ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, July 25, 2019
Location:7th Floor Boardroom, 1900 Yonge Street
Meeting No:345
  • 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
  • James Pyo
  • Lauri Sue Robertson
  • Igor Samardzic
  • Sam Savona
  • Chris Stigas

Regrets

  • Thomas Richardson

TTC Representatives

  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
  • Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager - Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Heather Brown, Manager - Customer Communications
  • Dean Milton, Manager-Strategic Initiatives
  • Desrianne McIlwrick, Lead Travel Trainer
  • Charlene Sharpe, Assistant Manager-Policy & Planning, Wheel-Trans
  • Cameron Penman, Division Manager - Customer Service
  • Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans (Acting)
  • John Breynon, Chief Instructor, OTC
  • Romayne Toban, Diversity Consultant

Copies

  • Rick Leary, Chief Executive Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Deputy CEO – Operations
  • Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, Chief Customer Officer
  • Orest Kobylansky, Executive Director - Operations
  • Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
  • Josie La Vita, Chief Financial Officer
  • Susan Sperling, Executive Director – Corporate Communications (Acting)
  • James Ross, Chief Operating Officer
  • Dwayne Geddes, 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 1:06 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

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

  • Addition under New Business:
    • Emergency Buttons and Call Buttons inside Subway Trains and Stations
    • Consistency of Minute Takers
    • ACAT Information Booth from the last accessibility fair

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair

Mazin Aribi reminded the members to use the phone number and email address that were forwarded to ACAT members in order to report any glitches in bus next stop announcements.

Mazin reported that, on July 12, 2019, he and Marian McDonell attended the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC) meeting. TAAC members expressed many concerns about Wheel-Trans re-registration and appeal process. Mazin advised that TAAC members are sent ACAT's upcoming agenda and approved minutes, and that they are invited to attend the monthly meetings. As well, Mazin invited the TAAC members to the upcoming Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Public Meeting on July 23, 2019 at Metro Hall and the two ACAT Information sessions and encouraged them to apply for ACAT's 2020 membership. The next TAAC meeting will be held on September 26, 2019, 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.

Mazin reported that the ACAT Executive met with the TTC staff liaisons to discuss the ACAT recruitment information and application process and plans were developed for moving forward for ACAT 2021 membership. A report will be provided at the ACAT August 29th meeting.

Mazin also reminded the members of the two ACAT Information sessions to be held on Friday, July 26, 2019 and on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, at City Hall.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Members brought up the issue regarding unscheduled subway closures in the TTC throughout the week. During unscheduled closures, it is difficult to find appropriate staff to assist customers on where to go. Also, more people are forced to use surface transit which leads to crowded buses. Members proposed to refer this item to Service Planning Subcommittee.

Members suggested getting together with TTC staff to discuss how to proceed with issues that arise at TTC Public meetings. A lot of issues are raised which TTC staff should weigh in, and how best to go forward with complaints. Cameron Penman assured members that TTC staff will work to address complaints. He added that Wheel-Trans has already began taking action on complaints that were reported, and is looking at recurring common complaints.

Members also suggested that, at Public meetings, instead of having the audience asking three questions before receiving answers, that the panel should answer one question after the other. Some attendees who have cognitive issues might not remember the first question that was asked, or might be confused on which question is being answered.

5. Review and Approval of June 27, 2019 Minutes

On a motion by Bobbi Moore and seconded by Anita Dressier, the minutes of the June 27, 2019 meeting were approved.

 

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

  • Item: Lack of Tactile Information on Stop Poles for Shared Bus Stops – Ongoing. Installation is scheduled to start in September 2019 and staff to report back in October 2019.
  • 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. Staff to provide an update to WTOS in September 2019.
  • Item: GTHA Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) Joint Meeting – the next meeting will be in September 2019.
  • Item: Subway Platform (Vertical and Horizontal) Gap - an update from DRS will be provided.
  • Item: Motion - Need for Elevator Redundancy at Finch West Interchange Station to the LRT Platform Level - An update will be provided in August 2019.
  • Item: VISION System Stop Calling Announcements - Staff to provide and update in September 2019.

Questions and Comments from the Subcommittee:

Members asked for clarification that the Stop Calling Announcements are solely concerning buses, and not any other system. The Chair noted that an email was distributed to ACAT members to use in case a stop call had an issue. He also noted that since the email has been distributed, no issues have been reported.

7. Deputation – Adam Cohoon and Howard Wax

Adam Cohoon, Chair of the TTC Riders Accessibility Committee presented concerns about issues of accessibility and the progress towards the creation of a fully accessible TTC by January 2025. A fundamental barrier is the personal cost to travel. Many people with disabilities and people using transit are on limited incomes.

Construction sites in and near the transit system become challenging to navigate, with poor signage, improper indicators for blind persons, and detours being made without consideration for people with disabilities. Snow clearance around stops and stations can be late or poorly done. When new systems are introduced, or transit stops are moved or closed, instructions are not accessible for many of us. In summary, the system becomes less accessible, in violation of AODA legislation.

Howard Wax from Accessible Elections presented his deputation. He provided the link to the report here: https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/963f-2018-Final-Accessibility-Report_2019.pdf, and made note of specific pages from the report (pages 13, 16, and 28).

A presentation was delivered to the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee to solicit feedback on the Accessibility Plan. The Accessibility Outreach Network (AON) consisted of 98 members, representing 49 organizations and 29 community advocates. 51% (34 respondents) indicated that they serve or represent persons with disabilities. 91% (61 respondents) thought that Election Services’ outreach initiatives helped reduce barriers to electoral participation.

Moving forward, strengthen relationships with the members of the AON, while continuously monitoring and remedying potential gaps in representation. Investigate emerging public engagement trends and technology to help facilitate remote participation in AON meetings and consultation sessions. Consult with persons with disabilities to inform all areas of election planning, with special attention to new technology, voting options, web applications, accessibility training for voting place staff, and the development of accessibility.
 
A new voting option was introduced that allowed people unable to attend a voting place to vote from home by requesting a home visit, including people in hospitals and other health care facilities.

All 1,700 voting places underwent multiple inspections that considered accessible criteria such as accessible parking, route of travel, slope and surface, availability of a power door opener, and accessible washrooms for voting place staff. Accessibility issues were rectified through temporary modifications, including installing 60 ramps, 54 door handles, accessibility signage, and accessibility officers. A partnership with Wheel-Trans and ACAT was formed to support accessible transportation options to voting places. This included cross-communication of information and a dedicated Wheel Trans staff who worked with election staff to assist riders with disabilities who experienced difficulty booking a trip or getting to their voting place.

ACAT thanked Adam Cohoon and Howard Wax for their deputations. The Chair thanked members of ACAT and others who contributed and supported these initiatives.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Members asked if the Accessible Elections plan would be provincial or federal. Howard Wax responded that Elections Canada has distanced itself from invitation to meetings. There has not been any attendance or contact with the organization. Elections Ontario is present at all the meetings and has taken action on issues. Cooperation is provincial, but not federal.

8. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Mary Burton, Chair

A CS meeting was held on July 4, 2019.

  • Interchange Station Announcements on Subways

Line 2 and 3 station stop announcements have been re-recorded to be consistent with announcements on Line 1. The next step will be volume testing to make sure it is fine to be rolled out on all Line 2 and 3 trains. Pronunciations for stops have also been checked. No implementation date has been set.

  • Information on Stop Poles

The initiative to provide tactile information at closely spaced bus stop poles as a trial is proceeding with signs expected to be installed in the Fall.

  • Request Stop Program

A message regarding the Request Stop Program will be shared on social media and on the next Wheel-Trans newsletter.

  • Family of Services Bus Stop Pole Symbols.

Additional communications around Family of Services bus stop pole symbols are needed to help customers better understand these poles. This was planned to start in June but had been pushed to September.

  • Tips for Making People Feel More Comfortable Using the Subway with Mobility Devices.

The subcommittee reviewed and gave feedback regarding the test template for travel tips to make people with mobility devices feel more comfortable using the subway. This sheet would recommend riders to plan their trip through different suggested apps.

  • Destination Sign Messages on Buses and Streetcars

Subcommittee members discussed and agreed that TTC should keep the policy to not use promotional or special messages on bus and streetcar destination signs. Special messages can be confusing for both people with limited vision and people with cognitive impairments. Instead, cardboard front window signs would be suitable as per current practice.

  • PRESTO Update

Heather Brown provided an update on the PRESTO rollout. Single use tickets are now available at some subway stations. These tickets are meant for people who do not usually ride the TTC or visit the city frequently. This will be communicated by July 8, 2019 through news releases and the website.

The Sedan Taxi PRESTO solution is currently being moved forward with the testing phase.

The TTC will stop selling regular tickets and tokens as of November 2019. The TTC will stop accepting tickets and tokens in mid-2020.

  • Wheel-Trans Policy Update

The Do Not Leave Unattended, Cross-Boundary, Fare Payment and Travelling with Infants and Children policies were reviewed and CS members provided feedback. The details were reviewed at the WTOS meeting the following week.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Members asked about the date of the stop sale of tickets and tokens. The dates seem to be different than from the website. Heather Brown clarified that the information on the website will be reviewed and corrected.

Members brought up a concern about the proper communication of stop pole locations. The objective would be to create a consistency to where Wheel-Trans vehicles stop. The Chair noted that buildings need to allocate a stop and communicate with Wheel-Trans the location of the pole.

Members stated that TTC Communications needs to make an effort to properly communicate to both Wheel-Trans and conventional TTC customers about the tickets and tokens deadlines. Heather Brown stated that they are currently working on a campaign to promote the stop selling and accepting of tickets and tokens and hope to begin late September or early October.

The next CS meeting will be held on August 1, 2019.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

A DRS held a meeting on July 3, 2019.

  • Platform Edge Gap Update

Glen Buchberger reviewed the status of remediation for the platform edge gap and the process for prioritizing platform repairs. Additional study is required to develop a process for outdoor platforms (Davisville and Rosedale). The project with ten stations being addressed per year is expected to run until 2028. St. George and Eglinton now have the vertical gap repair complete and work is moving to St Clair with Finch to follow.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

Members asked if the work can proceed faster. The response was that lessons were learned and staff are being increased to achieve more in less time.

DRS members recommended that the horizontal gap work be completed at each station right after that station's vertical gap repair. Staff advised that having received the horizontal filler that is the intention.

It was noted that repairs are concentrated on Line 1 due to older construction practices that resulted in higher variability which means that although other stations will require work they are of lower priority due to smaller gap.

Easier Access Phase 3 (EA3): Rosedale and King Stations

Steve Stewart and TTC Engineering presented EA3 designs for Rosedale (30%) and King stations (100%).

a) Rosedale

Two flow through elevators will be installed along with power doors and tactile attention indicators at stairs.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

Members asked if the doors to the overpass corridor could be eliminated or replaced with a power sliding door rather than remaining as power swing doors.

b) King

Design for this station was previously presented to DRS several years ago; however, due to some minor design changes, DRS again reviewed the station. The design installs three flow through elevators and allows for accessible entry via Commerce Court.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

Owing to the access route via Commerce Court, a concern was raised about the adequacy of wayfinding signage.
DRS spoke to the difficulty of using elevator hall call buttons when located in inside corners. Staff was stated that this issue is not addressed in TTC standards and that standards may need to be revised.
 
Members were concerned about passenger flow/congestion around elevators E2 and E3. A number of suggestions were put forward to mitigate the problem.

There was a particular concern regarding the size of the shared passage between E3 and the northbound subway platform. Staff responded that space is very limited due to underground services and adjacent buildings.

The next DRS meeting will be held on September 5, 2019.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Anita Dressler, Chair

A SPS meeting was held on July 3, 2019.

Stephanie Simard, Strategy and Service Planning, presented on the automated shuttle pilot project called “Minding the Gap”, which is a joint effort from City of Toronto, TTC, and Metrolinx, with funding support from Transport Canada. Service is expected to launch September 2020.

TTC is also working on a five-year service plan and a ten-year outlook. This study will be completed by December 2019. Several consultations will be taking place, stakeholder consultations, engagement and pop up meetings at subway stations, with the aim towards understanding customer priorities. This is a multi-year faceted program to improve service reliability and operating problems, including transit priority measures, and enhanced customer experience at key stop locations. It would provide new connections for improved service and reliability.

The next SPS meeting will be held on September 4, 2019.

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

A WTOS meeting was held on July 11, 2019.

  • Fare Evasion

David Moskowitz provided a presentation.

The Community Engagement Unit (CEU) was created in 2017 to bridge the gap between the community and Operators. The focus is on Toronto communities who are using the TTC for shelters, and other purposes rather than transit. The project ran for six months. Over time, the CEU focused on people who use the TTC who are in need of shelter, who are in crisis, who are less fortunate, need housing, and to be able to lend a hand to people needing it. CEU saw a difference between people who are loitering in the station and the people who are using the station for help. The Toronto Police is also involved in the CEU, as well as United Way and over 100 agencies who wanted to help. When CEU find someone in need, they are able to bring the person case by case to get them the help they need within 24 hours.

  • Mobile App Update

Abraham Stepanian, Subject Matter Expert, provided an update. The mobile app is currently under testing to make sure it works best for the launch. Staff are currently working on getting all of the suggestions implemented for the final product.

  • Review of Wheel-Trans Policies

WTOS members reviewed the Do Not Leave Unattended (DNLU), Cross-Boundary, Travelling with Infants and Children, and Fare Payment policies. Members provided their feedback.

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

CS:

  • Review of Wheel-Trans Policies
  • Review of Destination Sign Messages on Buses and Streetcars
  • PRESTO updates
  • Travel Tips sheet to make people with mobility devices feel more comfortable using the subway

DRS:

  • Discussion on the Subway Platform gap, increasing the speed of remediation and future funding
  • Easier Access Rosedale and King Stations

WTOS:

  • Review of Wheel-Trans Policies
  • Review of the Wheel-Trans Mobile App

10. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

Dean Milton, Manager - Strategic Initiatives, presented an update.

  • Wheel-Trans Policies

There are two remaining policies left to be vetted through the TTC Legal and Human Rights departments - Layover and Multiple Stops and Family of Services - Conditional Travel Policy. Once finalized, they will be brought to the attention of WTOS. Dean Milton proposed that members from the Communications Subcommittee attend the WTOS meeting to review the policies at the same time.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Members asked when the policies will be disseminated to the public. Dean said part of the procedure before publishing is to be able to determine how the new policies will affect frontline employees, such as drivers or staff. They want to make sure staff are involved and aware of the changes being made.

Members suggested making a proactive choice and mailing out physical copies of the new policies to customers, after concerns were raised about fear of the policies not being promoted properly. This would cost a lot of money, but that the TTC could also use this opportunity to include other notices and newsletters at the same time.

Members brought up the concern of the DNLU policy not being able to accommodate DNLU customers using conventional systems during unscheduled closures. Dean Milton replied that DNLU customers are primarily using Wheel-Trans services, and that unscheduled subway closures will not impact them.

  • Family of Services (FOS)

To date, 2,494 FOS trips have been scheduled by customers and a total of 440,000 FOS trips have been taken when factoring in fully diverted trips on the conventional system. There are approximately 13,500 new conditional customers since January 2017. 47 bus/streetcar routes have been evaluated and approved for FOS connections (274 total transfer stops along these routes).

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Members suggested creating a standard operating procedure to assist Wheel-Trans customers when there is a subway turn back and they need to exit the train before their designated stop. Dean indicated that there are many factors to consider including the length of closure. This will be discussed at a future SPS meeting.

  • Re-Registration Update

Currently, there are 25,000 active customers who were registered for Wheel-Trans service prior to January 1, 2017 who will require re-registration. The re-registration process will not happen overnight, customers will be given ample notice, and their current eligibility status will remain intact until a full assessment is completed.

  • Access Hubs

The next three access hub locations - Jane and Eglinton Southwest and Northeast corner, as well as Victoria Park and Ellesmere - are scheduled to be completed in early fall 2019. Issues were identified with the Jane and Wilson Northeast corner locations, specifically the fact that it is located on a flood plane, and as a result this location is no longer being actively pursued. The remaining Access Hubs are scheduled to be completed in late 2019, early 2020.

  • Communications

The Access Newsletter is in process of completion for next week. CS members also reviewed the travel tip sheet and are working on feedback.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member pointed out that re-registration was brought up at the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC) to present the plans to the committee. There was a motion asking that the re registration be delayed until 2025, until all stations are accessible. Dean Milton replied that there is no issue with presenting the plan to TAAC; however, the fact remains that the new eligibility was implemented in January 2017, and Wheel-Trans will continue with the plans to begin re-registration in late 2019/early 2020.

  • Travel Training

Desrianne Mcllwrick presented an update on the Travel Training program. The second station orientation was held on Friday, July 19, 2019 at Dundas West station. Desrianne pointed out that there is construction at the station, which customers appreciated as it was a good learning experience. Customer recruitment strategies will be considered for the next station orientation to help with attendance.
 
To date, a total of 608 customers showed interest in the Travel Training program. Out of the 608 customers, 221 customers have participated (which refers to customers that have attended a travel training event such as an information session or vehicle exploration). 87 customers have completed one-on-one training, and 20 customers are ongoing (which refers to customers that have booked or are in the process of booking a one-on-one appointment). 17 customers were initially interested in travel training and then declined, and the remaining 263 customers have not yet responded back.

As per a prior request, staff shared that out of the 87 customers that have completed one-on-one training, a total of 9 customers were noted as being unsuccessful with their route.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

A member asked if it would be possible to include the travel training dates and times in the next newsletter. Desrianne stated that instead of advertising a singular event time and place, to have a more general advertisement that informs customers that Station Orientation Days are now being offered and to follow up with staff through the Travel Training program for details of the next event.

A member asked what happens to the 9 customers that were noted as being unsuccessful.

Desrianne explained that she would note the customer as unsuccessful on the execution of the route the customer selected. This does not necessarily mean that the customer would not be successful on other trips. If a customer is unsuccessful, and depending on the scenario, information would be shared with Wheel-Trans Customer Service, who then determines if the customer needs a follow up. Desrianne explained that when possible, she advises customers on how they can improve their travel skills, in order for the customer to continue to work towards their goal of being independent. For other circumstances, a conversation will be had with the customer regarding the areas of concern, with specific attention to safety. It is ultimately the customer’s decision what they do with the information or recommendations, and how they choose to travel.
 
The Chair as well as other members expressed that Desrianne should be able to have a say in eligibility and that there should be a collaboration with the Travel Training program and a customer’s Wheel-Trans eligibility status. Members stated that a travel trainer would spend more time with the customer, and have a better understanding of the customer’s abilities and challenges, than a functional assessment. Desrianne strongly confirmed that there is no correlation between travel training and a customer’s eligibility status. Staff want to encourage customers to participate in our travel training program to improve their travel skills and become more comfortable on the conventional system. Staff do not want to deter customers from this opportunity. If a customer does not agree with their current eligibility, they are able to follow up with Wheel-Trans Customer Service.

A member asked what the relationship was between Travel Training and the Appeal Panel, and how many referrals have been generated. This concern was referred to the Wheel-Trans Subcommittee for more discussion.

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

No CLP meeting was held since the last ACAT meeting.

12. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters 

A TTC Board Meeting was held on July 10, 2019.

The approved ACAT minutes of the May 30, 2019 meeting were received by the TTC Board.

Chair Mazin Aribi invited and encouraged the TTC Board members to attend the ACAT meetings.

The next Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.

13. Review of Correspondence

Nil.

14. Other / New Business

New Business

  • Emergency Buttons and Call Buttons inside Subway Trains and Stations

An article came out in media about Sherbourne station’s emergency button malfunction which left passengers without access to buttons. The CBC’s report can be viewed using this link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ttc-emergency-button-assault-1.5197633.

Members noted that the TTC is upgrading the system and that ACAT should be consulted. Last year, the Design Review Subcommittee was consulted about the new system.

  • Consistency of Minute Takers

Members requested that the TTC attempt to ensure that there is consistency with the individuals sent to take ACAT minutes.

  • ACAT Information Booth from the last Accessibility Fair

Members pointed out that very rarely is anyone looking for information about ACAT at its booth, and instead fair attendees are usually looking for information about Wheel Trans or TTC.
 
Members pointed out that the TTC pays rent for these spaces, and that it is a waste of time and money.

The Chair noted that the ACAT information and Wheel Trans booths used to be together.

Other Items

Chris Stigas wanted to apologize for the comment made during a CBC interview. He noted that the portion of the interview that was aired was cut significantly and included negative comments only, rather than positive comments that he had also made.

Members noted they wanted to push for a second elevator at Bayview station. There are around four sets of stairs and everyone rushes to use the elevator to avoid the stairs.

Members pointed out that the new Yonge and Sheppard elevator has the buttons incorrectly mounted. Instead of being at the side, they are installed at the front which makes it harder to access.

The new website updates and launch are expected in September, but the correct date will be brought back at the next meeting.

15. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, August 29, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at 7th Floor Boardroom, 1900 Yonge Street.

16. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 3:32 p.m.

Elaine Genest
Recording Secretary

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