ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, March 28, 2019
Location:7th Floor Boardroom, 1900 Yonge Street
Meeting No:341
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

  • Mazin Aribi, Chair
  • Marian McDonell, Co-Vice Chair
  • Angela Rebeiro, Co-Vice Chair
  • Margo Brodie
  • Mary Burton
  • Anita Dressler
  • Jessica Geboers
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • Thomas Richardson
  • Lauri Sue Robertson
  • Igor Samardzic
  • Sam Savona
  • Chris Stigas

Regrets

  • Shindujan Yogaratnam

Pool Members

  • Ian Payton
  • James Pyo

TTC Representatives

  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
  • Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager-Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications
  • Dwayne Geddes, Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Ian Dickson, Manager – Design and Wayfinding
  • Elizabeth Hoare, (A) Assistant Manager, Malvern-Bus Transportation     
  • Lloyd Livingstone, Diversity and Human Rights       
  • Naomi Marubashi, (A) Head – Operations Training Centre      
  • Dean Milton, Manager – Strategic Initiatives
  • Ishaq Mohamed, Co-op Student – Wheel-Trans Transformation
  • Charlene Sharpe, Assistant Manager – Policy and Planning
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Collie Greenwood, Chief Service Officer     
  • Richard Leary, Chief Executive Officer

Guests

  • Councillor Jennifer McKelvie, TTC Board Member

Copies

  • Rick Leary, Chief Executive Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Deputy CEO – Operations
  • Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, Chief Customer Officer
  • Collie Greenwood, Chief Service Officer
  • Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
  • Dan Wright, Chief Financial Officer
  • Susan Sperling, Executive Director – Corporate Communications
  • James Ross, Chief Operating Officer
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Deborah Brown, Head of Customer Communications
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Mazin Aribi, ACAT Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:12 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

The following items were added to the agenda under New Business:

  • Winter Infrastructure
  • First-on and Last-off Announcements and Signage for Buses and Subway
  • Upload of the Subway System
  • Not-in-service Buses at Bus Platforms

On motion by Sam Savona and seconded by Anita Dressler, the agenda was approved with these additions.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair

It was announced that Eve Wiggins will be leaving her role as Head of Wheel-Trans and taking on a new position with Metrolinx. On behalf of ACAT, Chair Mazin Aribi thanked Eve for everything she has done for Wheel-Trans services, including championing the 10-Year Strategy. Eve thanked ACAT for all of its work and partnership and said that she will continue to share the message of the importance of accessibility with her new employer. Rick Leary, Chief Executive Officer, thanked Eve. He added that the TTC is seeking to improve the issue of call response and wait times for Wheel-Trans. He acknowledged that there are glitches in the system and that more people have been needed in the call centre. He advised that 10 staff had been reallocated to the call centre and that this has helped to reduce wait times. The TTC are also actively looking at what other system changes they can make to improve the situation.

Mazin Aribi informed ACAT that the Abilities Expo will take place from April 5 to April 7, 2019 at the International Centre, 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga. Wheel-Trans service will be extended to the International Centre for the event. It was asked if customers were aware of this and noted that the information is on the Wheel-Trans website. The ACAT Chair thanked everyone who had volunteered to work at the ACAT booth and indicated that a schedule would be sent to them. When members asked if volunteers were still needed, it was advised that they were and individuals were asked to share their scheduling preferences and availability with the Chair.

A question was raised by Mazin Aribi as to when the ACAT Information Sessions will be held this year. Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility, confirmed that the ACAT Information Sessions would be held in late July. 

5. Review and Approval of February 28, 2019 Minutes

On motion by Igor Samardzic and seconded by Jessica Geboers, the minutes of the      February 28, 2019 meeting were approved.

Sam Savona abstained from the vote indicating that the group had just received the minutes in hard copy and he had not yet read them. ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi explained that the usual TTC administrative support to the committee is temporarily out of the office but the minutes had been sent electronically.

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

  • Item: Lack of Tactile Information on Poles for Shared Bus Stops – Update will be provided by Communications Subcommittee report. Completion date/status should be changed to ongoing until pilot ended. 
  • Item: Access to Subway Stations and Wheel-Trans Stops at Entrances – Update to be provided by Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee report at today’s meeting.
  • Item: Pre-Boarding Announcement on Subway Trains – Completion date/status should be changed to third quarter of 2019. 
  • Item: Give Higher Priority to Resolving Inconsistencies with Wheel-Trans Pick Up and Drop Offs at Subway Stations in support of Family of Services – Update to be provided by the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee report.
  • Item: GTA Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) Joint Meeting – The next meeting is now scheduled for Tuesday, May 14. Invitations should be sent March 28 or March 29, 2019.  
  • Item: Concerns regarding Wheel Trans Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs and Cellular Communication at St. Clair West, Don Mills, & York Mills stations – Ongoing.
  • Item: Subway Platform (Vertical and Horizontal) Gap – Ongoing.

ACAT members are encouraged to visit and evaluate the completed work at the Eglinton Southbound and St. George Southbound platforms, and provide any feedback to the Design Review and Service Planning Subcommittees. There was a discussion about whether certain places on the platforms are better than others and if there is marking indicating this. The entire platforms are being addressed where needed, it should all be one level; hence, there is no additional marking.

7. Deputation

Nil.

8. eBus Update

Deferred to ACAT’s April meeting.

A clarification was made that an eBus is an electrically powered vehicle. 

9. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

Dean Milton, Manager – Strategic Initiatives provided an update.

Communication Deliverables

A photo shoot was planned for the Humber College Access Hub and photos will be featured in future newsletters.

A comprehensive review will be done of all Wheel-Trans webpages and digital information in preparation for the new TTC site expected to launch in the fall

Communications plans are being developed for:

  • Trip Matching by Customer Condition
  • Reclassification
  • 10-Year Transformation Public Meeting Town Halls (to be scheduled)

Communications for upcoming events:

  • Abilities Expo (April 5 to 7, 2019)
  • Access Expo (June 6 to 7, 2019)
  • Upcoming 10-Year Transformation Public Meetings (dates TBD)

Customer Experience

The Customer Handbook has been printed, and is currently being sent out to customers.

There are six remaining policies to be finalized:

  • Do Not Leave Unattended
  • Fare payment
  • Layover and multiple stops
  • Travelling with infants and children
  • Family of Services conditional travel
  • Cross-boundary travelling

Travel Training

Stantec has submitted a business case, and is being reviewed by staff.  Customer referrals are still being received through surveys; 90 so far have been received.

Family of Services (FOS)

FOS Trips scheduled – Year to date:

  • 825 total trips (subway/bus)
  • 54 trips to bus
  • 771 to subway
  • Two trips to Meadowvale Loop (five total last year)

The target date for Trip Matching based on Condition is September 2019.

Wave 2 Connection Routes Live (as of March 12):

  • 12 Kingston Rd.
  • 25 Don Mills
  • 35 Jane
  • 96 Wilson
  • 512 St. Clair
  • 45 Kipling
  • 100 Flemingdon

Wave 3 – In progress:

  • 42 Cummer
  • 116 Morningside
  • 60 Steeles West
  • 11 Bayview
  • 24 Victoria Park
  • 984 Sheppard West Express
  • 995 York Mills Express
  • 985 Sheppard East Express
  • Re-do of five pilot routes

Mode Usage Survey Results:

  • Asks customers how they travelled yesterday
  • Last week: 25% of Wheel-Trans customers travelled completely on conventional TTC
  • YTD rate is 18%

Eligibility

Re-Classification Update

As previously mentioned in February, an Adhoc Subcommittee, along with a Steering Committee (including the TTC Legal and Diversity and Human Rights teams) was established to assist with the reclassifying initiative of 25,000 customers registered before January 1, 2017.
 
The Adhoc Subcommittee met on March 12, 2019 and looked at the potential of fast tracking certain segments of legacy customers, including those over 85, those with Do Not Leave Unattended designations, those living in long-term care homes, infrequent travellers, and customers with over-sized mobility devices. There were many spirited discussions, and no consensus on fast-tracking, but a clear direction was provided by the members.
  
To avoid any controversy and allegations of unfairness from customers or advocates, all customers registered prior to January 1, 2017 will be required to go through a full reclassification.

Eligibility is under the purview of Wheel-Trans. As such, all matters related to reclassification going forward will be dealt with by the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.

The start of reclassification will be delayed to later in 2019. Staff want to first be prepared to meet the challenge from the other major operating change, namely conditional trip matching. A major and ongoing customer communication campaign for both affirmative trip matching and reclassification will commence over the next months, well in advance of the implementation of these significant changes.
 
The Comprehensive Review of Eligibility Process is currently ongoing, and should be ready for staff review in April.

Access Hubs

The Humber College Access Hub should be ready for a walk-through on April 2, 2019. The next wave of Access Hubs to be constructed are

  • Jane/Eglinton SW/NE
  • Neilson and Ellesmere SW
  • Victoria Park and Ellesmere SE

A meeting was held to address comments from the City at all Access Hubs locations to ease the process of permits. The bulk of construction is expected to be underway in 2019.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members:

A member asked if there was a way that the mode usage survey could capture responses from people who do not have email addresses. Dean Milton indicated that the next round of the mode usage survey would use both phone and email.

A member asked if the TTC was noticing a decrease of riders on Wheel-Trans. Dean advised that, year to date, demand has been flat perhaps because customers are using the accessible conventional service.

A member asked if a full list of Family of Services conventional surface routes and their stops was available. Dean agreed to share the Pilot/Wave One set along with the complete Wave 2 set just launched. Similarly, Staff will share the Wave 3 set when it is ready.

Dean confirmed that all Access Hubs have heaters.

A member asked if the Metrolinx Crosstown LRT was going through Jane and Eglinton. Dean advised that this intersection is included in a future phase of the LRT project. No negotiation with Metrolinx is required at this time for the Jane/Eglinton Access Hub.

A member highlighted that travelling with infants on Wheel-Trans had recently been a hot-button issue in the news. Dwayne Geddes, Manager - Customer Service, provided an update.

A customer wanted to use a car seat for a young child travelling with her on Wheel-Trans. However, there are no tethers with which to strap in a car seat on Wheel-Trans. The current policy asks that adults hold young children on their laps. Dwayne spoke to the customer and took her feedback. He shared the current Wheel-Trans policy and indicated that Wheel-Trans is open to reviewing it. The TTC spokesperson responding to the story had said that they would consult with ACAT on the issue. ACAT requested when this is said that TTC staff contact ACAT, and Dwayne agreed.    

A member asked if the new Family of Services routes would mean customers would receive better itineraries when booking. Dean advised that as of March 12, 2019, the Wave 2 routes are all live and would be incorporated into itineraries.

A member asked if it would be a Family of Services trip even if they booked the trip themselves. Dean advised that yes, it would be.

10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Mary Burton, Chair

A CS meeting was held on March 7, 2019.

Family of Services Stop Pole

Ian Dickson, Manager – Design and Wayfinding, provided a detailed update and answered questions on the Family of Services stop pole. He showed the group a sample of the plaque-holder that would be strapped to the post and explained the information on it. A key goal is communicating to all customers, both Wheel-Trans and conventional service customers, that both kinds of vehicles will be using a stop.

Ian explained that each marker has a different meaning and he reviewed them in detail. Some markings are intended to educate the entire customer base.

The most effective ways to communicate and explain the stops and symbols to transit users were discussed. A PSA campaign was suggested. Ian highlighted the challenge of communicating “what a shared stop is” to the general public until they are actually at such a stop. Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications, advised that this info will be in the spring Access newsletter for Wheel-Trans. For the general public, communications options include the website and social media. Heather and Ian also agreed to discuss a possible news release with Corporate Communications as part of the larger Family of Services communications plan.

Access Newsletter – Spring Issue Outline

Alicia Sgromo, Project Coordinator – Communications, circulated a draft outline for the Access newsletter’s spring issue and welcomed the subcommittee’s feedback. CS always gets to review the full draft newsletter. The same review process was planned for this issue. The draft newsletter would be emailed out to the CS members to comment, either by replying all or individually. There will be a week of turnaround time for edits and recommendations.

Customer Questions from 2018 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit

Matt Hagg shared a summary of the communications-related issues and suggestions that customers raised at and around the 2018 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit. TTC draft responses for each issue were also reviewed, and the subcommittee’s feedback and input were sought. All subcommittees are reviewing the Public Forum content to provide ACAT feedback on their issue areas.

TTC Communication Methods

Social media:

  • TTC website – www.ttc.ca
  • TTC Facebook – Toronto Transit Commission
  • Twitter – @ttchelps
  • Instagram – @ttcinsta

Station Communications:

  • Platform Video Screens – On the platforms
  • Station Information Screens – In the station
  • Signage in Stations – Snap-frames and other places
  • PA Announcements – Through speakers at the stations

Paid marketing and advertising:

  • StarMetro – The TTC has three half-page ads every week. These have been used to promote the People in Motion Show, TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit, @TTCtalks on access issues, Family of Services, and Community Bus. 

Request Stop Program

CS recommended additional communications about the Request Stop program, suggesting that many people do not know about it.

Anyone travelling alone by bus after 9 p.m. can request a stop. It is available for anyone with or without mobility challenges, as long as it is safe to deploy the ramp, if necessary. It is not available on streetcars because streetcars cannot stop everywhere.

There is a paragraph about it on the TTC website, but it does not mention anything specific about accessibility. The subcommittee asked if the Request Stop Program, including its availability to people with mobility challenges, could be highlighted perhaps through social media.

PRESTO Updates

Heather Brown shared that the TTC will be rolling out PRESTO tickets to vending machines at Lawrence West and Yorkdale stations in early April. These will be limited use, for one ride, two rides or a day pass. There will be a chip in them that is tapped on gates and readers. They will be eligible for the two-hour transfer and geared to infrequent customers, visitors to the city, and those who forgot their card. They are scheduled to be deployed in phases, and should be in all stations by this summer and select Shoppers Drug Mart locations later this year.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members:

A member asked about how the Family of Services bus stop pole symbols were going to be communicated out to customers. It was suggested that this be included in the newsletter and on the Wheel-Trans booking site. CS Chair Mary Burton said this would be taken back to the Communications Subcommittee to pursue the options. It will be included in the TTC Ride Guides available throughout the system.

A member recommended that because the ACAT Information Sessions have been moved to July this year, the sooner people know, the better. This event should be in the next newsletter, on the website, when you call Wheel-Trans, the Ride Line, and everywhere. 

A member expressed concern about how a person with a visual impairment could differentiate between stop poles for different services, such as Family of Service and conventional service, located close together. There is a concern that they might stand at the wrong pole and miss their bus. 

Ian Dickson, Manager – Design and Wayfinding advised that they are exploring options, including making the base or some aspect of the pole cane-detectable, as well as beacon technology. A member indicated that the solution must be technology-free. Focusing on cane-detectability presupposes that a person carries a cane, which not all people with visual impairments do.

The option of making one type of stop pole square or square-banded was suggested. It was then discussed whether one would actually need to know there was more than one pole in close proximity if you could clearly differentiate the type of pole.

Ian agreed to take the issue away for consideration. He also indicated that they would look into how frequently two different service stop poles are close together and why they are doing it. There was a suggestion to invite Craig Nicol to the Communications Subcommittee meeting when this is considered. 

Ian Dickson then also showed and explained the markings on a Family of Services stop pole. A member asked if the lozenge markings were tactile. They are not and are at too tall a height to be useful as tactile. 

A member asked what use the information in the plaque-holder is to a person with a visual impairment and how do they access any of it. Ian indicated that this is being looked at, but the first phase does not yet address it. 

A member expressed concern that someone from out of town might not know that Wheel-Trans requires pre-booking and wait at the stop thinking it is coming. It might be useful to add a line to the info at the stop about “advance booking”.

There was a request that the stop pole markings and plaque-holder information be sent out to all the members so they can check what information is on it. Ian agreed to do this.

ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi asked members to send their feedback on the stop poles, information and markings to him and the Communications Subcommittee Chair Mary Burton and they could review any rationale to revisit the issues.

There was also a recommendation to take down the plaque-holders from all stops that are not Family of Services because physically they all feel the same. It was agreed to put this on the agenda for the Communications Subcommittee.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

A DRS meeting was held on March 6, 2019.

Easier Access III (EA3) Station Upgrades

Steve Stewart, Project Manager – Easier Access Program, provided an update on current plans for accessibility modifications to Castle Frank and High Park Stations.

a) Castle Frank Station

The EA3 upgrade will provide an elevator from street directly to each of the eastbound and westbound platforms. The flow-through elevators are in the paid area and do not stop at concourse level.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

Members requested information on elevator glazing for visibility. Staff will report back on details for the station.

Members asked about location of elevator call buttons and the possibility of side approach. Staff to review and report back.

Where new tactile tiles would be added at stairs was discussed. TTC agreed to look at where they currently are in the station and where they can be added.

b) High Park Station

The design presented would have three elevators – one street to concourse and one from concourse to each of the eastbound and westbound platforms. The subcommittee had several reservations about the design. It was agreed that the designer would review seeking other solutions and then return to the subcommittee with an upgraded proposal.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

Members expressed reservations about the path of travel from elevator E1 (street to concourse). On concourse, the path is narrow and visibility is poor.

DRS spoke about proximity to stairs and escalators resulting in congestion at the upper level of the concourse to platform elevators.

Members asked about a waiting area at the platform level of elevators. This is restricted by the design and train length protection.

2018 Forum Comments – Design Issues

A summary of accessibility issues and suggestions raised at the 2018 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit were reviewed. TTC draft responses for each issue were also discussed for DRS feedback and input.

Subcommittee Questions and Feedback:

To aid with directing passengers away from the “ramp” door of streetcars, it was suggested that numbers be applied to each door.

Other Items/New Business

Matt Hagg raised the topic of elevator redundancy asking about what form this could/should take where stations have multiple entrances. The subcommittee suggested that it would be best to have two separate accessible routes rather than having redundant elevators along a single route.

It was reported that Eglinton Crosstown elevator control panel location issues were raised at the Board Chair and CEO quarterly meeting.

It was suggested that the subcommittee review issues around size and design of third-party elevators to aid in wording of agreements with developers.

The next meeting of the Design Review Subcommittee is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, 2019.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Anita Dressler, Chair

A SPS meeting was held on March 6, 2019. Anita Dressler was elected Subcommittee Chair.

Dean Milton, Manager – Strategic Initiatives, provided an update on the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy. Family of Services shared stops, tactile markings, and advertising of new poles and markings were discussed, with some issues referred to the Communications Subcommittee.

There was a discussion regarding the markings of poles for users of the system with visual impairments.

There was an overview of the new routes being added to Family of Services in March providing more transfer options. Wheel-Trans will be reviewing legacy customers under the new eligibility requirements.

An overview of current and future Access Hubs was provided. All hubs take time to construct as permits, design, construction and communication are involved.

TTC/Wheel-Trans will participate in the Abilities Expo event Friday to Sunday, April 5 to 7, 2019 at the International Centre. There will be an ACAT booth.

TTC/Wheel-Trans will participate in the Access Expo event Thursday and Friday, June 6 to 7, 2019 at Variety Village. There will be an ACAT booth. This event is replacing the People in Motion event.

The update of the Accessibility Plan will be finalized on April 1, 2019 and presented for approval at the TTC Board Meeting on May 8, 2019.

The next meeting of the Service Planning Subcommittee is scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, 2019.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee – Sam Savona, Chair

A WTOS meeting was held on March 14, 2019.

Grace Sabilano, Senior Communications Specialist, and Alicia Sgromo, Project Coordinator – Communications circulated a draft outline of the spring Access newsletter. They advised that it had been discussed the previous week at the ACAT Communications Subcommittee meeting. The outline also included some ACAT member suggestions made before then. They asked for the group’s input and feedback.

Andrew Piggott, Senior Foreperson – Bus Maintenance, Lakeshore Garage, provided an update on the new bus delivery. Thirty ProMaster buses are scheduled for delivery starting mid-to-late April through August.

Charlene Sharpe, Assistant Manager – Planning and Policy, provided an update on the new      self-booking website. There was a service upgrade on February 24, 2019 which addressed the screen-reader issue and has now been corrected and is working properly. The “support person” wording and definition are now consistent with the AODA and across regions. “Be ready at” has been changed to “pick-up time” to be clearer.

Charlene Sharpe also provided an update on Wheel-Trans stops and landmarks. She advised that she tries to deal with issues regarding Wheel-Trans stops and landmarks as she becomes aware of them on a case-by-case basis. She requested that if WTOS know of any, to advise her. When particular issues are identified, they can be addressed.
 
WTOS indicated that there is an ongoing issue with drivers not reading their run sheets. Staff agreed, stating that detailed notes will be there if the landmark is used. And if the landmark is not used, there is a space for the customer to write in notes.

A member raised concerns about the Wheel-Trans functional assessments being done at Sunnybrook, particularly the length of the assessments being too short. Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans, advised that he would invite Sunnybrook to present an overview of the functional assessments to WTOS. This will give WTOS the opportunity to review the concerns with the occupational therapists performing the assessments. Lodon said he would aim to arrange it for the next WTOS meeting on April 12, 2019.

WTOS members brought up that now, when they book a round trip and only get one part of the trip, they must put both parts on the wait list instead of putting just the one part of the trip they did not get. Staff are concerned that some riders will assume they will have both trips and end up stranded. So, to avoid this from happening, riders will have to put both parts on the waitlist. Riders can book one-way trips and still have that option.

WTOS members asked a series of related questions mainly regarding long wait times, issues with the call-back queue, and the on-hold wait music.

Lodon Hassan provided information:

  • Call-back not working as designed – The TTC is aware of the call-back issues. Wheel-Trans is working with the vendor and internal IT team to fix call-back issues.
  • Priority Line – This line itself is working fine, but there is a resource issue that is causing wait times up to 30 minutes.
  • Wheel-Trans Reservations is adding 15 additional Reservationist positions. In two to three months, all 15 new Reservationists should be trained and ready to take calls.

Lodon raised one additional item of new business. He shared a summary of customer issues and staff responses from the 2018 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit. WTOS will review and send their feedback to him.

The next WTOS meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 12, 2019 at 580 Commissioners Street.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

A member questioned whether the disparity in stop identification and description information had been addressed, and recommended that Wheel-Trans audit all the stops so that drivers, Reservationists and customers had the same info. Charlene Sharpe advised that they had done this. She added that there is only one stop location now at each subway. When the stop is in a bay, only vehicles allowed to enter the bay will service those stations – so, no sedan taxis will service those stations.

A member asked for confirmation that add-on trips get all of the identification and description information details and notes as well. Charlene confirmed that these operators get all of the notes.

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

CS:

  • Request Stop Program

DRS:

  • Easier Access 3 Designs for Castle Frank and  High Park stations

WTOS:

  • Wheel-Trans Functional Assessment
  • Wheel-Trans Telephone System
  • Wheel-Trans Self-Booking Site

12. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP), Anita Dressler, ACAT Representative

No CLP meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting.

13. Report on ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with TTC CEO and Chair

The ACAT Executive Quarterly meeting was held on March 5, 2019 which was attended by TTC Chair Jaye Robinson, TTC Vice-Chair Alan Heisey; Rachel Van Fraassen, Senior Assistant to Jaye Robinson; Kirsten Watson, TTC Deputy CEO – Operations; Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans; Dwayne Geddes, Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans; and the ACAT Executive.

This being the first meeting with the new TTC Chair Jaye Robinson, the ACAT Executive highlighted the excellent relationship that ACAT has had with the TTC Board and staff and expressed a desire to continue to build on the relationships.

Update and Progress on the ACAT Motion Regarding Metrolinx Eglinton Crosstown LRT Elevator Controls:

Regarding the motion on the Metrolinx ECLRT elevator controls, ACAT Executive requested that TTC leadership stay on top of this item as an important accessibility issue. The ACAT Executive added that senior TTC Engineering staff are working with Metrolinx to resolve it.

The request was accepted by TTC Chair Jaye Robinson and Vice Chair Alan Heisey who noted the importance of consistency in accessible transit. Alan Heisey observed the lack of consistency between the systems that Metrolinx and the TTC operate.

Accessibility (Provincial) – Subways, Elevators, AODA Legislation:

The ACAT Executive impressed on the TTC Board the importance of raising accessibility issues with the Province when both parties meet to discuss the possible subway upload to the Province. Particular examples for discussion were the Province’s commitment to accessibility in general and specifically to installing elevators in all TTC stations by 2025. Will the Province make accessible improvements beyond elevators and will it consult with citizens and ACAT on improvements, maintenance and expansion of the subway and LRT systems?

The ACAT Executive emphasized ACAT’s expertise developed over the years, and in consultation with the TTC, and that it has been an ongoing and collaborative relationship. The Executive also introduced into the discussion a concern about continued integration of the Family of Services if subways are uploaded to the Province.

TTC Chair Jaye Robinson said she would bring these points to the attention of the Mayor, TTC CEO Rick Leary, and the City Manager at their next meeting. She also said she is trying to set up a meeting with the provincial Minister of Transportation, and these items will be added to the agenda.

Winter Infrastructure Support for Accessibility in Toronto Transit:

The ACAT Executive heard many complaints from people with disabilities and seniors about the quality and standards of snow removal from sidewalks and transit stops, making the transit system inaccessible this past winter.

TTC Chair Jaye Robinson readily acknowledged that snow clearance this year was badly mishandled operationally; including the length of time it took to remove snow after it had fallen. She committed to ensuring that accessibility issues are front and centre going forward.

TTC Staff Support for Upcoming GTHA Accessibility Advisory Committee Meeting:

This item was met with questions from TTC Chair Jaye Robinson and Alan Heisey which required ACAT to provide background on Metrolinx’s Accessibility Advisory Committee and its relationship with ACAT. It was noted that an ACAT member sits on Metrolinx’s Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Eve Wiggins briefed the group on a regional paratransit working group facilitated by Metrolinx which has a Memorandum of Understanding recognizing eligibility across jurisdictions, and is working to improve connections and their timing.

Last year, ACAT approached three municipalities and Metrolinx and had a successful meeting with much interest from other municipalities. TTC Board Member Jennifer McKelvie attended an ACAT meeting and expressed interest in receiving an invitation to the meeting being planned for this year. TTC Chair Jaye Robinson also expressed an interest in attending the meeting provided there is not a scheduling conflict with a Council meeting.

The next ACAT Executive Quarterly meeting is scheduled for June 6, 2019.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

A member recommended that ACAT members write to their Members of Provincial Parliament in their capacity as individuals, underlining that this is a critical time.

A member expressed that they did not want to go back to a time when accessibility was an afterthought or a fight. 

14. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

No TTC Board Meeting was held in March. The next meeting will be Thursday, April 11, 2019.

 

15. Review of Correspondence

A Wheel-Trans customer email was received via a former ACAT member. It recounted a personal experience of not being able to hear on the Priority Line, and recommended a Priority Line texting option.

Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager-Customer Service, Wheel-Trans, advised that a Priority Line email address had now been set up. It is monitored on a minute-by-minute basis by Shift Supervisors. They are working on a text option, and a chat function, but the email was a first tool that could be activated faster. The email will be shared with ACAT and communicated out to customers, via the self-booking website. 

A member indicated that there used to be a TTY number a long time ago and asked if there still was. Lodon advised that there is not.

Another member suggested that having an email option presupposes that customers have data on their phones, and that text is better.

An additional member expressed concern about seniors who do not know how to text and do not know how to use digital phone technology.

A member queried whether one could book a Family of Services trip via email, which you cannot. They requested that text capability be explored for all current phone call options. Lodon agreed to take this request back for consideration. 

16. Other / New Business

Retraining Operators, Fare Inspectors and Transit Enforcement Staff

A member asked when the retraining of bus Operators would start again. They recently had a hard time getting a bus driver to put out the ramp for them. ACAT members also asked if and when fare inspectors and Transit Enforcement staff would be trained. A recent story was shared of a Wheel-Trans driver using the accessible washroom at a TTC building as an example of the need for greater awareness and best practices. 

Matt Hagg advised that training for Streetcar Operators starts in mid-May, while Bus Operator recertification is on hold.

The Need for Communication For People To Feel More Comfortable Using The Subway With Mobility Devices

A member expressed that the tips on the accessibility area of the website do not go far enough in helping people to feel more comfortable using the subway with mobility devices. More could be added, such as minimum wheel-size recommendations. These could also be shared with people who register for Wheel-Trans, Family of Services users, and mobility device equipment providers.

Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications, suggested possibly including it in the Travel Training. It was recommended that more of the Travel Training be put into the tips, as many people will travel and not take the training.

Members and staff discussed the Travel Training program. There are perceptions that the training is only for Wheel-Trans customers, when it is actually open to everyone. There have also been interpretations that the program was not suited for people with cognitive disabilities. Members advised that if the program is open to everyone, it should be advertised. Staff indicated that, at the moment, there is one trainer. 

The issues of tips, training and related efforts were referred to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee and the Communications Subcommittee, including how to get the messages across and if there are enough resources. Heather Brown advised that she had reached out to her team to get started. 

Remarks by a Member About an Accident That Occurred in a TTC Station on March 7, 2019

After the most recent Communications Subcommittee, an ACAT member lost consciousness and fell at Dundas Station, sustaining injuries. The TTC staff member who attended at the station was very professional and caring. The ACAT member has contacted TTC Customer Service with a commendation.

Members asked whether some type of recognition on behalf of ACAT would also be appropriate. With the agreement of the affected person, ACAT members agreed to send a letter of thanks and commendation on behalf of ACAT. It was stated that this underlines the importance of having supports in place by the TTC when something like this goes wrong when a person is travelling.

17. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, April 25, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

18. Adjournment

On a motion by Sam Savona, the meeting was adjourned at 3:35 p.m.
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