned for late 2018.

A proposal was made to service Bluffers Park with a bus route to allow safe access to this waterfront park. An accessible bus stop is being looked at in front of the park pavilion. The pilot project will be available this summer.

TTC Board Strategy Meeting - January 25, 2018

The TTC Board held a Strategy Meeting on January 25, 2018.

Acting CEO Rick Leary presented the TTC Corporate Plan for 2018-2022. He highlighted some of the accomplishments of the previous 5-year Corporate Plan (2013-2017), including new Wheel-Trans vehicles, the acceleration of the Easier Access Program, and the commitment to improve access to conventional transit for Wheel-Trans users.

It was noted that the new TTC Corporate Plan was developed with input from many stakeholders, including ACAT. The Plan states the TTC’s strong organizational commitment to making Toronto’s transit system barrier-free and accessible to all, with the belief that all customers should enjoy the freedom, independence, and flexibility to travel anywhere on the public transit system, regardless of ability. Mr. Leary also noted the inclusion, for the first time, of the word “accessible” in the TTC’s mission statement as a qualifier for the type of network the TTC is to provide.

The Board approved the staff recommendations and adopted the Corporate Plan. The Corporate Plan highlights the TTC’s Easier Access Program, which is on track to make all subway stations accessible by 2025. The Plan also notes several improvements elsewhere across the transit system, including accessible low-floor streetcars, accessible buses, new Wheel-Trans buses, a growing number of accessible bus and streetcar stops, exterior and interior audible and visual stop and route announcements, simpler wayfinding, and consistent use of braille on elevator buttons and at customer help points.

A presentation on the Ridership Growth Strategy (RGS) Action Plan 2018-2022 was made. It outlines initiatives that the TTC will pursue over the next five years in order to grow its ridership.

A member of the public made a deputation regarding accessibility, stating that RGS should also take FoS trips into account, as crowding may affect certain passengers, and not just at rush hour. It was recommended that a report be created that outlines how accessibility relates to RGS and give people in the disability community time to provide ideas about how to improve the regular service.

The Board also moved two motions relating to accessibility:

  • Commissioner Fragedakis moved that the Board direct TTC staff to develop with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority a design for a way-finding solution at Pearson International Airport for TTC Bus 192 and report back to the Board with their preferred design and estimated costs on creating and installing the necessary way-finding signage.
  • Recognition of the importance of accessibility in increasing ridership - The motion from Chair Colle states: "That staff further consult with ACAT and the broader accessibility community about the Ridership Growth Strategy and any additional measures that can be considered to increase ridership and report back as part of the 2019 Ridership Growth Strategy Work Plan." Chair Colle noted that there are many situations where users cannot even get on the system and that improving accessibility is part of growing ridership for seniors and people with disabilities, and should therefore be part of the RGS.

The next TTC Board meeting is scheduled for February 15, 2018.


Questions and Comments from Committee Members


Mazin Aribi asked that the motion from Commissioner Fragedakis regarding the Airport Bus be referred to staff. This includes a new criteria for the website and that the Airport Bus be accessible for pick up and drop off with visible signage and a Wheel-Trans No Show board.

Regarding the feedback from a member of the public that FoS buses are difficult to use during rush hour and other periods of overcrowding, a request was made that this item be referred to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee. Mazin Aribi also recommended that the item be referred to the Service Planning Subcommittee for further discussion, including the possibility of a parallel service for subway lines 1 and 2 to accommodate for rush hour problems.

15. CEO Update

Acting CEO, Rick Leary, presented the CEO update. Greetings were shared from Andy Byford, former CEO.

Rick Leary reported that there are improvements in Wheel-Trans bookings and more flexibility with the four-hour Cancellation Policy in place.

The TTC is now recognizing the life cycle of vehicles such as the ProMaster, which are intended to provide service for about five or six years.

The TTC Corporate Plan was approved at the Board meeting, which outlines future plans for transit 25 years from now, with a goal of making the TTC accessible for all.

Rick Leary acknowledged ACAT’s accomplishments and thanked all members for their contributions.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Mazin Aribi outlined his and Rick Leary’s personal experience travelling on the TTC transit system using a wheelchair, which gave Rick a personal perspective on accessibility issues.

Craig Nicol commented that less crowding is needed on conventional buses, as this factors into accessibility. Further comments were made that the system needs be expanded into Scarborough, and opinions were expressed about the speed of the development. Rick Leary reported that the plans are still in the design process. The intent is to approach City Council with a 30% good design and to ensure that the design is properly socialized before costing commences.

16. Review of Correspondence

Nil

17. Guidelines for Presenters at ACAT Meetings

Members were asked to review the Guidelines and send feedback to the ACAT Executive. Angela Marley moved that the guidelines be used at ACAT General and Subcommittee meetings. Further requests were made for changes to the contrast of presentations and the addition of links so that all members' needs can be accommodated.

On a motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Debbie Gillespie, the Guidelines were approved.

18. Other / New Business

  • Customer Access at Wheel-Trans Stops located at Subway Station Street Entrances:

The City of Toronto Transportation Department REimagining Yonge Street Project is proposing installing bike lanes on Yonge Street from Sheppard and north of Finch. This includes a curbside bike lane at North York Centre subway station.

As curbside bike lanes impact safe access of Wheel-Trans customers to subway stations as well as to other Wheel-Trans customer locations, it was suggested that ACAT review the impact of curbside bike lanes on customer accessible access to subway stations. Twenty-eight of the seventy-three subway stations, located in the City of Toronto, have Wheel-Trans stops at the street entrance as opposed to on the bus platform in the station. This accessibility issue exists throughout the City. This item will be referred to the Service Planning Subcommittee.

  • Lauri Sue Robertson provided an account of a wheelchair breakdown which points to a need for emergency procedures for customer mobility device breakdowns on the TTC. While the standard policy is to contact Fire Services, the item was referred to both the Wheel-Trans Operations and Service Planning subcommittees as the incident was specific to mobility devices and how it could impact Family of Services trips.

19. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, February 22, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

20. Adjournment

On a motion by Lauri Sue Robertson, the meeting was adjourned at 3:31 p.m.

Temi Adewumi

Recording Secretary

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