ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, February 22, 2018
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:327
  • 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
  • Louise Bark
  • Mary Burton
  • Anita Dressler
  • Jessica Geboers
  • 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

  • Desrianne McIlwrick, Co-Vice Chair

TTC Representatives

  • Eve Wiggins, Project Manager – CEO Report
  • Lynn Middleton, Acting Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner, System Accessibility
  • Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager - Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Dean Milton, Manager - Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans
  • Thamina Jaferi, Diversity Consultant, Diversity and Human Rights
  • Ricardo Couto, Division Manager, Bus Transportation
  • Janet Lewis, Change Management Consultant
  • Robert Smith, Head of Bus Transportation
  • Anastasia Chouryguina, Customer Management & Program Intern

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, Project Manager – CEO Report / WTT Program
  • Lynn Middleton, Acting 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 at 1:17 p.m., and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Bobbi Moore, seconded by Marian McDonell, the agenda was approved with the following amendments:

  • Addition of Item #8: Bus Transportation Presentation by Robert Smith, Head of Bus Transportation

Under New Business

  • Security concerns of station overcrowding and Crisis Management (Lauri Sue Robertson)
  • Safety concerns on the subway (Louise Bark

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair

A moment of silence was observed for Wheel-Trans Operator Derek Herdsman who lost his battle with cancer on February 7, 2018.

It was reported that the Communications Subcommittee meeting on February 7, 2018 was cancelled due to inclement weather. Raymond Dell’Aera reviewed the Snow/Ice Contingency Plan as it relates to ACAT meetings, and noted that this information has now been placed in ACAT’s “Housekeeping Items” document.

5. Review and Approval of January 26, 2018 Minutes

On a motion by Angela Marley, seconded by Debbie Gillespie, the January 26, 2018 minutes were approved with the following amendments:

  • Page 3, Item #4, 4th paragraph, Remarks from ACAT Chair, add as the last line to paragraph 4: “ACAT accommodation is to the point of undue hardship.”
  • Page 4, Item #5, Review and Approval of December 21, 2017 Minutes, 1st bullet should read

“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. 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: Travel Assistance Card - An update will be provided in March.
  • Item: Suggestion that Wheel-Trans Buses be permitted to use DVP Bus Bypass Lanes - Eve Wiggins reported that a letter has been sent to the City, formally signed by the Chief Service Officer, and protocols are in place. Operators will receive refresher training in the upcoming months.  Staff will report back when the training is complete.
  • Item: Emergency Subway Closures – Shuttle Buses for Inaccessible Turn-back Stations Completed.

Comment:  Members expressed concern that this information needs to be communicated to transit users who have disabilities and requested Communications Subcommittee follow up.

  • Item: Request for Amendment to Proposed New Guidelines for Sidewalk Cafes – Ongoing
  • Item: Lack of Tactile Information on Poles for Shared Bus Stops – Ongoing
  • Item: FoS Trips are Difficult to Use during Periods of Overcrowding – Ongoing
  • Item: Access to Subway Stations and Wheel-Trans Stops at Entrances – Ongoing
  • Item: Emergency Procedures for Customer Mobility Device Breakdowns on TTC – March 2018.

7. Deputation: Nil

Nil.

8. Bus Transportation Presentation, Robert Smith   

Robert Smith, Head of Bus Transportation, presented a new customer and vehicle safety initiative which included:

  • Revision of the ‘Move Behind the Line’ white line decals located beside the driver
  • Rephrasing the language of the decal to give passengers clear instruction
  • Design and installation of door decals to inform drivers if the door is properly closed
  • Installation of a floor decal which reads “No Standing Zone”.
  • Review of the training procedures to include the newly revised and implemented decals
  • Creation of a public awareness campaign; creation of communication tips for Operators and Supervisors.

There has been a redesign of the “Move Behind the Line” decal (a mock-up was passed around). Instead of the current standard white line located on the floor on the inside of the front door, the new design will include yellow and white lines for a more visual effect, as well as arrows directing passengers to move further into the interior of the bus. To provide further reinforcement and clearer communication for passengers, a decal which is approximately 2 feet long by 10 inches wide will be placed on the Operator’s barrier door which will read: “Caution.  Move behind the line. Operators’ view must not be obstructed”.

Robert Smith emphasized the importance of front-of-the-bus safety including door operation.  Starting in 2018, new buses will also include an orange dot decal, measuring approximately ten inches across, which will be placed across either side of the weather stripping of the door. If the two sides of the dot decal do not meet, the Operator will know that the door is not correctly closed. 

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Are there any measures in place to inform blind or visually impaired passengers? There are audible announcements available to ask customers to move into the interior of the bus.

What if passengers do not want to move back and the line and signs are not enough? Robert Smith indicated that Customer Communications is working on a “Spot the dot, Don’t get caught” communication campaign, in an effort to change the current culture and teach Operators to communicate with customers regarding safety.

A member suggested that the audio announcement information be changed to include that the bus cannot be moved if passengers do not comply with safety rules, taking the onus off the Operator. Staff will revisit the audible announcements at the same time as the visual cues.

9. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update    

Eve Wiggins advised that there is a temporary change in responsibilities within Wheel-Trans. The day-to-day operations of the Wheel-Trans department will be handled by Lynn Middleton, as Acting Head of Wheel-Trans, until May. Eve Wiggins indicated that she will still be involved in the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy and will remain the liaison to the TTC Board for ACAT, and will continue to attend the ACAT Executive Quarterly meetings.

Dean Milton, Manager - Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans, provided an update on the following items:

Eligibility Management

In 2018, YTD, 1,900 applications were processed with 52% conditional, 17% unconditional, 1.2% ineligible customers.  In 2017, 13,400 applications were processed with 58% conditional, 11% unconditional, and 1.5% ineligible customers.

Wheel-Trans is continuing negotiations with the functional assessment provider, Sunnybrook Health Sciences, to incorporate a functional transit assessment for eligibility. The assessment will provide a more realistic and accurate picture of an applicant’s ability to travel on conventional transit.

Family of Services (FoS)

Phase 4 of the FoS pilot began on February 12, 2018 and will run until April 30, 2018. The goal for 2018 is 3% of total ridership or 144,000 diverted trips be a FoS trip. There are 1,000 volunteers and over 8,000 customers with conditional eligibility.

Staff is working with wayfinding to make enhancements to the bus stop poles, as well as using the former schedule information boards to display No Show information instead.

Employee training is ongoing and staff are to engage with customers with conditional eligibility. Customers are being made aware of FoS options that are available to them when they receive their acceptance letters and by the message when they call into the Reservations line.

Improvements will be made to the online booking site, with a specific grouping of FoS landmarks being created. Customer feedback has been positive with 77% very satisfied or satisfied with recent FoS trip; 87% very or somewhat likely to continue to use FoS; 63% of those conditional customers surveyed who did not take FoS trip stated it was due to their health challenge at the time of the travel.

Staff is working with the Strategy and Service Planning and Bus Transportation departments to identify the next surface routes and stops along those routes on which to roll out FoS.

Customer Experience

Big thanks to everyone who participated in Wheel-Trans Subcommittee workshop held February 16, 2018 on customer journey mapping. Insights will be a big factor in refining the customer experience strategy.

Wheel-Trans is continuing to develop the project plan for the Travel Training Pilot Program. The launch is anticipated for spring/summer 2018. Updates will be provided to the Wheel-Trans Operations subcommittee. On Friday, March 9, 2018, 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. at Leslie Barns, a workshop to review new drafts of the WT policies will be held.  All ACAT members are invited to participate.

Community and Stakeholder Relations

The next round of public meetings to provide an update on the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Program will be held on the third and fourth week of April. Exact dates will be communicated to ACAT and customers.

Ten community meetings on the Community Buses were scheduled in February. To date, there have been 4 meetings focusing on the 404 route, and 3 meetings focusing on the 400 route.

Upcoming meetings are scheduled on February 25th & 28th - both meetings about the 400 route, and on March 1, 2018 - one meeting about the 404 route (corresponding with the Coxwell Station elevator opening).

Members’ Feedback about the Community Bus:

  • Route and schedule Information at Community Bus stops is lacking
  • Route changes should include adding fixed stops
  • Conflicting reports of experiences with Operators:
    • Operators do not always notice people trying to wave down the bus
    • Operators are polite, friendly, and engaged

IT Technology Update

The new Telephony system is planned to go live in the second half of May. The new system will improve the customer experience over the phone. However, it will not reduce queue time, as this depends on how many calls are received and the number of staff available to answer the phones. Customers will be able to request a call back, rather than waiting on the line. It is expected that there will be less busy signals as there will be a greater queue capacity. Later this year (not May), the possibility of moving to one phone number to simplify customer calling will be looked at.

The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is planned to go live in June. This new system will improve the management of customer feedback and questions. It is integrated into the TTC’s broader customer feedback system and will help ensure response to every concern or feedback received.

Fleet Replacement Planning

Twenty (20) ProMaster buses have been delivered with a remaining 60 to be delivered by the end of the year. Approximately 30% of the Operators have been trained on these buses.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

A member requested more information regarding what will be included in the Environics customer survey which is sent after a customer takes an FoS trip. Dean Milton indicated that he would be happy to share the survey questions with ACAT prior to its launch. He noted that feedback was received through the Communications Subcommittee.

A member indicated that when you try and book a FoS trip online, your pick up window is for half an hour which can make the trip inordinately long. If you are planning your trip, you have to set aside extra time to ensure you can make all the connections. If you are booking independently, that is a big concern. Can that window be shortened? Dean Milton indicated that this is something that has been recognized as an issue. Customers working with a Reservationist would be able to collapse the window and make the trip much more fluid. Currently, the majority of customers are booking online. Staff will investigate further.

Is the Wheel Trans telephone system able to call a customer to indicate that the bus is five minutes away or that a vehicle has been changed from a bus to an accessible taxi? Staff responded that there will be upgrades to the Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) down the road that will have this feature; this is not part of the current telephone system.

Can more statistics be provided on how many customers are using FoS in the summertime? Staff will share those statistics and bring to the next meeting. Numbers have been compiled since the beginning of 2017 and there has not been very much of a difference across the board.

Will the outstanding issues regarding the new ProMaster buses documented at the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee meeting be addressed prior to bringing on the next 60 buses? Lynn Middleton indicated that all the modifications requested by WTOS prior to the delivery of the buses were dealt with.

An audit was conducted by Stantec, to further look into TTC infrastructure, wayfinding, and other accessibility features, and how that affects connectivity, seamless travel, and FoS trips. A member expressed interest to have that information shared with all of ACAT, in order to provide feedback. Dean Milton made a commitment to get the results of that audit to all ACAT members.

When will vehicle tracking be available for Wheel-Trans buses? Dean Milton indicated that down the road when the technology enhancements are completed, information to determine where the bus is, either by IVR or GPS tracking through your smartphone will be available.

10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Communication Subcommittee (CS)

The CS meeting scheduled on February 7, 2018 was cancelled due to inclement weather conditions. The next CS meeting will be on March 8, 2018.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) - Craig Nicol

A DRS meeting was held on February 1, 2018.  Craig Nicol was elected DRS Chair.

New Tactile and Braille Material

Ian Dickson, Manager - Design and Wayfinding, presented a prototype Passenger Assistance Intercom (PAI) panel with a sample of new tactile material used for raised print and braille. The new process is less expensive to manufacture and simpler to produce, making it faster and easier to alter or replace the signage if needed. The first use of the new material will be for the upgrade to the PAI system.

DRS members agreed that the tactile material is very good, with sharp and distinct raised surfaces. However, there were concerns related to how the upgraded PAI system would function for persons with vision and hearing loss, such as how they would be informed if the message was received when pressing the help button. Staff agreed to look into the possibility of having haptic feedback (touch feedback) when the button is pressed. A concern was also expressed to have consistent location of PAIs at fare lines.

Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit (ECLRT) Eglinton Station

Staff reviewed the ECLRT Eglinton Station 90% design with the Subcommittee. The Line 1 and Line 5 stations will be fully integrated with a total of nine elevators and multiple escalators in both directions. The ECLRT centre platform will be two levels below the existing Line 1 subway platform. The station will retain the current accessible entrance and have entrances on all four corners of the intersection. This station will have four accessible entrances with one more to be added at the southeast corner when the CIBC building is redeveloped.

DRS members commented on a need for consistency of safety and accessibility features in these interchange stations, including wayfinding, signage, and tactile cues.  It was suggested that the station renovation provides an opportunity to address the vertical gap problem at the Line 1 platform. It was also noted that the lower concourse presents a wayfinding challenge, and significant signage and a consistent tactile wayfinding path throughout need to be addressed.

Other Items

With ACAT and CNIB members now using PRESTO fare gates, the volume of the accept/reject tone volume was noted to be too low, and poses a significant issue.

Support person access to the system is still a problem and needs to be addressed with PRESTO. The current Support Person Assistance card does not integrate with PRESTO, meaning they cannot activate the fare gates with the card, and rely on showing it to the Collector. A solution needs to be implemented before the Collectors are redeployed as roaming customer service agents.

Next Meeting

The next DRS meeting is scheduled for March 7, 2018

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) - Thomas Richardson

An SPS meeting was held on February 1, 2018.  Thomas Richardson was elected SPS Chair.

Sierra Buehler, System Planner, and Dominic Ho, Transit Planner, presented “New TTC Services for Southwest Etobicoke” which outlined two new transit routes in the area. One route is the Mimico GO Shuttle route which will provide service from the Mimico GO station to the Lakeshore/Humber Bay area. The other proposed route is the West Mall Service which will serve the West Mall south of Dundas Street from Kipling Subway Station to Sherway Gardens. These routes were identified based on community feedback and studies showing a need due to increased population and employment in these areas.

The Mimico GO station route will only run during rush hours using one vehicle and will run every 30 minutes. All of the new streets serviced by this shuttle will have accessible stops. Access to the Mimico GO station will be from a bus stop on Newcastle Street at Windsor Street and customers will be required to walk in via the sidewalk on Windsor Street. The walking distance will be approximately 300 metres and is not covered and does not have sidewalk furniture at the stop. Since the Mimico GO station is not accessible, people using mobility devices are not recommended to travel on this route. The West Mall to Sherway Gardens route connects with other accessible surface routes as well as Kipling Station.

The next SPS meeting will be held on March 7, 2018.

Wheel-Trans Operations Committee (WTOS) - Lynn McCormick

A WTOS meeting was held on February 16, 2018.  Lynn McCormick was elected WTOS Chair.

Aislin O’Hara reported on the 2018-2022 TTC Corporate Plan new branding initiative called “The TTC Way”. 

Aislin O’Hara introduced the objectives of the Customer Journey Mapping exercise which is to outline each customer’s unique experiences and capture thoughts and emotions at each stage of their journey. The information collected will be used to update the customer experience strategy.

Staff are inviting all ACAT members to attend the Special Policy Meeting at Leslie Barns on March 9, 2018. 

Lodon Hassan provided the update on the Contact Centre. Two more transitional work employees have been hired to help address the high volume of phone calls, and two more employees have passed the training and will be assisting with the phone lines during the first week of March. Two new Reservationist positions have been approved for 2018.

The next WTOS meeting is scheduled for March 15, 2018.

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

DRS:

  • Provided feedback on the new tactile material used for raised print and braille on the Passenger Assistance Intercom (PAI) panel
  • Reviewed the ECLRT Eglinton Station 90% design and commented on safety concerns and a need for consistency and accessibility throughout these interchange stations

SPS:

  • Review of the two new transit routes to service Southwest Etobicoke to meet the needs of the growing community in this area

WTOS:

  • Reviewed the TTC Corporate Plan branding initiative called the TTC Way
  • Discussed in detail a customer’s experience on transit, to capture the thoughts and emotions throughout a customer’s journey on TTC

12. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) - Thomas Richardson, ACAT Representative

A CLP meeting was held on January 30, 2018.
The Panel reviewed their Terms of Reference and clarified their roles as a panel. There were no accessibility-related issues discussed at this meeting.
Another CLP meeting was held on February 21, 2018 and Louise Bark attended on behalf of Thomas Richardson.
The Panel reviewed a rough draft of the Customer Charter, containing 38 suggested points on what to include in the 2018 Customer Charter, with a focus on ensuring each point is written in a language that was clear and easy to understand. The topics discussed for inclusion in the Charter were as follows:

  • Reliability and functioning of vehicles
  • Timeliness of the ride
  • Reducing overcrowding
  • Adding new vehicle amenities (e.g. USB ports, passenger displays, individual Information sharing
  • Installation of elevators
  • Affordability
  • PRESTO
  • Integration and improvements for those who are cycling, parking, and using Family of Service 
    • The group was given some suggestions about incorporating points that have been incorporated in the newest Easier Access plan that is published online. These include Platform gap, Customer education, Community Bus, Access Hubs, and Family of Services.

13. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

A TTC Board Meeting was held on February 15, 2018. 

The December 21, 2017 ACAT minutes were received by the TTC Board. 

The following accessibility-related items were discussed:

  • CEO Report - the 2-hour transfer policy is scheduled to go live in August. The first phase of the Fair Pass Program will begin in April, providing discounts of 33% on single adult fares and 21% on adult Metropasses to eligible riders on social assistance. Future phases will provide the discount to riders with low incomes and will be fully implemented by 2021.
  • New Retail Strategy Presentation - Staff presented a strategy aimed at increasing non-fare revenue from retail and improving the customer experience. A member of the public made a deputation suggesting that the new strategy can be used to offset cost of the Easier Access rebuilds of Islington and Warden stations.
  • Report on the events of January 30, 2018 on Line 1 - Staff talked about issues that led to a particularly bad overcrowding incident at Yonge-Bloor station on January 30, 2018. A report was presented showing measures being implemented to prevent future situations of this type. Staff also made two recommendations: (1) TTC staff report to the May 2018 TTC Board meeting on possible bus and streetcar service and route changes that could help reduce overcrowding; and (2) TTC staff report to the July 2018 TTC Board meeting on the analysis of peak and off peak fares as part of the 2018 Ridership Growth Strategy analysis report.

The TTC Board also passed a motion for the TTC to hold a mock test of severe overcrowding conditions in order to test its preparedness for future events of this kind.

The next TTC Board Meeting will be held on March 20, 2018 at City Hall.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

How will people be made aware of the Fair Pass program? Staff advised the next communication steps are not known, as this policy is administered by the City and not the TTC.

A statement was made that ACAT would like to have input regarding the retail strategy and the retailers’ use of accessibility features such as elevators, as well as feedback regarding products placed in corridors hindering mobility. Staff responded that they intend to consult with ACAT on the strategy at the appropriate time.

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

The ACAT Executive Quarterly meeting was held on February 8, 2018 attended by TTC Chair Josh Colle, Vice-Chair Alan Heisey, Rick Leary, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans, and the ACAT Executive.

The following items were discussed:

Ridership Growth Strategy (RGS)

ACAT noted that people with disabilities were not consulted within the survey used to inform the RGS, nor was disability incorporated into the discussion of crowding standards. One of the key objectives of the RGS is to make taking public transit seamless. The ACAT Executive expressed the importance of connecting with ACAT-equivalent groups in surrounding jurisdictions to explore ways to ensure consistent and seamless service across boundaries. The RGS will be brought to the Service Planning Subcommittee in March.

Two-Hour Transfer

The ACAT Executive explained that the 2-hour transfer window will be insufficient for people with disabilities, including those using Family of Services. The TTC is still working with PRESTO on the implementation of the 2-hour transfer rules, which is scheduled to go live in August. Staff will investigate the issue further.

Harmonization with Metrolinx LRT Projects

The ACAT Executive reiterated that there is a lack of information and discussion between the TTC, Metrolinx, and ACAT with respect to the design of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, and specifically with items of concern which could negatively impact the accessibility of the new lines and how they integrate with existing TTC services. ACAT would like to establish a better consultation process when working together especially for future projects. Staff received a response from Metrolinx, which indicated that an update will be provided to ACAT members in the near future.

Islington/Warden Station Reconstruction

ACAT asked for an update on the planning and budgeting for Islington and Warden Stations, which will need extensive rebuilds in order to accommodate the Easier Access III features. ACAT wants to ensure that this item is on the forefront to ensure it meets the AODA standard of full system accessibility by 2025. TTC Chair Josh Colle stated that there is a new real estate firm called CreateTO, who are the ones leading this project for the City of Toronto. He suggested that the TTC contact the real estate firm with a friendly reminder to make sure this deadline is known to them.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

ACAT members expressed that it would be great to establish a form of communication with ACAT equivalent Chairs in Mississauga, York Region, Durham, and Metrolinx, perhaps to have meetings to share information. A member suggested that the mandate as an advisory committee be reviewed to ensure that this fits into what we are to be doing. The Chair invited suggestions and feedback for the next meeting.

15.  CEO Update

Nil.

16. Review of Correspondence

An email was received from Joe Lombardi, Senior Instructor – Bus Transportation, announcing that, in response to feedback from ACAT participants, the Bus Recertification sessions will remain at Hillcrest for the ACAT members’ visit.

17. Other/New Business

Lauri Sue Robertson noted a three-pronged security issue on the TTC, i.e. crowding, training, and management of issues with people who have various kinds of disabilities. This was referred to the Service Planning Subcommittee to meet with staff and TTC Security department.

18. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, March 29, 2018, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

19. Adjournment

On a motion by Lauri Sue Robertson, the meeting was adjourned at 3:47 p.m.

Jeannette Duda

Recording Secretary

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