Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Mary Burton, Chair
A CS meeting was held on August 1, 2019.
- International Symbol of Access (ISA) on Pylons Outside of TTC Subway Stations
Laura Lehming, Coordinator, Wayfinding and Signage, presented on the International Symbol of Access (ISA) and what can be done to improve their visibility. The history of the pylon is a keystone logo in front of all subway stations. The pylon initiative was to change the old ones due to them falling apart and typical wear and tear. The purpose of the symbol is so that customers can know where the subway station accessible entrance is located. During nighttime, the symbols are usually illuminated by LEDs.
The streetcar map does not currently show the ISA beside accessible streetcar routes. Subcommittee members had proposed to revise the map to show which routes are accessible. It was noted that all streetcar routes will be made accessible at the end of 2019 and that showing each streetcar route as accessible at that time would then be redundant.
It was proposed to indicate that loops like Exhibition Loop are accessible and treat them like stations. This would help with trip planning in order to know which stops are accessible.
- Design Consistency with TTC Maps
The subcommittee inquired about maps found in the subway, bus, streetcar, etc. that were inconsistent with design, installed improperly or were missing.
Laura pointed out that, if there is an inconsistency or a missing map, they should take note of the train, streetcar, or bus number to address the vehicle directly once it is reported to the shops. Laura noted that the design with maps is decided through the TTC Rail Cars and Shops. She will look into templates for maps and see if they can keep it consistent throughout all platforms.
- PA Announcements on the Subway
At an ACAT meeting, it was brought to the attention of the Subcommittee that the announcements in the subway stations have issues of repetition or are all announced one after the other. For example, if there is a closure or a delay or an announcement to stay off the tracks, sometimes all three announcements will be made one after the other. This can be exceptionally difficult for people who have vision loss and have to wait for the announcements to be made to continue walking.
Hailey Waldman is in charge of scripting the announcements, such as closures or big events, changes to PRESTO, etc. She also scripts ACAT meeting announcements, a current campaign of staying off the tracks, and other announcements that need to take priority. The announcements are then installed by the TTC technical team and then she schedules them through a system that provides limited flexibility for playback times.
An update from Heather Brown concerning PRESTO and the support person card was made. The timing was finalized and will be communicated when available. The support person PRESTO card will be made available in Fall 2019. People who want to apply for a support person PRESTO card need to apply before the TTC Stop Accepting Tickets and Tokens date, around mid-2020. More details about the support person PRESTO card details will be made available in the next coming weeks and months.
Alicia Sgromo was in the process of editing a couple of items from the newsletter and was ready to send out the first draft to the subcommittee for edits. The newsletter will not go out before the first or second week of September 2019, before the TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit.
Questions and Comments from the Committee
Members who were not present during the CS meeting were vocal about not agreeing with the current ISA placements. All members echoed that they are not content with the current ISA symbol and placements, and that they should advise the TTC Board in order to get some changes.
Members from the CS noted that these concerns and disagreements were brought up during their meeting. It was suggested that staff changes often and that priorities might change when new staff comes in.
Members suggested that the ACAT Executive take this item to the next ACAT Executive quarterly meeting.
Members who were not present during the CS meeting were also vocal about the issues regarding the PA announcements. They pointed out that people with vision loss can have a hard time trying to navigate while announcements are continuous. Members said that the announcements are too frequent and chained together, which can block one’s ability to navigate. All members echoed this issue and mentioned that this problem was brought forward at the meeting.
Members proposed that the TTC limit the amount of announcements made, rather than find a way to spread them out. Staff advised that, due to the limitations of the PA system, it was difficult spreading out announcements. Members then proposed to reduce the number of announcements, as some of the announcements help people navigate. Members who proposed limiting the number of announcements clarified that they are only asking to reduce the number of announcements about people taking off their backpacks or staying off the tracks.
Members proposed to take this discussion back to the staff in charge of the PA announcements. They also proposed to invite specific members to subcommittee meetings if they believe an agenda point will relate to their ideas. For example, if one member has a problem with announcements, they should be invited to the meeting.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair
No DRS meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting.
The next DRS meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Anita Dressler, Chair
No SPS meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting.
The next SPS meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Sam Savona, Chair
A WTOS meeting was held on July 11, 2019. Lauri Sue Robertson chaired the meeting.
- Community Engagement Unit (CEU)
The TTC’s Community Engagement Unit gave a presentation. The CEU was created to focus on Toronto communities who are using the TTC for shelters and other purposes rather than transit. The objective was to help 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.
Staff provided and update on the mobile app. The mobile app is a way to make it more convenient to book a trip on a regular basis simply by using a phone. Staff stated that, instead of having all the information at once like the desktop website, customers would have to go page
by page for the booking information. The desktop version might have some things that the mobile app cannot provide and vice versa. WTOS members were able to try out the app through their phones.
Dean Milton, Manager – Strategic Initiatives, gave a review of Wheel-Trans policies. The following policies have been vetted through the TTC Human Rights and Legal departments as well as ACAT:
- Do Not Leave Unattended
- Traveling with Infants and Children
- Cross-Boundary Travel
- Fare Payment
Members pointed out that the policy section should state that riders should ensure they are registered through Wheel-Trans Customer Service, otherwise they would not know.
A WTOS meeting was held on August 8, 2019.
Staff reported on the Travel Training Program. WTOS members had concerns that there was a gap between the appeal panel recommending the travel training in writing, and who gets in contact with the appropriate staff to set up a session. Staff reported that they get referrals from Wheel-Trans Customer Service, and follows up with the customer with additional contact details. Members suggested that the system that advises customers that they have conditional travel should also be followed up with recommendations of travel training.
WTOS is still reviewing and to provide amendment suggestions on the Wheel-Trans policies to staff.
Questions and Comments from the Committee
Members asked if there was any data analyzing the success rate of the FOS trips with individuals who have completed travel training. Members pointed out it might be helpful to have statistics of conversions rate and whether or not customers feel more comfortable using the conventional transit after a successful travel training session.
Desrianne McIlwrick noted that she receives anecdotal responses from customers by call, texts or emails. She keeps track of where the customers went for the session and how it went. The data is kept with the customers’ file. She stated that she can report back at the next meeting.
Members asked when the policies would be officially updated and posted on the TTC website under Wheel-Trans. Dean Milton said that the policies that have been vetted by ACAT, Human Rights and Legal departments and should be going live in the fall 2019. Dean pointed out that the reason there is no specific date yet is due to some procedures needing to be addressed to ensure proper operating procedures internally. Staff cannot release a policy if they are unable to enforce them.
Members suggested that, once the policies are published on the TTC website, they should be included in the Wheel-Trans self-booking site as a link for customers to access.
Members wondered if the Layover Policy was reviewed at the Communications Subcommittee meeting. Dean answered that the initial idea was to have a joint session with CS and WTOS to discuss the policy; however, no members from the CS attended.