ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, July 26, 2018
Location:1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
Meeting No:332
  • 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
  • Jessica Geboers
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • Lauri Sue Robertson

Pool Members

  • Scott McArthur
  • Igor Samardzic

Regrets

  • Thomas Richardson

TTC Representatives

  • Rick Leary, Chief Executive Officer
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Lynn Middleton, Manager, Wheel-Trans Transportation
  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
  • Kathleen Barrett, Wheel-Trans Transformation Program
  • Mitch Underhay, Senior Community Liaison Officer
  • Charlene Sharpe, Business Analyst, Wheel-Trans
  • Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager-Customer Service
  • Claudio Caschera, Bus Transportation Manager

Copies

  • Rick Leary, 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 1:10 p.m., and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Mazin Aribi and seconded by Marian McDonell, the agenda was approved with the following amendments:

Under New Business, additional items are:

  • First on, Last off campaign – signage and notification about the priority of mobility devices
  • Manual Wheelchairs Sliding on Subway and Streetcars if not Secured
  • Eglinton West LRT Stakeholder Advisory Group
  • Ambient Music on the Subway System

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair Raymond Dell’Aera

Congratulations were extended to Rick Leary on his appointment as the new TTC CEO. ACAT looks forward to working with him on accessibility issues.

  • The opening celebration of the St. Clair West Easier Access Project was attended by the ACAT Chair, TTC Chair Josh Colle, Councillor Joe Mihevc, and Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer, along with several ACAT members. All of the accessibility features at the station are now complete, including the elevator to street level at the main entrance and new PRESTO-enabled fare gates.
  • The first ever GTA Accessibility Advisory Committee Joint Meeting has been set for August 3, 2018 at City Hall. Members of various advisory committees in the GTA and staff are expected to attend. The agenda has also been finalized. Minutes of the meeting will be circulated.
  • Travel Training: Aislin O’Hara has sent an invitation to ACAT members for observation of the travel training sessions. Two types of training will be conducted: classroom sessions and vehicle discovery sessions. Participants will have an opportunity to explore vehicles in a relaxed environment. An email will be sent by the Chair to ACAT members with further details.

ACAT members have also been asked to provide quotes outlining their experience using the conventional system to inspire those going through travel training.

  • Members were asked to review the minutes ahead of the meeting and to forward items such as grammatical errors to the Chair ahead of the meeting. Items that require judgement or further discussion may be brought forward to the meeting. Members are still encouraged to bring items forward that are unclear to ensure that the minutes are easily understood by members of the public who may not have prior understanding of issues discussed.

5. Review and Approval of June 28, 2018 Minutes

On a motion by Angela Marley and seconded by Marian McDonell, the minutes of the June 28, 2018 meeting were approved.

6. Business Arising Out of June Minutes/Outstanding Items

  • Item: Lack of Tactile Information on Poles for Shared Bus Stops – Ongoing.

It was explained that tactile information is needed on stop poles for routes where there are multiple stop poles designated for various routes at an intersection or location. Customers with vision loss need to know which pole to stand at.

The use of audible route announcements on Community Buses is still in discussion.

Craig Nicol and Debbie Gillespie have been invited to the Communications Subcommittee meeting for a further discussion of this issue. It was also recommended that an invitation be extended to Ian Dickson, Wayfinding Manager.

  • Item: Access to Subway Stations and Wheel-Trans Stops at Entrances - Ongoing, with discussion planned for later this year.
  • Item: Communicating Emergency Procedures for Customers who Encounter Problems – Ongoing.

There is a need for consistent information across various channels. The procedures have already been posted on the website, on subway platform video screens in Public Service Announcement (PSA) type campaigns, and are also planned for publication in the next Wheel-Trans newsletter.  It was also recommended that the procedures be placed in the travel training material. The item will be closed once it is confirmed that information has been posted.

Addition of New item: Pre-Boarding Announcements on Subway Trains.

It was requested that this item be added to the outstanding items list as the item had originally been discussed at the March meeting. An interim solution had been suggested for Line 1 as the Train Information Management system (TIMS) would take about a year and a half to implement. ACAT is requesting that staff provide an update on the implementation of the announcements.

7. Deputation: Lisi Colby

Deferred.

8. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

Kathleen Barrett provided the update on the following items.

  • Travel Training: The pilot was conducted earlier in the week. One-on-one sessions were conducted, as well as a Vehicle Exploration Day. ACAT members attended the June session and are invited to future sessions for both bus and streetcars.
  • Customer Policies: The Customer Code of Conduct policy is now in effect, with three more scheduled for implementation at the end of July. Once complete, the customer handbook will be updated and posted on the TTC website.
  • Access Hubs: The Humber College hub is scheduled for completion by the end of July 2018, and the other hubs by the end of 2019. Modifications have been made to the Meadowvale hub based on feedback from WTOS Chair Lynn McCormick.
  • Family of Services (FoS): Additional routes are planned, and a report will be sent to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee in August. In collaboration with the Communications Subcommittee, and in order to provide insight on how to implement FoS further, a survey is also planned to determine how customers use conventional transit and other modes of travel.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

A request was made for the following details to be added to the update:

  • In response to a query, use of the word “vaping” in the Customer Code of Conduct refers to any tool placed in the mouth that releases fumes.
  • The phrase “travelling with a mobility device” should be updated to “travel using a mobility device.”
  • The tactile exploration of transit vehicles was originally intended for customers with sensory disabilities, but is now open to all customers. This detail will be added to the update.
  • Modifications to the Meadowvale Access hub were adjustments to the sensors that open the doors and provide heating.
  • Clarity is also needed on the definition of a Family of Services (FoS) trip versus the use of FoS. The use of FoS is defined as using a mix of TTC transportation vehicles, which do not necessarily involve Wheel-Trans as part of a particular trip. A FoS trip incorporates use of Wheel-Trans and conventional services. These terms need to be defined clearly for customers.
  • It was suggested that customers with vision loss may need a separate vehicle exploration session as they may need to have someone with them when attending vehicle exploration training. Extra time is needed to fully explore all parts of the vehicle. This information will be provided to the team.
  • It was also recommended that people with various disabilities, who are already using the conventional system, should demonstrate travel to other customers with disabilities who are reluctant to get on the system. The shared experience will have more impact and direct questions can be answered. ACAT members volunteered to serve as a resource for such experiences.
  • A recommendation was made that Customer Code of Conduct policies be posted in the Wheel-Trans newsletter, as most customers do not have access to the TTC website. Due to length, one or two at a time would be sufficient. Customers will also receive a booklet when all the policies have been completed. This item will be communicated to staff, who can also publish an overview of policies for the newsletter.
  • A request was made that customers should be able to book their FoS trips online.  A possible model is the Google trip planner which outlines the travel route, as well as start and end times. Kathleen Barrett stated that the scheduling system is being enhanced and the first release will allow for online booking of FoS trips. The release, which is scheduled for the Fall, will only allow for booking one transfer on the conventional system. Future expectations are for more expansive trips, covering multiple modes of transportation.

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Communications Subcommittee (CS) - Marian McDonell

No CS meetings were held since the last ACAT Meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for August 24, 2018 with both Craig Nicol and Debbie Gillespie invited to attend.

The link to the beta version of the TTC website was sent to members on July 12, 2018, and all members were encouraged to provide feedback to Heather Brown, and copy CS Chair Marian McDonell, and the members of the ACAT Executive.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) - Craig Nicol

A DRS meeting was held on July 4, 2018.

1) TYSSE Video Discussion

DRS reviewed issues highlighted in the AODA Alliance video on transit facility accessibility. The review was divided into PRESTO and infrastructure issues.

a) Jan Richards made a presentation on the PRESTO issues, many items related to PRESTO as deployed at transit properties other than TTC. At TTC, upgraded self-serve reload machines have replaced the original problematic units. TTC PRESTO self-serve reload and fare media vending machines are differentiated by size, on-screen text and audio script. Confusion exists during fare media switch over with Metropass vending machines still in service at some stations.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

  • There is concern about reliability of PRESTO readers on Wheel-Trans buses. It was suggested that this item be addressed in a separate session with the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.
  • It was recommended that installation standards for devices be shared between TTC and Metrolinx.

b) Discussion with Adrian Piccolo, TTC Chief Architect:

  • Items discussed for York University Station include funnel stair, wayfinding tiles, elevator redundancy, ramp contrast and wayfinding outside the station.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

  • Features that result in "funneling" or angled stair riser/railing intersection should be avoided.
  • It was suggested that the Lawrence Station Easier Access III design be revisited where the stair is bisected by a column.

2) VISION Project Update

Tony Clunies provided an update on the VISION project, which is meant to replace the CIS system. The system can provide a wider range of customer messaging that can be prioritized and customized to the route.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

  • DRS Members have requested an opportunity to review the standard messages, especially those that are accessibility-related.
  • It was also suggested that ad-hoc messages should be given a higher priority than public service announcements.

3) Other Business:

In response to a comment on the difficulty of seeing stop request signs on older buses, staff advised that new buses will be equipped with new larger screens that will address this issue.

The next DRS meeting will be held on August 1, 2018.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Thomas Richardson

The SPS report will be presented at the next ACAT meeting.

Wheel-Trans Operations Committee (WTOS) - Lynn McCormick

The WTOS report will be presented at the next ACAT meeting.

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

DRS:

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

11. Report on Customer Liaison Panel, Craig Nicol

The Customer Liaison Panel meeting was held on July 18, 2018. The main topic of discussion was the Equity and Transit Service Planning Project. The plan is to develop a process and identify strategies to advance economic and social equity initiatives in TTC service planning. This is the same report that was presented to SPS.

A review was also held of prototype posters to encourage riders to tap their PRESTO cards at all points when they board a TTC vehicle.
The next CLP meeting will be held on September 19, 2018.

12. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

A TTC Board Meeting was held on July 10, 2018.

The ACAT minutes of May 31, 2018 were received by the Board.

As reported in the CEO Report, a motion was passed in April regarding station accessibility at Warden and Islington stations. The TTC has now met with city real estate and Create TO staff to discuss the development status of making the stations accessible by 2025. The 2019 Capital Budget will include funding as part of the overall Easier Access project.

The next TTC Board Meeting will be held on December 12, 2018.

13. CEO Update

Rick Leary, CEO, was welcomed to the meeting. After comments on various projects, greetings were shared from the previous CEO, Andy Byford. Members were then invited to ask questions.

Questions and Comments from Committee members

  • Several members congratulated Rick Leary as the new TTC CEO and noted the benefits of having a CEO who understands accessibility.
  • A comment was made about Chair Josh Colle retiring from the position of TTC Chair. Plans are being made for him to attend an ACAT meeting to meet all the members.
  • Appreciation was expressed for the TTC’s efforts in working with Metrolinx. Rick Leary was encouraged to maintain the relationship and confirmed that regular meetings occur with Metrolinx’s senior leadership. The importance of the partnership was emphasized.
  • Concerns were expressed about the lack of a webmaster for the TTC website, as updates are needed for the accessibility information. ACAT will continue to work with the CEO to ensure that the new website reflects accessibility.
  • There has been a lack of response regarding feedback from the DRS Subcommittee about accessibility issues on the Eglinton Crosstown. Among the concerns are Metrolinx wayfinding being different from that of the TTC. As the TTC will run the Crosstown line, the importance of starting a dialogue on this issue was emphasized. Rick Leary will follow up on this item, and noted that the trend is for use of more universal signs, in keeping with Toronto’s multicultural population.
  • Other items raised by DRS pertaining to the Eglinton Crosstown include the physical design, such as the design of escalator and stair connections between platform, lower and upper concourse at the Yonge-Eglinton interchange station and lack of wayfinding on the lower concourse.  These items have been submitted through the DRS Subcommittee. Rick Leary will follow up on this item.
  • In response to a question regarding the issues with the new TTC streetcars and Bombardier, Rick Leary provided an overview of the collaborative process developed to work with Bombardier. The goal is to help the company achieve their production goals, which also benefits the TTC. TTC Staff have been assigned, both within the TTC and in Bombardier itself to help with implementation. Advice has been provided on sourcing of materials, as well as providing feedback during the assembly line production, instead of after the products have been shipped. A second plant has also been opened at Kingston. Bombardier is mindful of its reputation and has been working to meet deadlines. It is expected that 204 vehicles will be ready by the end of 2019. It was also noted that old vehicles are being tracked to be removed from service and preventive maintenance is being conducted in line with new procurement.
  • Concerns were expressed that ACAT is not consulted at the early stages of several projects, which results in feedback being requested when a project is close to its final stages. At that point, it can become more difficult and costly to implement any changes. It was emphasized that ACAT is willing to listen and seek solutions for all parties. An example was given of the new TTC website, for which input was only sought in the final stages.
  • Joint meetings are being planned to increase collaboration, an example being the GTA Accessibility Advisory Committee Joint meeting scheduled for August 3, 2018. An invitation was extended to Rick Leary, who was praised for extending Andy Byford’s work and encouraging all stakeholders to work together. It was also recommended that the new TTC Board members be educated on accessibility in order to ensure everyone has the same outlook. A welcome was extended to Rick Leary for all future ACAT meetings.

14. Report of Correspondence

Nil.

15. Louise Bark’s Observations of London, U.K. Transit

A correction was made to the report pre-circulated to all members. Louise Bark’s travel was conducted within the middle of England, roughly in line with Manchester, and points north. To be specific, Louise traveled between Southport and Liverpool. Personal experiences were also shared by another member of travel within the London transit system.

A key point of discussion was the high level of customer service provided by the service agents in U.K., and the quality of communication between those on the rail line and other workers in the system. There were also numerous signs for induction loops which enable customer communication with staff on any accessibility questions.

Discussion ensued on possible applications to Toronto, pending the Collectors moving out of the booths. Suggestions include:

  • Having staff be present at customers’ first point of entry into the system. Such assistance is also available in Vancouver, where a customer who changes lines is met at the start by staff.
  • Increased communication between agents and customers. On the rail service in England, agents use walkie-talkies to stay in touch.
  • Staff to escort customers down to the subway. An example was provided of a worker in the London subway, helping a customer up an escalator and providing information of what to expect when leaving a gated area.
  • Wheelchairs that can be borrowed, which would help customers get to the train level.
  • Customer Service Agents (CSA) should provide information in a supportive, non-condescending manner. It was also noted that differences in comfort level and culture need to be accommodated. These qualities cannot be taught, and need to evolve.
  • Training should be expedited to customer service agents before they leave the booths. It was noted that there is no fixed date for when this will occur. However, the TYSSE subway stations do not have CSAs in the booths.
  • The importance of customer service agent training was emphasized. Strengthening of customer service would encourage more people to use the subway system and would help to bridge the gap between conventional services and FoS. ACAT could help to develop the training from the start, instead of assisting when the training is complete. Such training can also bridge the gap until all stations become accessible.
  • Further exploration is needed to determine if there will be enough staff to implement such changes, given the changes to the CSA program.

The recommendations will be referred to SPS. As customer service is key for the 10-year Wheel-Trans Strategy, customer support will help to fill in gaps in service and help customers with disabilities in the use of the system.

16. Other / New Business

First On, Last Off

A request was made on the need for signage to inform non-disabled customers about this slogan, which reminds customers and Operators to let customers using mobility devices first onto vehicles and allow them to de-board last. It was recommended that Service Planning and Communications Subcommittees develop education surrounding this issue.

Further observation was made that a gap exists between training and its day to day application. There is a need for consistency across vehicles and for Operators to be empowered to carry out this procedure. It was suggested that a major campaign also be held at the Division level.

It was further emphasized that customers’ bad experiences affect their likelihood to take the subway, which then impacts the FoS rollout. Other technology additions would include the ad-hoc announcements and painting squares on the surface of subway bus platforms where customers using mobility devices wait to enter the front door of the bus. .

This item was referred to the Communications and Service Planning subcommittees.

Eglinton West LRT Stakeholder Group

Raymond Dell’Aera represented ACAT at the group’s second meeting. The LRT project will extend the Eglinton Crosstown, west from Mt. Dennis Station to the Renforth Gateway, then to the Airport. The final configuration of an aboveground LRT or tunnel has not yet been determined. A final recommendation will be made to the City early 2019. There are also plans to determine how accessibility can be improved during construction.

City of Toronto staff have also made a request for more groups to participate in the consultation sessions, and have requested that staff present the design to ACAT. This item was referred to the Design Review Subcommittee.

Manual Wheelchairs Sliding on Subway and Streetcars if not Secured

A report was made that customers who use manual wheelchairs slide more often on vehicles. Various suggestions were made for a strap or loop on the seat with which customers can secure themselves, or a retractable metal bar that customers using wheelchairs can hold on to.

This item was referred to the Design Review Subcommittee.

Ambient Music on the Subway System

An inquiry has been received from the TTC Chair’s Office regarding the potential introduction of ambient music on the TTC system. ACAT’s opinion is being sought on accessibility implications. The Chair’s Office was commended for seeking ACAT’s opinion at the start of the project.

Feedback was provided that customers who have vision or hearing loss rely on sound cues to navigate spaces and determine the flow of traffic. Input has already been obtained from Craig Nicol and Debbie Gillespie.

It was also noted that customers with hearing aids need to keep the volume low enough so that people can talk without having to repeat themselves.
 
It was advised that some stations already have musicians and the effect of such sound and practices from other communities should be explored. More feedback will be sought from members and shared with staff.

17. Next Meeting

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

18. Adjournment

On a motion by Mazin Aribi, the meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.

Temi Adewumi
Recording Secretary

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