ACAT Meeting - September 27, 2018
Agenda is not available for this meeting.
Please check the meeting minutes for meeting details.
- 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
- Thomas Richardson
- Lauri Sue Robertson
- Scott McArthur
- Igor Samardzic
- Craig Nicol
- Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
- Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager - Customer Service
- Heather Brown, Manager - Customer Communications
- Kathleen Barrett, Wheel-Trans Transformation Program
- Troy Morris, Division Manager - Queensway Division
- Alicia Sgromo, Wheel-Trans Transformation Program
- Grace Powell, Wheel-Trans
- 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
1. Call to Order / Attendance
2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
3. Approval of Agenda
On a motion by Thomas Richardson and seconded by Bobbi Moore, the agenda was approved with the following amendments:
Additions under New Business:
- Call for Input for regarding City of Toronto Vehicles for Hire
- Communications Underground at St. Clair West Subway Station Bus / Streetcar Platform for Wheel-Trans Customers
- Update on Audio Stop Request Announcements
4. Remarks from ACAT Chair Raymond Dell’Aera
Raymond Dell’Aera stated that the TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit will be held on December 13, 2018 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North building. The event will be live streamed and promoted to the public.
The staging areas for Wheel-Trans drop offs and pick-ups are on the south side of Bremner Road. Attendees are being encouraged to use Family of Services (FoS) and conventional transit where possible.
The following recommendations to Staff were made:
- Due to the difficulty of reaching the north side of the building from Bremner Road, the TTC should have staff present to guide attendees. It was also suggested that Front Street is closer to the location, and the possibility of Wheel-Trans drop offs on Front Street should be explored.
- Live streaming should also provide chat features.
- On the December 13th date of the Public forum, given the potential for inclement weather and that it will be dark, it was recommended that Wheel-Trans investigate having a shuttle bus between the Front Street entrance and an accessible subway station. This shuttle will enable more Wheel-Trans conditional customers to use conventional services.
Raymond Dell’Aera mentioned that attendance at one of the two ACAT Information Sessions is mandatory for those who want to apply for ACAT membership. The two sessions are scheduled at Toronto City Hall on September 27 and September 28, 2018.
Raymond Dell’Aera informed the members that the TTC Family Day will be held on October 14, 2018 at Mount Dennis Division. Volunteers are needed for the ACAT booth. Interested members are to contact Lodon Hassan for the schedule and booth times.
5. Review and Approval of August 30, 2018 Minutes
On a motion by Bobbi Moore and seconded by Angela Marley, the minutes of the August 30, 2018 meeting were approved with the following amendments:
- Addition: Farewell Presentation to TTC Chair Josh Colle.
- Item #9, Pre-Boarding Announcement Update: Insert “Members reiterated ACAT’s recommendation regarding subway announcements: “Direction (eastbound / westbound / northbound / southbound) toward the terminal station (Finch / Vaughan / Kennedy / Kipling, etc.).”
- Item #10, Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update, addition as Comments and Questions from Committee Members:
- “It was noted that access hubs are not located at subway stations, but in locations where there is no natural TTC source, so customers can wait to transfer to or from Wheel-Trans.”
- “Clarification on the escort policy is to be provided by staff, as it had been stated in the presentation that customers in Wheel-Trans buses who need help may be escorted from a Wheel-Trans bus to a conventional stop, especially if the bus is parking on a side street. In addition, customers with low vision will need an escort regardless of whether they are using FoS or Wheel-Trans.
- Further comments were made regarding use of the word “escort”, but it was agreed that the word is used as part of the policy’s title.”
6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items
- Item: Lack of Tactile Information on Poles for Shared Bus Stops – This item will remain on the ACAT outstanding list, with an update to be provided by the Communications Subcommittee in December.
- Item: Communicating Emergency Procedures for Customers who Encounter Problems - Completed.
The minutes from the GTA Accessibility Advisory Meeting will be sent to the Committee members. Raymond Dell’Aera recommended that ACAT members review the minutes to decide what topics should be discussed at the next ACAT meeting.
7. Deputation: Howard Wax
Howard Wax delivered a presentation on the upcoming Toronto elections. For over six years, some ACAT members have been working with Toronto Elections and Wheel-Trans staff to ensure the 2018 Civic Election is accessible to all. Thanks were extended to the past ACAT Chair Debbie Gillespie, present ACAT members, Wheel-Trans and FoS staff, who have helped to create an accessible election platform, with other organizations, in the accessible outreach network.
The following actions will be taken:
- Wheel-Trans will use Remote Trip Booking (RTB) and Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) exclusively to message customers on how they can book rides to the polling stations. These two methods are considered to be the most effective and well received by customers.
- The Wheel-Trans message will remain consistent on the City of Toronto website: “Registered users of Wheel-Trans are encouraged to book their trips early as demand may be high on election day.”
- Election Services will have a dedicated phone number (in addition to the 311 Call Centre) to assist voters to get to the right polling station.
- The TTC and the Toronto City websites will be cross linked under “transportation to voting places.”
- Family of Services and the existing Community Buses will operate on a business-as-usual basis. Customers are well aware of these services.
- To assist voters with their polling station addresses, Election Services has sent out a voters’ information card to every voter on the current voters’ list.
- There will also be mobile voting polls to service those customers who are infirm and cannot leave their homes to vote. Customers who need such service are to call 311.
- Plans are now underway for the 2022 Toronto elections. Comments are welcome.
Howard Wax was thanked for his work on crosslinking the City and the election. TTC staff were also commended for their coordination efforts with the City.
8. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update
Kathleen Barrett provided the update.
- Travel Training
Seventy-two customers have participated in either the general information session or formal training. Nineteen customers have completed the one-on-one training, with 10 in progress. More information sessions are planned along with six upcoming customer information recruitment sessions. ACAT members who wish to attend should contact Aislin O’Hara. A detailed presentation will be provided at the October 25, 2018 ACAT meeting.
- Updates to Wheel-Trans Customer Policy
The following policies are in the process of being finalized and will be made available on the website: Carry-on Items, Environmental Sensitivity, Support Person, and Companion policy. Other policies for which an update had been provided earlier are the Door-to-Door, Vehicle Exception, and Travelling with Mobility Aids and Devices policy.
- Customer Service Handbook
Work is underway with Customer Service to draft the new handbook for Wheel-Trans customers. Feedback will be obtained from the Communications Subcommittee. The release is expected for the end of 2018.
- Family of Services (FoS)
The FoS is expanding to add 10 regular and six express routes. Work is being done to look for viable stop points and to understand the logistics of ideal transfer points, safety and requirements.
- Access Hubs
Hub deployment is continuing, as are collaborations with the City, property groups, and Service Planning. The Humber College access hub is scheduled for completion before the end of 2018, with the other hubs scheduled for the end of 2019, as per the accelerated schedule.
Comments and Questions from Committee Members
A comment was made that since the implementation of FoS, drivers are experiencing a larger number of No Shows. If a customer is not at the subway on time, the driver waits for five minutes and leaves.
The following suggestions were made:
- That data be collected on No Shows at subway stations to determine if the problem exists at a few stations or across the system.
- FoS trip bookings should be checked. If completed online, time should have been allotted in case of delays.
- Customers might be waiting in one area and the drivers in another. This should be checked.
- FoS staff who are online should be made aware of this issue and of the need to provide support to the customer. While the drivers’ perspective is understandable, the customer is also facing the possibility of being stranded due to a missed connection.
- Comments made in the surveys regarding missed connections should be reviewed by staff as to why these incidents had occurred. There was agreement that more understanding is needed for the missed connections.
- It was further noted that the connection between Wheel-Trans and the subway is key to the customer having a successful FoS trip.
This item will be shared with the Contract Management team.
In response to a query, it was confirmed that the policies have all been reviewed previously by ACAT members. Further inquiries may be directed to Aislin O’Hara.
A suggestion was made that the language used in publications should be reviewed to ensure consistency with the language promoted by the Federal government in the “A Way with Words” publication.
9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
Communications Subcommittee (CS) - Marian McDonell
There was no CS meetings held in September and the next meeting will be held on October 11, 2018. Debbie Gillespie and other members are invited to join the website discussions.
Comments and Questions from Committee Members
Note was taken about the prominence of the accessibility button on the navigation bar of the new TTC website. Further discussion will be held as to whether Wheel-Trans should be placed under accessibility or be placed separately.
The beta period is being extended and information is still being maintained on the current and beta website. Feedback is encouraged, as more features will be added. In response to a query, current and timely information is being placed on the old website.
Bus route information is still in development, and an update will be confirmed in the next couple of weeks.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) - Craig Nicol
The DRS update was provided by Debbie Gillespie. A DRS Meeting was held on September 5, 2018 and a Joint Metrolinx AAC and DRS Meeting was held on September 25, 2018.
DRS Meeting, September 5, 2018
- Christie Station Easier Access 3 (EA3) Design
Steve Stewart reviewed the 30% design which has 3 flow-through elevators. The design will be finalized by early 2019 with construction completion expected by 2023.
Subcommittee Questions and Comments:
DRS members commented on the number of power sliding doors at the entrance, concern about brick paving outside the entrance and the need for a Wheel-Trans stop on Christie Street.
DRS commended the straightforward wayfinding design and inclusion of tactile indicators at the top of stairs from concourse to platform.
- Clever Vision Display
Clever Devices provided a description of the system they are installing as part of the VISION project. This system will handle audible and visual stop announcements and provide data for existing LED signs. Signs will be synchronized with announcements and will function with or without cell connectivity.
There will be two signs in the aisle of each bus, one at the front and the other at mid point.
Subcommittee Questions and Comments
It was recommended that displayed courtesy reminders not be duplicated in audio.
DRS recommended that the international symbol of access be displayed when a stop request button in the mobility device seating area is activated. The double chime signal should be retained.
DRS indicated that the traditional stop request "ding" is preferred over a disturbing "stop requested" audio announcement.
It was also recommended that the bottom of the display show elevator outages that relate to the route.
- Eglinton CrossTown Light Rail Transit (ECLRT)
Matt Hagg reviewed the action item table for DRS comments regarding ECLRT station designs. DRS expressed some frustration at slow/no response from CrossLinx; however, a number of items were resolved.
Subcommittee Questions and Comments
DRS made revision to a suggestion about the Science Centre station public accessible drop off suggesting it be relocated to Gervais Drive rather than be, as originally suggested, duplicated there.
It was suggested that DRS engage with the City of Toronto where stations and on street stops require accessible traffic signals.
- Other Business
Steve Stewart provided progress reports on:
a) EA3 work at St. Patrick Station is expected to be completed in November.
b) EA3 work at Royal York Station although earlier delayed is now back on track with completion expected in fall 2019.
c) It is expected that contracts will be awarded for work on Bay, Lansdowne, Keele and Sherbourne Stations by the end of 2018.
Joint Metrolinx AAC and ACAT DRS meeting, September 25, 2018
Items discussed included floor numbering, Passenger Assistance Intercom, elevator control panel and platform emergency rescue zones. Other issues raised were:
a) Delivery of a documented response to comments and suggestions received from the AAC and DRS.
b) Concern that train (Bombardier) equipment for on train and pre boarding announcements avoid the exit messaging and pre boarding design announcement deficiencies that TTC is experiencing at terminal stations and dynamically handle on the fly short turn situations.
The next DRS meeting will be held on October 3, 2018.
Comments and Questions from Committee Members
Concerns were expressed regarding the pre-boarding announcements, and it was suggested that information should be dynamically handled by the LRT systems, to ensure relevant information.
Observations were made about the favourable reception of ACAT at the Metrolinx meeting. Acknowledgements were made by Metrolinx that better communication is needed. It was reported that Metrolinx staff will attend the November DRS meeting, all working towards the goal of better collaboration and to seek ACAT feedback sooner on projects. An overview was also provided of the differences between advisory committees of the TTC versus that of Metrolinx and how that affects transit decisions, as well as communications.
A discussion also ensued on what agency is responsible for different parts of the Eglinton Crosstown operations as customers will not make a distinction between the TTC and Metrolinx. It was also expressed that customers should be made aware of where feedback and complaints should be addressed.
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Thomas Richardson
There was no SPS meeting held in September. The next SPS meeting is on October 3, 2018.
Wheel-Trans Operations Committee (WTOS) - Lynn McCormick
A WTOS Meeting was held in August 9, 2018 (Deferred from last ACAT Meeting) and September 6, 2018.
WTOS Meeting – August 9, 2018
- New Bus Update
John Boucher, Manager – Lakeshore Garage, discussed the details of standards and modifications that were checked on Bus numbers 529, 530, and 531. It was reported that they were above standards, whereas Bus #527 standards were below. Work orders for modifications will go through for buses as they come in for regular maintenance. There will be 2 buses taken out for a drive for testing so modifications can be started.
- Remote Trip Booking (RTB) Update
Charlene Sharpe discussed the new developments of the internally-developed program.
Currently, an online preliminary booking system is being explored. Charlene explained that there will be a few added features such as a direct link to the Dispatching system. Marilyn Sinanan, Subject Matter Expert, Customer Service presented the proposed online booking model. WTOS was asked for feedback for consideration of future planning.
- Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update
Dean Milton reported that the Pilot Project ended in April 2018, and included all subway stations and 5 bus routes with a total of 44 transfer stops The next steps for FoS direction would be to include more surface routes (bus and streetcar).
WTOS Meeting – September 6, 2018
- Briefing on Contracted Services
The rate of complaints from customers regarding Accessible Taxis (ATs) has been reduced, even though the system is carrying more people.
The request was made for the contractor to meet with WTOS in order to directly discuss accessibility standards. Members were informed that ACAT’s feedback has been strongly impressed on the company, as well as the ability to make changes to the website and mobile app. A new demonstration of the software will be held on October 4, 2018 and further inquiries will be made into the attendance of an ACAT representative at that meeting.
- Online Trip Booking System
The map and trip portion of the online Trip Booking system will be adjusted to make the trip portion bigger and the map smaller. The map will be added to a mobile app in a future update, and will have tap capabilities for customers to indicate where they want to be picked up.
A suggestion was made that a widget be added to alert customers as to the number of their “Life Happens” points within a month and to reset the number after the month has ended. This feature had been discussed earlier, but will not be part of the initial rollout.
The online booking systems’ capacity has been quadrupled, with brand new servers. In anticipation of future higher ridership, the software will be able to accommodate 50,000 trips a day, approximately three times more than the current 15,000 trips a day.
- Wheel Trans Day to Day Operations
Further feedback was provided regarding the length of time before calls are returned, with some customers waiting over an hour for call backs. It was advised that if this continues, customers will refuse to use the call back feature. It should also be stressed that customers will not lose their place in the queue if they request a call back.
The next WTOS meeting will be held on October 4, 2018.
Comments and Questions from Committee Members
A personal experience was relayed of calling three times, but not getting a response at each attempt. A recommendation was made that a message about technical difficulties be added to the call back feature, so that customers do not stop using the service. This item will be discussed further at the October 4 meeting.
In response to a query about the length of time it takes to receive a call back, it was noted that with the new system, calls that used to be deflected or bounced are now being handled by staff. Work is also being done on maintaining customers’ virtual places in queue.
It was noted that the system accommodates 16,000 riders per day, which also reflects on the number of calls received and processed.
The suggestion was made that the previous IVR messages should be retained, such as warnings not to wear scent. It was noted that messages are kept for a certain number of weeks, after which they are replaced. This item will also be discussed at the October 4 meeting.
In response to a query, the Reservations system is now accepting 66% more calls. Further data will be provided on answered calls prior to and after the launch of the new system, as well as the percentage of customers getting callbacks. There are also plans to expand the new telephone system to the Priority Line as well.
Members were asked to report any errors on a case by case basis.
The suggestion was made that during travel training sessions, customers should be trained on how to use the online system.
Feedback was also provided that, due to the amount of time it takes to get a call back, agents should identify themselves during the call and inform customers that they had requested a call back.
10. ACAT Subcommittee Meeting Highlights for the Next TTC Board Meeting
- EA3 Design Review for Christie Station
- Review of Clever Vision Displays for the VISION System on Buses
- Review of ECLRT Station Comment Action List
- Modification to map and trip portion on the Online Trip Booking
- Meeting with Taxi Contractors requested to discuss Accessibility Standards
11. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP), Craig Nicol
12. CEO Update
13. Review of Correspondence
14. Other / New Business
Call for Input for regarding City of Toronto Vehicles for Hire
The City of Toronto is currently renewing its policies on vehicles for hire, and it was questioned if these vehicles have to meet accessibility standards. The comment was also made that this issue may refer more to competition between ride sharing services and taxis.
It was stated that as an advisory body, ACAT does not have any input into this issue, as Wheel-Trans has its own rules and procedures for working with accessible taxis. The issue does not concern services provided by the TTC. ACAT will continue to monitor the issue and also voice support for ATs and vehicles contracted to the TTC.
Communications Underground at St. Clair West Subway Station Bus / Streetcar Platform for Wheel-Trans Customers
It was reported that the Wheel-Trans stop at the St. Clair West Station is underground where the Wheel-Trans Stop Bus Bay is located. However, drivers and other staff are not aware of where the stop is located. In addition, there is no cell phone reception underground and the No Show Board is located at the station entrance on St. Claire Avenue West. The No Show Board should be placed at the WT Stop on the bus and streetcar platform, so that drivers come underground. There should be a phone line that is linked to the Priority Line.
It was observed that the location of Wheel-Trans stops at subway stations is critical to the success of FoS. This issue needs to be resolved so that no shows do not continue. Feedback was also provided that navigation in the station is confusing. Education also needs to be provided for both customers and drivers to read landmark addresses thoroughly.
Members had originally been informed that only ATs and WT buses would pick customers up at Wheel-Trans stops and stations, and that sedans would not be waiting outside. This has not been the case. The importance of resolving of not having enough space for accessible taxis and sedan taxis was also emphasized, especially with the expansion of FoS.
Recommended solutions include the need for customers to be informed that their ride has changed, so they can recognize the vehicle.
The Committee moved that staff give a higher priority to resolving inconsistencies of Wheel-Trans pick up and drop offs at subway stations.
Motion: Moved by Mazin Aribi, seconded by Louise Bark. ACAT recommends that staff give higher priority to resolving inconsistencies with Wheel-Trans pick up and drop offs at subway stations in support of FoS. Carried (Unanimous).
Update on Audio Stop Request Announcements
A report was made of a 11 Bayview bus that featured verbal “stop requested” announcements. Feedback had been provided that this is not desired and that the announcements should be in the traditional form of an audible chime instead.
It was noted that in 2013, ACAT recommended that Express Buses announce the next stop and to also announce “Arriving At…” when approaching the stop. This was piloted and is on the 95 York Mills Express and this announcement is now occurring on other Express routes.
15. Next Meeting
On a motion by Anita Dressler, the meeting was adjourned at 3:51 p.m.