ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, June 28, 2018
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:331
  • 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
  • Angela Rebeiro, Co-Vice Chair
  • Louise Bark
  • Mary Burton
  • Anita Dressler
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Thomas Richardson
  • Lauri Sue Robertson

Pool Members

  • Scott McArthur
  • Igor Samardzic

Regrets

  • Jessica Geboers
  • Craig Nicol

TTC Representatives

  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
  • Glen Buchberger, Head of Plant Maintenance
  • John Boucher, Manager - Lakeshore Garage
  • Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager-Customer Service
  • Heather Brown, Manager of Customer Communications
  • Marcie Somers, Senior Communications Specialist
  • Kathleen Barrett, Wheel-Trans Transformation Program
  • Dennis Ediae, Divisional Assistant Manager, Bus Transportation
  • Mitch Underhay, Senior Community Liaison Officer
  • Lloyd Livingstone, Diversity & Human Rights
  • Rupa Aggarwal, Diversity & Human Rights

Copies

  • Rick Leary, Acting Chief Executive Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Acting Deputy CEO/Chief Customer Officer
  • Collie Greenwood, Acting Chief Service Officer
  • Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
  • Dan Wright, Chief Financial Officer
  • Brad Ross, Executive Director – Corporate Communications
  • James Ross, Acting 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 at 1:13 p.m., and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Lauri Sue Robertson, and seconded by Bobbi Moore, the agenda was approved with an addition of Item #8 - Platform Gap Update.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair, Raymond Dell’Aera

Raymond Dell’Aera thanked the members who voluntarily staffed the ACAT booth at the People in Motion Show event which was held at a new venue, Variety Village. Feedback will be reviewed at an upcoming SPS meeting.

ACAT was invited to observe the training of Beck taxi operators who are contracted by Wheel Trans to give rides to its customers. Anita Dressler agreed to be the ACAT representative observing two training sessions, and she will give a report of her observations at the next Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee meeting.

ACAT has been invited to attend the East York Canada Day Parade, scheduled to meet at Dieppe Park at 9:00 a.m. on July 1, 2018.

An event to celebrate the completion of the St. Clair West Station Easier Access Project will be held on July 19, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.

5. Review and Approval of May 31, 2018 Minutes

On a motion by Louise Bark and seconded by Anita Dressler, the minutes of the May 31, 2018 meeting were approved with the following amendments:

  • Item #3, page 3, Approval of Agenda, 1st sentence, change the word minutes to agenda.
  • Item #4, page 3, 1st paragraph, 2nd sentence to read, “Several improvements will be made during the renovations including:”
  • Item #4, page 3, 2nd paragraph, to read, “In response to questions, Brad Ross will check to ensure that the AV system includes audio induction loops, and since concerns were raised about the meeting table being rectangular, there will be screens in the room.”
  • Item 9, page 5, Access Hubs, delete “Phase 1,” “Phase 2,” and “Phase 4”. Reference to the phases is to be deleted as the timelines for hub constructions are variable, depending on the Engineering group’s availability.
  • Item #10, page 7, DRS Subcommittee Questions and Comments, 4th bullet, to read “Wheel-Trans needs to develop a rationale as to where its stops are located for the benefit of customers.”
  • Item #16, page 8, Other/New Business, Partnership with City of Toronto, 1st sentence to read, “There was general agreement that ACAT could work more regularly with the City of Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC).”
  • Item #16, page 8, Other /New Business, Review of Article in Abilities Magazine on TTC Accessibility, 1st sentence to read, “ACAT members commented that the article was very unfavourable to the TTC and contained many errors.”

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

  • Debbie Gillespie met with Metrolinx to discuss the Triplinx planner, and reported that the majority of the issues have been solved. It was confirmed that updates to the planner are transferrable to the TTC website. TTC and Metrolinx staff were thanked for their assistance in working with CNIB to address the issues.
  • The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee will be contacted for possible meetings or collaborations.
  • Feedback from the People in Motion Show will be provided at the Service Planning Subcommittee meeting.

Outstanding items

  • Item: Lack of Tactile Information on Poles for Shared Bus Stops:  Ongoing.
  • Item: Family of Services Trips are Difficult to Use during Periods of Overcrowding:  An in depth discussion was held at SPS regarding parallel service on lines 1 and 2. The conclusion is that such service is not feasible. Completed.
  • Item: Access to Subway Stations and Wheel-Trans Stops at Entrances: Ongoing. Staff will address this at a Service Planning Subcommittee meeting at a later date.
  • Related to this item, it was advised that ACAT should stay conversant with the Vision Zero campaign, which aims to address road safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and people with disabilities. The project is a collaborative effort with agencies and city staff. 
  • It was reported that CNIB has requested that incidents involving people with disabilities be included so that the City is aware of what accessibility improvements need to be made. At the present time, seniors are the focus, while statistics regarding people with disabilities have been relatively low.
  • As more Wheel-Trans customers are being encouraged to use conventional services, there will be more pick up and drop off at subway entrances. ACAT needs to keep in mind access for those with disabilities near subway stations.
  • Item: Emergency Procedures for Customer Mobility Device Breakdowns on TTC – Completed.
  • An explanation was provided of the policy which is that, in case of an incident, Transit Control is to be contacted. The Fire Department may be sent out as they have the capacity to handle heavy mobility devices.
  • It was emphasized that as the policy has already been created, further work needs to be done on communication to customers and training to Operators. It was also recommended that the policy be posted in the Wheel-Trans newsletter.
  • It was emphasized that FoS customers who are not familiar with conventional services need the assurance that any incidents will be handled in a swift and sensitive manner.
  • New Item: Communicating Emergency Procedures for Customers who Encounter Problems. This item will encompass more than just mobility device breakdowns and should be extended to any emergency situations customers are likely to face while travelling. It was further stated that information on emergencies applies to staff, but is also necessary for customers. There needs to be consistent information shared by all.

7. Deputation: Lisi Colby

Deferred as per Lisi Colby’s request.

8. Platform Gap Update

Glen Buchberger, Head of Plant Maintenance, provided an update on the work planned for fixing the vertical and horizontal gaps at five subway stations. The plan was first presented to the ACAT in March with sample prototypes shown to ACAT members. Delivery of the tiles is expected for August and another update to ACAT is planned for September.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

In response to a query, the manufacturer is located in Canada. It is expected that the manufacturer will work from a mould which means that future deliveries are expected to keep to schedule. Extra tiles will be ordered for repair work.

In response to a query about trademarks, it was stated that lessons learned are shared with other transit agencies, as the TTC is not the only transit agency with platform gap issues.

Work is planned for both Lines 1 and 2. The initial stations for which work is planned are St. Clair and Eglinton (north and southbound platforms) and St. George (southbound platform).

Davisville had been discussed at the previous meeting, but has unique challenges as it is an exterior station. Any solution used at Davisville Station will require drainage, which is not yet developed.

9. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

Kathleen Barrett, Wheel-Trans Transformation Program, provided the 10-Year Strategy update.

Customer Experience

The soft launch of the Travel Training pilot occurred on May 3, 2018. Customers are being invited to information sessions to help them understand the use of conventional transit, with an overview to improving their experience. Travel training has also been conducted with two individuals – where the trainer will repeat a chosen route four times.

A training session was also held at Leslie Barns, with 14 participants with vision loss, exploring a new low-floor streetcar. The aim is to conduct such explorations with other vehicles in order to increase customers’ comfort level.

Wheel-Trans Policies

ACAT members were thanked for their work in developing the new and revised policies. Twenty policies have been identified, one of which is the Code of Conduct, which outlines expectations of behaviour for both staff and customers. Further details will be shared by Communications staff and information can be found on the TTC website.

Stops

Staff are developing criteria for buses and routes on conventional bus lines, in order to determine safe and convenient locations for Wheel-Trans stops.

Access Hubs

Work is also being done by staff to determine how transfers between Wheel-Trans and conventional transit may occur at new hubs. Of importance are the location of stops, the types of vehicles, as well as frequency of trips.

Adjustments to sensors have been made at the Meadowvale Hub. Lynn McCormick has visited to provide feedback. The Humber College Hub is expected to be completed by the fall. Property negotiations for stops are being held for Ellesmere/Victoria Park, as well as Bingham Loop Hubs.

Technology

The telephone system update will be launched by July 6, 2018.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

Wheel-Trans will be moving to the same tool used by the TTC, with the goals of automating the application and integrating information throughout the organization.

The new CRM system will provide significant improvements in the ways TTC manages Customer Service Communications. The new system will have a higher level of automation that will reduce the amount of effort required to route and resolve Customer Service Communications.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Feedback was provided that some customers had not been allowed to participate in training, as it had been perceived that only customers with cognitive disabilities were allowed to participate. It was stated that training is available to all customers, including those with cognitive disabilities, and no one who expresses an interest is being turned down.

There is a policy regarding securement of people with disabilities on conventional buses. Dennis Ediae, Bus Transportation, confirmed that Bus Operators ask customers if they want to be secured. Securement is “all or nothing”, meaning if the customer wants their mobility device to be secured, they must use the four floor tie-downs as well as the lap and shoulder belt.

A comment was made that FoS customers should be informed that Wheel-Trans stops at Lawrence West subway station have been removed due to construction. Such information should be shared with customers when booking trips and on the FoS trips online system. Staff will check this item.

10. PRESTO Update

Deferred until the August meeting.

11. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Communications Subcommittee (CS) - Marian McDonell 

A CS meeting was held on June 21, 2018. 

  • New TTC Website

Deborah Brown stated that the proposed rollout date for the new TTC website is July 5, 2018.

The main page will have regular service updates. There is a page for each subway station which will list station features, links to surface and connecting routes, service hours, and accessibility features available at that station, with alternatives listed if elevator(s) are down. The exhaustive list of bus routes has been removed and replaced by a search component, and smaller lists of bus routes organized by the station(s) they access. Trips can be planned by using the “Trip Planner” tab or by referencing bus route schedules. The “Accessibility” page is now in a drop-down menu on the main page under the “More” tab. Wheel-Trans booking is fully integrated into the TTC site.

  • Questions/Concerns from Subcommittee Members

A request was made to increase the letter size of the subtitles.

A request was made to move “Accessibility” or “Wheel-Trans” onto the main page rather than the drop-down menu under “More”.

The website will be made open for beta testing for ACAT to test and provide feedback.

  • Subway Platform Safety Decals

Ian Dickson, Manager of Design and Wayfinding, provided information on this new initiative. The first pilot will be at York University station. Train operation from Sheppard West to Vaughan on Line 1 is automated so that trains stop and doors open at the same spot each time; therefore, markers to indicate where doors are can be exact. There will be yellow decals on the platform and customers will be encouraged to stand behind lines to let people out of the train first. The doors closest to the blue flip-up accessible seats will also be indicated by decals of the International Symbol of Access. Usability will be tracked to determine success of the initiative.

  • TTC Customer Service Centre – Chat with Ron Sly, Customer Service Representative

Ron Sly explained how the TTC handles customer complaints and requests for information. The service is available in person at Davisville Station, through the TTC website, by email, TTY, and Twitter. Two Twitter accounts are used: @ttcnotices to report major delays, disruptions, and elevators out of order and @ttchelps to respond to customer questions and complaints, and support TTC communication and education campaigns.

Accessibility problems are automatically flagged for action with reports sent to the appropriate staff. TTC Customer Service is separate from Wheel-Trans Customer Service; however, integration of the two Customer Service departments may take place in the future. It is important to TTC Customer Service staff to identify common questions and to be able to answer all Family of Service (FoS) questions.

  • Proposed Survey on Mode Selection

Dean Milton, Manager - Strategic Initiatives, presented the email survey which is meant to capture information about how Wheel-Trans customers use conventional transit, Wheel-Trans, other methods, or a mix. In particular, Wheel-Trans wants to find out who does not use Wheel-Trans for any part of their trip.

The survey asks participants to recall their travel patterns in the last seven days, if they used Wheel-Trans a lot, a little, or not at all. The survey will go to a randomly-chosen sample of Wheel-Trans customers over several weeks.

  • Comments from Subcommittee Members

Seven days of transit use is too long for people with cognitive disabilities; 3 days would be better. Dean Milton noted this but said 7 days was better to see patterns.

The survey takes too long and is hard to follow. It should be as easy as the FoS surveys that currently go out.

To alleviate customer concerns, it needs to be emphasized that the survey is anonymous and it will not affect their Wheel-Trans eligibility. Dean will return to ACAT to present early findings and welcomes feedback in the meantime.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

It was confirmed that ACAT members had hoped to obtain access to the pre-launch version of the TTC website, but due to the timeline of meetings, a beta version of the new website will be launched to run alongside the old site. ACAT members will be able to provide comments on the beta site. Heather Brown confirmed that access to the beta site is scheduled by July 5, 2018, with feedback expected for mid-August. Announcements about the site will be placed on the website and in social media.

Feedback was provided that the master list of bus routes be maintained on the website, in consideration of visitors to the city, and that people cannot be expected to remember the names of buses or the subway station they originate from.

ACAT expressed disappointment that they were not consulted early in the website development process, and that recommended changes were not put into place. The importance of being able to find accessibility information immediately on the website was emphasized. Members were urged to review the new website and provide feedback.

It was requested that during the beta website review, any accessibility-related feedback should be compiled separately so that it can be reviewed by ACAT.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) - Craig Nicol

No DRS meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting. However, Raymond Dell’Aera attended a supplemental meeting on June 7, 2018 which features the simulations of access hubs, to determine size configurations, and fit for mobility devices. Thanks were extended to the TTC for organizing the meeting.

The next DRS meeting will be held on July 4, 2018.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) - Lynn McCormick

The WTOS meeting was held on June 19, 2018. The following items were discussed:

  • New Bus Update

Three buses have been mocked up with rear suspensions modifications. Lodon Hassan will coordinate dates and times for members to try out the buses and provide feedback.

  • Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy

Challenges have been encountered in encouraging customers to use the system on a volunteer basis. An update was provided on work done post FoS pilot to promote the viability of the service. The main criteria for route selection were outlined. Suggested routes have weighting applied to determine which are most relevant for expansion, and a number of routes that fit the criteria were presented.

An overview of new signage that has been added to some subway stations and hubs was presented.

The launch of the new telephone system was pushed back due to quality issues. The new launch will occur in July. Communications will be sent out prior to the launch and the Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) messages will also be upgraded. Customers can request call backs at first available moment, and will be given a specific length of time in which calls will be answered.

The next WTOS meeting will be held on July 18, 2018.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

The new telephone system will give customers an estimated wait time and an estimated time to get a call back. Queue positions will no longer be used.

Regarding accessible stations, the suggestion was made that Wheel-Trans look into the impact of providing access to other stations.

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

CS:

  • New TTC Website
  • Subway Platform Safety Decals
  • Proposed Survey on Mode Selection

DRS:

  • Accessibility Alliance video review re transit accessibility issues
  • Vision Project update.
  • Mobility Access Hub spatial requirements.

WTOS:

  • Three ProMaster buses have been mocked up with rear suspensions modifications and members to provide feedback.
  • New signage added to some subway stations

13. Report on Customer Liaison Panel, Craig Nicol

Mazin Aribi attended the meeting in place of Craig Nicol, on June 20, 2018.

Accessibility items discussed:

  • Consider more on-board announcements in subway trains, even for momentary delays Provide more communications on Automatic Train Control (ATC) upgrades
  • Regarding Wi-Fi, a concern was expressed about big telecommunications and that customers may not have access to cellular networks
  • Injuries at track level, consider platform edge doors, ATC required, cost of investment, cost of delays on the TTC when incidents occur
  • TTC campaign and mental health
  • Legacy fare options were discussed for customers in transition. Further updates will be provided by PRESTO.

14. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

A TTC Board Meeting was held on June 12, 2018.

The April 26, 2018 ACAT minutes were received by the Board.

The following items related to accessibility were discussed:

  • Rebuild and Redesign of TTC.ca (Presentation): Staff presented the look of the new TTC website set to be launched next month. Brad Ross, Executive Director of Corporate and Customer Communications, stated that the site has been revamped in a way that is fully accessible, and that a third party is doing an accessibility audit. He also stated that the site had been shown to ACAT as well; although this is not supported by ACAT’s experience, nor is it reflected in the report submitted to the Board.
  • PRESTO Update and Transition Overview:  Staff presented a report about upcoming plans to release new PRESTO fare products, and to eliminate legacy Metropasses by the end of 2018 and legacy tickets/tokens by the end of 2019. There were two accessibility-related deputations from the public made on this item. The first spoke about single use transferrable fares, also sometimes known as Limited Use Media (LUM) and the need to have them available for bulk purchase by groups at the current non-cash rate of $3 per token/ticket or $2.05 for seniors, and to not have this limited to charities.

The second deputant spoke about not having a system that presupposes its users having a credit card because he knows many people on lower incomes without one. Also, he requested that the TTC extend the retail network for PRESTO beyond Shoppers Drug Mart, as people with disabilities generally do not shop there or have convenient access to one. It was suggested that community centres be considered as distribution points as well as the idea of not having LUM expire.

  • Supply, Installation and Maintenance of Fare Gates for PRESTO: A deputant spoke about the placement of some of the accessible fare gates, such as those at York University station, and how they force a long path of travel for people with disabilities. The deputant also recalled many experiences where the gates do not open fully, with no manual override, forcing her to take long detours.
  • Benefits of Side-Entry Accessible Taxicabs in Toronto:  The purpose of this report is to demonstrate the benefits of side-entry accessible taxicabs relative to rear-entry accessible taxicabs, due to a request by the Board at its meeting on July 12, 2017. The TTC has exclusively contracted to companies providing drivers with side-entry accessible taxicabs. Staff’s recommendation is that side-entry accessible taxicabs are more appropriate for the Wheel-Trans operation in the City of Toronto for several reasons. A primary reason is that side-entry vehicles offer greater customer and driver safety levels as customers are boarded and disembarked onto a sidewalk rather than on a roadway in oncoming traffic.

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

The ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting was held on June 14, 2018, attended by TTC Chair Josh Colle, TTC Vice-Chair Alan Heisey, Collie Greenwood, Chief Service Officer (on behalf of Richard Leary, Acting TTC CEO), Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans, and the ACAT Executive.

PRESTO - Limited Use Media

This item circulated around the availability of single fare media once the TTC fully transitions to PRESTO for its fare system. The current distribution network for fare media is comprised of over 1200 locations that sell TTC fares - tokens, tickets and passes. Recent news that Shoppers Drug Mart will soon be the only retail source for buying single use fare media raises some concerns. Shopper's Drug Mart locations represent a small fraction of the current distribution network, leaving many gaps throughout the city, and would create access barriers for people who rely on this type of fare media, a group disproportionately made up of people with disabilities. Based on comments by members of the public, there is also a fear that there will be a charge over and above the current fare price for these "tickets" bought in bulk, threatening the current practice of organizations, community groups, and families purchasing tickets in bulk to distribute how they see fit.

New TTC Website

The ACAT Executive expressed disappointment about the TTC website redesign and the lack of ACAT involvement at key stages of the project. The site is to be launched in mid-July, and ACAT has not yet been given the opportunity to test the site for usability or content. This is concerning given that the RFP for web design was issued on April 3, 2017, with work beginning on the redesign in December 2017. Consultation was not sought close to the inception of the decision to undertake the project, representing a departure from a practice regularly demonstrated by other departments with much success. As a result, ACAT’s feedback will be relegated mostly to content which, in the ACAT Executive’s opinion, is a missed opportunity for both the TTC and the public to maximize the usability of the website for persons with disabilities and seniors. Therefore, it was emphasized that ACAT continues its interest in being an early stakeholder for major projects rather than being used simply to validate completed work.

Collie Greenwood agreed to take this to the Communications Department and further to check the rationale for the July launch date.

TTC Construction and Asthma

This item is in reference to an inquiry that came from TTC Chair Colle’s office, who forwarded a complaint from a member of the public about asthma and respiratory issues caused by construction. ACAT forwarded the complaint, through staff, to various departments for comment, and provided an update to Chair Colle and the others about the outcome.

GTA Transit Accessibility Advisory Committees Joint Meeting

The ACAT Executive updated the group on this initiative to facilitate a discussion about mutual issues about both conventional and specialized transit. The meeting is currently on track to take place in August, with responses to ACAT’s invitation being received by Peel, York, and Durham Region accessibility advisory committees thus far. There was interest around the table for this outreach, and Josh Colle requested that he be invited to such a meeting. Collie Greenwood agreed to provide staff support and work to find a suitable venue.

In reference to a query, Hamilton is not included as the meeting is geared towards advisory committees for transit systems that are adjacent to Toronto.

16. CEO Update

Nil.

17. Review of Correspondence

Reference was made to the copies of correspondence which had been responded to by the ACAT Chair.

  • From Terri-Lynn Langdon re: 506 bus access complaint
  • From Michael McNeely - Not able to hear announcements on the TTC that say "please listen to this announcement."
  • From Office of the TTC Chair - Asthma and TTC Construction
  • From Erich Lorenz - Subway Platform Gap Filler design

The recommendation was made that when a response is made by ACAT, a description of the Committee should be provided, and that it should be clearly stated that ACAT is not the TTC.

A question was raised regarding audio induction loops that work with hearing aids with T-switches. The device allows customers to more easily pick up audio announcements. Matt Hagg reported that this will be included in the new passenger assistance intercom (PAI) systems previously reviewed by DRS.

18. Other / New Business

It was reported that, at a Recertification Training, Operators made mention of not being able to put fares in the fare box for customers. In the example provided, an Operator refused to insert a fare for a customer with Parkinson’s disease. It was clarified that the policy was changed several years ago and a notice sent out to all Operators. In addition, Wheel-Trans Operators do insert fares for customers. This item will be followed up on.

19. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, July 26, 2018, from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

20. Adjournment

On a motion by Marian McDonell, the meeting was adjourned at 3:37 p.m.

Temi Adewumi
Recording Secretary

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