ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, May 30, 2019
Start Time:
Location:
7th Floor Boardroom 1900 Yonge Street
Meeting No:343
  • 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 Dressier
  • Jessica Geboers
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • James Pyo
  • Igor Samardzic
  • Sam Savona

Pool Members

  • Ian Payton

Regrets

  • Chris Stigas
  • Thomas Richardson
  • Lauri Sue Robertson

TTC Representatives

  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
  • Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications
  • Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans (Acting)
  • Dean Milton, Manager – Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans
  • Charlene Sharpe, Assistant Manager – Planning and Policy, Wheel-Trans
  • Thamina Jaferi, Diversity Consultant- DHRD
  • Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, Chief Customer Officer (Acting)
  • Desrianne Mcllwrick, Lead Travel Trainer
  • Sibtain Kiani, Assistant Manager- Bus Transportation

Guest

  • Julie Osborne, TTC Board Member

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Mazin Aribi, ACAT Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

On motion by Margo Brodie and seconded by Craig Nicol, the agenda was approved.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair

ACAT Chair, Mazin Aribi, welcomed and recognized TTC Board Member Julie Osborne and Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, TTC Chief Customer Officer, for attending the meeting. Kathleen Llewellyn Thomas and Julie Osborne expressed that they are pleased to be able to make it. Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas mentioned that her team is working on a 5-Year Strategy and 10 Year Outlook for transit service, as well as a 5-Year Fare Strategy.

Mazin Aribi remarked that ACAT works with well with all TTC departments and that the working relationship between TTC staff and ACAT has been a good one. ACAT appreciates that staff brings projects, reports, and announcements to ACAT members for their consideration before accessibility items are forwarded to the TTC Board.

Mazin Aribi reminded ACAT members that the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy public meeting is taking place today from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 227 Bloor Street East at which people can learn more about Family of Services. Mazin thanked the ACAT members who volunteered tonight.

Mazin Aribi also mentioned that the next City of Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC) meeting is going to be held at City Hall on June 4, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. The meeting is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Mazin Aribi welcomed former Pool member, James Pyo, to the ACAT Committee. James replaces Shindujan Yogaratnam.

5. Review and Approval of April 25, 2019 Minutes

On motion by Bobbi Moore and seconded by Sam Savona, the minutes of April 25, 2019 were approved.

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

Outstanding Items:

  • Item: Lack of Tactile Information on Poles for Shared Bus Stops – to be completed Spring 2019 although the work is still ongoing. 
  • Item: Review of the Impact of Curb Side Bike Lanes on Wheel-Trans Customers and Operators in Accessing Certain Pick-Up / Drop-Off Locations – Ongoing. SPS April 3, 2019 minutes were sent to the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee.

This item will be raised at the ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting on June 6, 2019 and staff will be asked for an update. Craig Nicol questioned whether anything will get done because there is not any traction from the City. According to Craig Nicol, the City is too focused on what is best for the cyclists, and they are not considering the people getting on and off Wheel-Trans vehicles.

Members were encouraged to watch the TAAC video; the link was emailed on April 24, 2019. She stated that it is worthwhile to check it out and understand the depth of the problem.

Mazin Aribi mentioned that there is an ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting coming up and they will talk about this item there as well.

  • Item: Give Higher Priority to Resolving Inconsistencies with Wheel-Trans Pick Up and Drop Offs at Subway Stations in support of Family of Services - Ongoing.
  • Item: GTHA Accessibility Advisory Committee Joint Meeting – Took place on May 14, 2019. York Region has offered to host the next meeting in the Fall of 2019, which is to be confirmed.
  • Item: Concerns Regarding Wheel-Trans pick-ups and drop offs at St. Clair West Station – Completed. The procedures are now in place and this item will be removed from the Outstanding Items List.
  • Item: Subway Platform Gap (Vertical and Horizontal Gap) – Ongoing.

ACAT members raised concerns about the length of time it is taking to expedite improvements at subway platform gaps, and urged TTC staff to find a way to complete as soon as possible. Staff noted that the project team will attend the DRS meeting in July to provide an update on the gap measurement study and recommended that any ACAT motions regarding priorities wait until after that presentation.

Business Arising

Elevator Redundancy at Finch West Interchange Station

Craig Nicol mentioned that, at the April meeting, there was discussion about the interchange stations that Metrolinx is building. Eglinton Crosstown LRT interchange stations will have elevator redundancy; however, the interchange station at Finch West will not have a redundant elevator to LRT platform level. It was noted that TTC protected space in Finch West Station for second future elevator to the subway platform level. It was recommended that Metrolinx be requested to provide a second elevator to the LRT platform as part of the current construction.
 
Mazin Aribi asked that DRS members propose a motion and bring it to ACAT to approve. It will also be brought to the ACAT Executive Quarterly meetings with the TTC Chair and CEO.

 

7. Deputation

Nil.

8. Motion to Amend the ACAT Terms of Reference, Sections, 3.2 and 3.3 – Selection and Appointment Process

Mazin Aribi explained that this item came as a request from staff and called on staff to speak on the motion. Matt Hagg said that they have been finding that the applications have been declining year over year. In 2018, there were fewer than 25 applications, which is a problem because 7 to 9 members must be selected each year, and there are concerns about attracting qualified candidates.

Currently, there are mandatory information sessions that interested applicants must attend in-person; however, staff would like to remove this restriction to enable alternate means of distributing applications, such as online or in person at events like the Access Expo. There will still be information sessions held every year for anyone who wishes to attend in person to learn more about ACAT and ask questions. The current ACAT Terms of Reference says that applicants must attend a session in person. Therefore, staff are looking for ACAT’s support to update the Terms of Reference accordingly to allow for an online information session and online submission of application.

Questions and Comments from the Committee
A member questioned whether applicants receiving the application online would also receive the information session online. Staff affirmed that the information presentation will be available as well as a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. Applicants will have to click through and confirm that they have watched the presentation and/or read the FAQ. The in-person information session is only held two days and, if a person cannot attend, then they are out of luck.

A member fully supported putting the session online in order to be more accessible for others to share among the community, and people could be easily screened through the interview process.

Another member stated that the online information session would also be more helpful for those who require spell check or have learning disabilities. It would help those who are not audio learners.

A member stated that not everyone is computer literate and if so, that they cannot apply. If one has the level of commitment to sit at a board they should attend the information sessions.

A member mentioned that commitment can also be demonstrated by requiring people to come to the information sessions.

A member is worried that people, other than the person applying for membership, could be completing the form. Staff noted that it was evident that applications are already submitted on behalf of people who attend an in person session. This is not an issue, that would be changed with online applications.

Staff reiterated that the in-person information sessions will still continue. Nothing will change except for the additional format of online applications and information sessions. 

Mazin Aribi stated that he does not support the online information session, and instead would like to simplify the application process. Having applied to the position, sat in at the interviews, the application can be simplified and be accommodated in other formats whether it is CD, print or other formats. He says that there will still be information sessions held in different times of the day to accommodate people. If someone cannot commit to attend one information session, then there is a problem with someone’s commitment. Staff noted that they also have simplified the application form for this year.

Craig Nicol asked that members consider that some people have work commitments or personal commitments, which will not let them be able to get to these sessions. He does not want to restrict it totally or throw it wide open.

A member stated that having the sessions online and in-person makes it more available to people.

A member questioned why there has been a sharp decrease in applications. Matt Hagg replied that it is hard to measure.

A member suggested to hold more than two information sessions so that people have a better chance of attending. Heather Brown says that this is a compromise for people who are interested in applying. In addition to online, the applications could be handed out at public events, such as the Wheel-Trans Public Meeting and at the Access Expo. The in-person information sessions are not going to be cancelled. The addition of an online information session will make it easier for people to apply without traveling downtown.

A member expressed a concern that ACAT members have not had the opportunity to review the most recent version of the application form.

Motion: It is recommended that Staff and the TTC Board proceed with an update to the ACAT Terms of Reference to make the application and information session process more widely available to potential candidates.

Mary Burton moved the motion presented by TTC staff and Craig Nicol seconded it. The motion did not pass with four in favour and eight opposed.

A member stated that the current dates, July 26 and 31, 2019, could be a problem for individuals who are on vacation during that period of time. Mazin stated that moving the application and information sessions came from staff and is not an ACAT recommendation.

A member recommended that there be four sessions and they should be separated by several weeks to make it easier for those leaving the city for a month. ACAT members asked whether it is too late to make the changes this year. Staff responded that staff has asked to move it to July to provide sufficient time for the Board reporting process and have the approval of new ACAT members before December 2019.

Sam Savona brought forward another motion regarding the revised application process.

Motion: That the TTC staff work with the ACAT Executive on the application process for 2021 and bring back their recommendations on ways to improve the application process to ACAT at the ACAT General Meeting in August 2019. After which, ACAT needs to forward their recommendations to the TTC Board for the 2021 selection of new members.
 
Margo Brodie seconded this. Mazin Aribi asked who were in favour of the motion, all agreed with just one opposed. The motion passed.

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Mary Burton, Chair

A CS meeting was held on May 2, 2019.

Travel training for customers using Wheel-Trans was discussed. It was noted that the best time of year to do so is now while the weather is still great. Travel Training has received good reviews so far. There was some confusion in the past that travel training was not for people with cognitive disabilities, which has been addressed.

It was suggested that, in some areas, people might not need travel training if there is a series of small videos. It was also suggested if there could be a way to create an online booking profile which could help caregivers or those with memory difficulties.

Heather Brown mentioned the TTC “Please Offer Me A Seat” campaign. It was observed that pregnant women would not wear the button because it has the international symbol of access on it. This feedback comes from Twitter.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Mazin Aribi stated that there is an issue with the rail map, the combination of subway stations and streetcars, and the accessible streetcar routes are not identified. He questioned how people would know which streetcar routes are accessible. This was referred to the Communications Subcommittee.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

A DRS meeting was held on May 1, 2019. 

Easier Access Phase 3 - Greenwood Station

Steve Stewart provided an update on the current plans for accessibility modifications to Greenwood station by 2023. The EA3 upgrade will include two elevators with a crossover at concourse level. The existing street level will be enlarged to provide a corridor to elevator E1, sliding doors, and bus platform modification.

DRS raised concerns about the lack of a lobby space for the concourse to westbound platform elevator at Concourse Level, and narrow corridor and lobby space at Platform level. It was asked that the corridor be enlarged so that customers with larger mobility devices could turn around inside the corridor instead of backing right out into the platform.

DRS members also recommended to ensure the side access to the elevator hall call button.

Next Low-Floor Streetcar Order

TTC is currently preparing specification documents for the next order of low-floor streetcars. The proposal for a tender in 2020 and prototype in 2023. DRS members were asked for feedback with the current low floor streetcars. Subcommittee comments included the ramp angle, mobility device seating areas, and overall passenger circulation in the vehicle.

Streetcar Platform Design

Tom Kliem, TTC Senior Project Engineer, provided an update. Design changes implemented per DRS recommendations include railing improvements for cane detectability, platform end barrier and tactile attention indicators at the ramp. There is an outstanding item regarding the lighting requiring agreement with Toronto Hydro.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee members

A concern was raised that not all platforms are of adequate size for mobility device boarding. The TTC is aware of such constraints. There are a number of right-of-way challenges, especially in older parts of the City.

A DRS meeting was also held on May 22, 2019.

Finch West LRT Surface Stops

Mosaic Transit and Metrolinx presented 30% designs for Finch West LRT surface stops. Three stop types were shown to DRS, namely, island platform stops, paired side platform stops, and offset far side platform stops. All stops are connected to the crosswalk by a protected shallow ramp and landing and have a bull nose barrier with an Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS) button on the far side of the crosswalk.

DRS members recommended:

  • moving the accessible pedestrian signal push button from where it was shown on the drawings to a more accessible location.
  • revising tactile guidance paths to only provide these in the open areas of island platforms, not where shelters are provided, and not providing these on side platforms.

Other Items

DRS members raised a concern that the new Sheppard Centre third party elevator control panel is on an end wall beside the door, not on the side wall as per TTC requirements.

The next DRS meeting is June 5, 2019.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

A member asked what the difference is between the new LRT vehicles and TTC’s streetcar. It was noted the major difference is the LRT vehicles have doors on both sides which means that the mobility device seating areas are not in the same location as on streetcars.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Anita Dressler, Chair

A SPS meeting was held on May 1, 2019.
 
Michael Hain, Senior Transportation Planner, City of Toronto, provided a draft overview of transportation policies consisting of accessibility, transit, cycling, and automated vehicles and shared mobility services. The definition of accessibility is an issue due to context and different meanings. There were recommended changes, such as “accommodation” of those that require the need for use.

There was a discussion regarding traffic signals in predominantly senior areas and the new senior crossing zone signs installed by the City. There was confusion as to the intent of signage.

There was discussion about cycling issues and the interference of bike lanes to Wheel-Trans loading and unloading passengers, safety of drivers, and bike riders.

There was also discussion of the access hubs and the concern over excessive walking in proposals for new bus terminals. This led to the discussion of consistency in accessibility in transportation.

Matt Hagg provided an update on the Community Bus Pilot Project, and the 400 Lawrence Manor and the 404 East York performance statistics. The items of concern were the overall use and how the data was received in the pilot project. An example is that it was thought that residents would use the bus to go to the Humber Hospital; however, ridership to the hospital has been low. There was discussion that the three malls in the area would increase ridership of the Community Bus.

405 Etobicoke passengers were hoping for the route to be changed to accommodate low-cost grocery shopping, which is currently not accommodated by the Community Bus route.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Sam Savona, Chair

A WTOS meeting was held on May 16, 2019.

Ross Visconti, Project Manager – Scheduling & Dispatch, presented an overview of the new mobile app which would allow Wheel-Trans customers to manage their rides through their touch-tone phones. The app will have the same features as the online Self Booking website. Some features include: Estimated Time Arrival (ETA) for riders to know where their ride is, allow riders to reset their password, indicate if there are any service alerts along the way, and allow riders to access their Trip History.

Staff will be shown several features of the app as it is being developed and ACAT will be consulted as it happens. The app is scheduled to “go live” in August 2019. WTOS members recommended that the app be launched once it is fully developed to avoid confusion and frustration of the riders.
 
Dean Milton, Manager- Strategic Initiatives, presented a report on conditional trip matching. There are 13,500 conditional riders who are active. About 1,000 people apply for Wheel-Trans eligibility monthly with approximately 500 ending up as conditional riders. Approximately 5,000 conditional riders by the end of the year are expected.

Dean reported that, among new riders, conditional riders travel a lot more than others. Very few of these riders have voluntarily booked Family of Services trips even when they have been offered. He also clarified that new conditional riders are actually travelling at about the same rate as riders registered before 2017. The TTC has not been tracking why riders are declining Family of Services trips. Perhaps riders find door-to-door service easier, they are unfamiliar with the conventional system or feel cannot use it, etc.  Members shared some possibilities of reasons why riders are not accepting Family of Services, many which were the uncertainty of the conventional service and the indirect route a Family of Service would take the rider.

WTOS members reviewed the scent policy. Although members agreed with this policy, they said that, in reality, the rider who is affected by the scent does not get picked up in 15 minutes. Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager, Customer Service, stated that the 15 minutes was a goal for confirming and communicating with another pick-up time.

Lodon indicated that this is not a widespread issue impacting a lot of riders and that Wheel-Trans is a public service. A penalty for customers wearing scents would be difficult to impose and the approach would have to be aligned with the TTC.

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

CS:

  • Travel Training

DRS:

  • EA3 designs for Greenwood Station
  • Finch West LRT surface stop design review
  • Streetcar platform design review
  • Low -Floor Streetcar procurement

SPS:

  • Discussed cycling issues and the interference of bike lanes to Wheel-Trans loading and unloading passengers, safety of drivers, and bike riders.
  • Discussed draft overview of City of Toronto’s transportation policies on accessibility

WTOS:

  • New Mobile App for Wheel-Trans customers

11. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

Dean Milton, Manager – Strategic Initiatives, provided an update.

Communication Deliverables

Ongoing work is being done on updating the Accessibility Tip Sheet, Travel Training Handbook, and the Travel Training brochure. Procuring an email marketing vendor to regularly email Wheel-Trans customers is also ongoing.

The Access newsletter has been sent out beginning the week of May 20, 2019.

The Humber College North campus Access Hub will be opening soon.

Customer Experience

Six remaining policies are being finalized, namely: Do Not Leave Unattended, Fare Payment, Layover and Multiple Stops, Family of Service and Conditional Travel, and Cross Boundary Travelling policy. The policy “Travelling with Infants and Children” is still undergoing operational review.

Family of Services (FOS)

FOS Trips including 18% diversion, to date, totals 312,577. Not as many customers are using the combination of Wheel-Trans and TTC but both are being heavily used.

Staff continue to work with ACAT WTOS on the Conditional Trip Matching (Mandatory Enforcement of Conditions) with September 2019 as the target date of implementation. It is estimated that the initial demand for FOS trips will be between 1,200 to 1,800 trips per day.

Eligibility (Re-Registration Update)

The planned start date for re-registration is November 2019. Staff want to learn from the Conditional Trip Matching experience before commencing. WTOS was presented with a number of different options with respect to which customers to begin the re-classification process (all legacy customers will be re-registered). It was determined that the 10,000 customers (24,000 active) who travel the most frequently and required the most trip options was a logical place to begin. They account for 80% of door-to-door trips taken. They are representative of all age breakdown when compared to base as a whole, and representative of ambulatory vs. non-ambulatory when compared to base as a whole. The TTC Legal & Diversity and Human Rights support this approach.

Access Hub

Mazin Aribi and Craig Nicol accompanied staff for a site visit and reviewed the Humber College Access Hub on May 15, 2019. Minor deficiencies were noted, e.g. the heat wave sensors will be lowered,  signage for the wave sensor will need to be replaced.

Craig Nicol says that the signage was mounted directly above the sensor which meant that the customer could not get their hand directly up there. He suggests that the sign be built so it is beyond the base of the sensor. Lowering the sign would make it harder for people to read it. This issue was forwarded to the vendor.

The next Wave of Access Hubs to be constructed are:

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

Update for Travel Training

Sixty-two customers have completed travel training and there is now just over 500 people who have undergone training. Testing at Broadview Station will be held on June 25, 2019. At the Access Expo on June 6-8, 2019, a conventional bus will be on display and customers can explore the vehicle and TTC staff are present to answer any questions.

Customer requirements will continue to be identified through surveys, and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about travel training will be sent through the Wheel-Trans welcome package.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

A member asked whether these trips need to be pre-booked: how many of the pre-booked services can go on Family of Services? Dean Milton responds that 50% of the trips schedules are regular trips. Customers are conditionally eligible.

Craig Nicol stated that the concern is that Family of Services trips pick up on Line 1 north of Eglinton, and there are consistent service delays at that section. The train stops multiple times before it gets to wherever the pickup is scheduled. Dean Milton says that this is a matter that the TTC will be aware of before it goes live. Staff will consider delays on the routes.

A member asked what would happen if someone is being dropped at a station and the elevator is out of service. Sometimes the elevators stop working at night, she asks whether someone would call to let the customers know that they are down. She asks what people would do if they found themselves in that situation. Dean Milton says that Dispatchers will remain on top of any service delays and, with some new technology in place, there is going to be more real time information about these disruptions. If the information does not reach the customer before they are dropped off, then the customer will have to contact the Priority Line and advise that they require alternative arrangements. If the customer does not have a phone, then Station Managers are aware of the protocol and will be there to help. 

Mazin Aribi asks whether there is access to feedback from those who are already using the conventional system. This information can be passed on to customers who are afraid of using the system. Dean Milton says that can be arranged.

A member asked if there is a Family of Services telephone line if a customer runs into any difficulty getting through the Priority Line. Dean Milton replied that there is now and the queues are not as long.

Mazin Aribi asked whether it is possible to figure out which subway stations have the most amount of no shows for Family of Services trips. This data would help pinpoint the complicated stations with confusing entrances. People are probably missing their rides due to confusion. Dean Milton said that it could be arranged; although it would help if more people are using Family of Services as there are only 80 trips at this time.

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

No CLP meeting was held since the last ACAT meeting.

13. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

A TTC Board meeting was held on May 8, 2019 at City Hall.

The Board received the ACAT minutes of the February and March 2019 meetings.

TTC staff presented a comprehensive report entitled “2019-2023 TTC Multi-Year Accessibility Plan”. This plan contains 52 initiatives to further improve and expand the TTC’s accessible transit services over the next five years.

Staff also presented a report that provided an update on the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy and highlighted significant achievements since the last update in April 2018.

TTC Board members also adopted a motion for staff to undertake a comprehensive review of cross-border Wheel-Trans service for riders travelling outside of the City of Toronto, and for staff to report on options that immediately address the delays that customers are experiencing when booking their rides by telephone.

The next TTC Board meeting is on Wednesday, June 12, 2019.

14. Review of Correspondence

Nil.

15. Other / New Business

Nil.

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, June 27, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

17. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 3:50 p.m.

Saji Mohan
Recording Secretary
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