ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, November 28, 2019
Start Time:1:00 p.m.
Location:
7th Floor Boardroom 1900 Yonge Street
Meeting No:349
  • 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
  • Sam Savona
  • Chris Stigas

ACAT Pool Member

  • Ian Payton

Regrets

  • Thomas Richardson
  • Igor Samardzic

TTC Representatives

  • John Beynon , Chief Instructor, OTC
  • Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications
  • Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Elizabeth Hoare, Assistant Manager, Wilson – Bus Transportation
  • Daniela Jimenez, Consultant – Diversity and Human Rights
  • Lilian Kim, Communications Advisor
  • Desrianne McIlwrick, Wheel-Trans Travel Trainer
  • Mark Mis, Manager – Service Planning
  • Dean Milton, Manager – Strategic Initiatives
  • Cameron Penman, Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans

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
  • 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

Chair Mazin Aribi 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

On a motion by Margo Brodie and seconded by Anita Dressler, the agenda was approved, with an additional item under New Business – the need for ACAT to see the vehicles that the TTC will operate on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair

On November 1, the Chair attended the last Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC) for the year. A presentation was given by Wheel-Trans staff titled “TTC Wheel-Trans Update on Appeal Process and Service Enhancements” followed by questions and comments from the members.

At the end, a motion was moved by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. The motion reads:

That Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee recommends to the Executive Committee that:

  1. City Council request the Toronto Transit Commission Board to request Toronto Transit Commission Wheel-Trans staff to meet with parents, grandparents and caregivers of infants and children as soon as possible to streamline the process of bringing strollers on to Wheel-Trans vehicles to ensure accessible and consistent services across the system, and to provide an update to the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee in the first quarter of 2020.

The next TAAC meeting will be on Monday, February 3, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.

On November 19, there was a training session for ACAT members interested in being on the TTC Wheel-Trans Eligibility Appeal Panel. There will be a second session in January for all 2020 ACAT members who did not attend the first session, including the new members starting their terms in 2020.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Concern about ACAT and TAAC overlap/possible differing recommendations:

A member expressed concern about a possible conflict between the recommendations of ACAT and TAAC, and questioned the procedure if that occurred. He suggested that if TAAC wanted to make recommendations on TTC-related issues that they forward these to ACAT, and that if ACAT had recommendations related to non TTC related issues that these go to TAAC. 

Another member sought clarity on the possible overlap in the Terms of Reference and jurisdictions of TAAC and ACAT, and asked whose recommendations had more authority.

The Chair indicated that each advisory committee has its own mandate, Terms of Reference, and body to which it reports. He emphasized the good relationship between TAAC and ACAT, with the exchange of agendas and minutes, and invitations to make deputations as needed. If the advice from the committees on TTC-related issues differed, it would be up to the TTC to act, with the expectation that TTC staff would consult ACAT before going to the TTC Board.

Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans, advised that there had not yet been a situation where the TTC had to refer to one advisory committee over the other. Wheel-Trans welcomes and values all input. The TTC typically consults ACAT on issues, and on Wheel-Trans items the discussion continues in particular with the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee. That is where the final say generally comes from. 

A member advised that she had watched the most recent TAAC meeting online. She felt that a number of transit-related issues were discussed that ACAT had worked on and about which it had made recommendations. However, there seemed to be no awareness, knowledge or acknowledgement of the work that ACAT had already done or the improvements that had already been made, for example on subway platform gaps. Issues seemed to be raised and recommendations made as though they were new. On this point, the Chair indicated that TAAC could read ACAT minutes and accept invitations to attend meetings to find out more about what ACAT is doing.

Specifically on the issue of strollers on transit vehicles, a member said that it felt like some of the same issues were being repeated. The Chair clarified that the TTC had been requested to meet with stakeholders including parents, grandparents and caregivers. The TTC was taking action and a date had been set for this.

Another member suggested that parents make a deputation to ACAT rather than TAAC about the strollers on transit question. There was concern that the process that had been initiated may become complex, and that ACAT’s perspective might be sidelined.   

A member suggested that no accessible transit item go to City Council without ACAT looking at it first. The Chair acknowledged the point, but indicated that the procedure is that TAAC can make any motion to Council. Council would then filter the item down to the TTC Board which works with ACAT. The Chair said he would like to believe that ACAT has the last say on accessible transit. It has many years of experience and expertise. It is valued and its work is respected by the TTC Board. 

In response to member concerns, Dwayne Geddes advised that he had presented at the most recent TAAC meeting. A lot of what he says references ACAT and he suggests that people come to ACAT meetings, though he runs the risk of repeating himself by continually passing this same message at a given event.

Dwayne advised that Wheel-Trans will look at any TAAC motions, which also means they will bring it to ACAT and the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee. In the case of the strollers item, they could not identify and locate the grandparents group that was mentioned. So, they have called an open forum for January. Then, they will bring the issue back to the ACAT    Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.

A member asked about upcoming dates for training of ACAT members interested in being on the TTC Wheel-Trans Eligibility Appeal Panel. The Chair indicated that it would be in 2020, probably in January, and that TTC staff would advise on this.

5. Review and Approval of October 31, 2019 Minutes

On a motion by Lauri Sue Robertson and seconded by Anita Dressler, the minutes of the October 31, 2019 meeting were approved with the following changes:

  • On page 6, in the Design Review Subcommittee report, under October 18, 2019 meeting, Finch West Alstom Vehicle section, Questions and Comments from the Subcommittee, paragraph two: The term “club seating” had been changed to “face-to-face” seating in an attempt to explain the concept. It was requested that the term be changed back to “club seating” for clarity, as it is a specific, recognized term in the rail industry.
  • On page 14, under Other / New Business, paragraph one, last sentence, “ACAT expressed the importance of seeing all extensions individually.”: It was requested that this be changed to “all stations individually.”

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

Danforth Avenue Complete Street and Planning Study:

There was an invitation from a City Councillor to take part in a community meeting on the Danforth Avenue Complete Street and Planning Study. ACAT Member Igor Samardzic attended the meeting on November 7 and has submitted a report on it.

Of interest to ACAT is that the complete street study will examine the roadway width, and review options for potential on-street protected bike lanes. The area intersects with nine TTC subway stations (six are accessible) and streetcar Routes 504 King, 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton. There are also 23 bus routes and two community bus routes that currently run through this corridor.

Igor reported that accessibility did not appear to be prioritized at the meeting. As is often the case, it seemed to be lumped in with the complete street guidelines, and it may simply be assumed that the project will be accessible.

He recommended that ACAT and the City work together to prioritize accessibility in the project, particularly as this is a major TTC corridor with almost every transit mode intersecting with the study area. He suggested that the City present to ACAT a number of times throughout the process or that ACAT provide a designated representative to the study’s stakeholder advisory group. The Chair indicated that perhaps Igor could represent ACAT in the advisory group.   

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

The Committee expressed its interest in inviting the City of Toronto project lead for this study to present and discuss on its transit-related issues at one of ACAT’s monthly meetings in early 2020.

Mark Mis, Manager – Service Planning was asked to handle the invitation and to find out the study’s timeline for receiving input and finalizing recommendations.

Members suggested they might refer any substantive transit-related issues arising from the presentation to the ACAT Design Review Subcommittee. Other non-transit issues in the study might be referred to the Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Outstanding Items:

  • Lack of tactile Information on stop poles for shared bus stops -- Completed –

Update at last meeting.

  • Review of the impact of curb-side bike lanes on Wheel-Trans customers and operators in accessing certain pick-up / drop-off locations – Ongoing – Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager, Customer Service at Wheel-Trans has invited someone to the next Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee meeting to talk about this.
  • Pre-boarding announcements on subway trains – Completed – There is a problem with speaker vibration in the announcements on Line 2. ACAT drew it to the attention of the TTC and a fix has been tested successfully on one train, with the insertion of spacers between the speakers and grill. This will be implemented on all Line 2 trains. A problem with the volume of announcements in some stations was noted as a separate issue.
  • Give higher priority to resolving inconsistencies with Wheel-Trans pick-ups and drop-offs at subway stations in support of Family of Services – Ongoing – There will be an update on this in the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee report.
  • GTHA Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) Joint Meeting -- Ongoing
  • Subway platform (vertical and horizontal) gap – a) Vertical gap repairs being worked on at five platforms; upon completion horizontal fillers where necessary; and b) Gap measurements to be completed and then reviewed by the Design Review Subcommittee to determine next steps. – Ongoing – There will be an update on this in the Design Review Subcommittee report.
  • Motion – Need for dual elevators at Finch West Interchange Station to the LRT platform level – Ongoing
  • Motion – TTC second elevator at subway – LRT interchange stations – Ongoing
  • TTC service on Kilgour Road (deputation from Meenu Sikand and Dennise Carrasco) – Ongoing – This has been referred to the Service Planning Subcommittee based on the deputation at the October 31 ACAT General Monthly Meeting

7. Deputations

Nil.

8. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Mary Burton, Chair:

The Communications Subcommittee met once this month, on November 7.  A report of this meeting will be shared at the next ACAT General Meeting.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair:

During November DRS had one meeting, on November 6.

Easier Access Phase 3 update: Steve Stewart presented revised designs for Greenwood, Glencairn and High Park stations. The revisions came in response to DRS comments on original design proposals.

  • Greenwood Station: The westbound elevator E2 was relocated to provide lobby space at the concourse, and the corridor at platform level was widened for increased waiting and passing space. The subcommittee made additional comments re: street-level corridor configuration and the bike parking area.
  • Glencairn Station: Elevator E2 from concourse to platform was relocated to improve corridor space at concourse and increase safety and waiting area space at platform level.
  • High Park Station: The entire station design was revised resulting in two forward motion elevators directly from street level, one to each side platform. The Quebec Avenue entrance was revised moving the ramp indoors and enclosing the new elevators. DRS considered this a much superior design that provided safer access at platform level and ensures that the station can still be accessible even if one elevator is out of service.

Entrance Connection Policies: DRS raised this in response to recent third-party elevator connections that are not up to TTC standards. A discussion ensued regarding developer responsibility and the ability of TTC staff to enforce standards for these connections.  Members believe that TTC design standards need to be used by developers in terms of accessibility. However, this is a departure from the TTC policy as it stands. It was noted that corporate policy on connections would have to be reviewed and go to the TTC Board for approval. DRS requested that all third-party entrance designs be presented to DRS. For the full discussion, see the DRS minutes.

Note the issue of a motion to the Board was mentioned and is expected to be further discussed at the December DRS meeting.

The gap update: Matt Hagg reported that platform edge upgrades at Eglinton Station are complete, including rubber gap fillers along the northbound platform, and that St Clair Station platform edge tile upgrades are expected to be completed in November, with the rubber gap fillers to follow. Finch is the next station in the project.

Subcommittee comments: In previous discussion, it was stated that platform structural remedial work would be required at Davisville and Rosedale before gap issues could be resolved. While DRS understands this, the subcommittee pointed out that such work has already been done for the southbound Davisville platform and that for this priority one station, the southbound platform should move up in the work schedule.

Correspondence re: York University Station: DRS reviewed correspondence received by ACAT with respect to subway station design and provided feedback for a response to the correspondent.

Public Forum comments: DRS received the comments related to design. No discussion took place. Proposed responses will be reviewed at the December meeting.

The next Design Review Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 4.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Anita Dressler, Chair:

A Service Planning Subcommittee meeting was held on November 6.

There were nine members of TTC staff who presented and discussed issues.

There was a follow-up discussion regarding emergency closures on the subway system. Janet Weller, Group Station Manager and Ellen Stassen, Head of Stations discussed the policy in place to evacuate persons with disabilities.

The protocol is as follows:

  • Announcements will be made for anyone needing assistance. Site staff and the train crew will assist in the evacuation, and in some cases will ask other passengers to help.
  • The ticker tape display panels will advise riders on the situation and what steps to take to evacuate.
  • In the event of a full offload, the operator will walk through the train to ensure that all passengers have disembarked from the train.
  • Staff will go to the station platform to ensure that all platforms are clear. If not they will assist any passengers stranded to exit the station.
  • Announcements will be made before the station being closed, in order that those needing accessible stations will be accommodated, if possible.
  • In some cases, passengers with disabilities will remain on the train until they reach the turnabout station for easier accessibility and disembarking from the train.
    Members were concerned that, with the implementation of Family of Services, there will be additional travellers with disabilities and how they would be accommodated in cases of emergency offloads of trains.

Discussion ensued regarding the designated waiting areas and the passenger assist intercom.  There will be raised tactile on intercom buttons and calls will go directly to dispatch.

Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications and Ellen Stassen spoke about the PRESTO advertising campaign. Tickets and tokens will cease to be sold at the end of November, but third-party retailers can sell their remaining supply after that date.

PRESTO cards will be given to social services, including ODSP and Ontario Works. From December 1 to January 4, collectors will remain in the booth, then will be placed at the crash gate fare boxes site.

Information will be disbursed in a variety of languages to inform all passengers of the change to PRESTO.

Stephanie Simard, Senior Planner – System and Policy and Sierra Buehler, System Planner spoke about the five-year system plan and the 10-year outlook. A 20-point action plan was presented. Yearly consultations will be done on the plan.

There are five pillars of opportunity:

  • Pillar 1
    • Enhancing the travel network, to accommodate the growth and new services implemented
    • Changes to community buses for service to new destinations to meet service standards
    • Other changes, extension of the 339 overnight Finch and a new route along Wilson Avenue, 119 Torbarrie and 167 Pharmacy North will receive extra service.
    • Express buses for Eglinton, Kennedy and Warden are in the planning stage.
    • A Scarborough East area study will be done before 2021.
    • Other initiatives include:
       Opening Line 5 Eglinton
       Removing peak crowding on Line 1
       Opening Line 6 Finch
       Enhancing streetcar routes 501 and 504
       An equity lens for transit service planning
  • Pillar 2
    • Enhancing customer service – Including heated shelters, enlarged maps, etc.
  • Pillar 3
    • Improvement to service reliability
  • Pillar 4
    • Prioritizing surface transit
  • Pillar 5
    • Accelerating integration of services

The next Service Planning Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 4.   It will include a discussion on the deputation made at the October ACAT meeting regarding service on Kilgour Road and the surrounding area off of Bayview Avenue.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member asked if the discussion on turn-backs also included the withdrawal of trains from service at the end of the morning rush hour, for example, on the northbound Yonge line. SPS Chair Dressler indicated that this is a separate issue and will be discussed in more depth at the next subcommittee meeting. The ACAT Chair asked that this item also be tracked and followed-up on.

A member stated that now, with the Family of Services approach, customers are waiting outside in the wind and cold. As such, he requested that the Service Planning Subcommittee review the policy of when a bus is sitting in a bus bay and its doors are opened, but the ramp is not put down.  The member said he would like to see the ramp put down in these cases, so that customers who need it can board and are not waiting in the cold. He said the current situation can also pose a problem for people who need the ramp to get on, when all other customers have boarded first via the doors. If the ramp is not put down by the driver in all such cases, another option could be the customers’ choice to ask the customer service agent to put it down as needed.    

Another member said that a situation like the one described happens at St George Station where often operators are off/on break for seven to eight minutes. Customers with mobility devices and anyone else requiring the ramp cannot board, but anyone else can. She said it would be nice to leave the bus in a position at stations where customers who need the ramp can board. SPS Chair Dressler said the subcommittee would bring this item forward at their next meeting.

The ACAT Chair commented that this issue has been raised before. It is considered a safety issue. There is concern that no one trips over the ramp, and a perspective that no one should deploy the ramp except the driver. He supported referring the item to SPS and said he hoped TTC staff could be available to advise on the issue. 

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

On November 14, a Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee was held at the TTC Leslie Barns.

Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans, announced that there would be appeals training for all interested members of ACAT who are not retiring, to prepare them to sit on the Wheel-Trans Eligibility Appeal Panel. Training would take place on November 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 580 Commissioners Street. An email would be sent with this information. Another session will be scheduled early next year.

A member noted that they attended a recent street study meeting on the Danforth. This member noted that the accessibility component was missing, as well as knowledge of Wheel-Trans. He felt more presence from Wheel-Trans should be there.

Twain Sparks, Assistant Manager – Wheel-Trans Transportation, passed around a revised sample of the new no-show sheet for subcommittee members to review. Colour and size will be similar to the current no-show sheets. There will be no door hanger cut-out. There will also be glue at the top, so that the sheets can be put on windows or no-show boards.

Cameron Penman, Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans, gave an update on the Wheel-Trans taxi contracts which are due to be renewed. Feedback from drivers and ACAT were considering in putting together the best Request for Proposal to enhance service. Contracts will be for five years. Sedan taxi contracts will be posted next week to give bidders extra time to put together a strong bid.

The scope of work highlights were discussed, including:

  • Municipal Licensing and Standards-approved drivers and vehicles
  • Industry benchmarks
  • Improved training standards
  • Improved reporting and supervisory standards
  • Increased contractor vehicle inspection responsibilities
  • Liquidated damages, including penalties for companies
  • MDT solution – Each vehicle will have a trackable tablet
  • Clearly branded and numbered decals, including Family of Services decals
  • Standard business attire and new driver ID requirements

Training requirements were reviewed as well.

Tracy Pashutinski, Standard Operating Procedures Coordinator, Subway Transportation, gave a presentation on the subway evacuation exercise, multiple exercises throughout the year:

  • Six table-top exercises
  • Four full evacuations of the Transit Control Centre
  • One full-scale emergency exercise

A subway evacuation exercise is scheduled for January 12 from 4:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. at Finch Station.

A request for two ACAT members to participate in the testing was made, including a person who has a hearing impairment and someone who uses a mobility device. Specific details for their involvement were given.

The roles of ACAT members will not be on the train itself because of the number of stairs at that station. Finch Station will be evacuated, so staff thought it would be beneficial to have Customer Service Agents at the station to assist the person with the mobility device and to have a    Wheel-Trans vehicle meet them at the station.

Members had concerns that the mock evacuation of a person with a mobility device isn’t truly being represented, and will cause serious implications if and when an emergency evacuation is needed. TTC will organize something with Toronto Fire Services and others, to get a better understanding of their training and look into additional exercises with them.

Angela Marley gave a deputation on Wheel-Trans stops at subway stations. In 2012, she started working on descriptions of subway stations, which are now online. As descriptions were being done, she realized that it would be beneficial to add Wheel-Trans information.

She is now working with Marco Iorfida, and has identified and compiled a list of discrepancies in the information across four areas – physical stop information, information on the TTC booking site, information on reservation screens, and information on operator run sheets. She discussed the need to change addresses so that the locations are clear to both customers and drivers. When certain addresses are added by Wheel-Trans customers, the correct location is not always given. It was noted that it is critical that customers and the operators are at the same location for pick-ups.

Angela is asking the committee to review her list to ensure that all locations are correct and the information is the same everywhere.

Marco Iorfida, Scheduling and Policy Specialist, gave an update on Wheel-Trans stops at subway stations. It was noted that some of the stations have been updated, based on ACAT suggestions. Marco will review Angela Marley’s work. He noted that staff resources have also been set aside to review locations. Staff are in the process of updating those stations. The TTC website has been reviewed as well.

Marco stated that the TTC is trying to make everything one cohesive piece and have the same information across all four platforms. Much progress has been made in the last month since there has been focus on the initiative.

It was also noted that conditional trip matching and Family of Services (FOS) will not be launched until this issue has been settled.

Jaspreet Deol, Wheel-Trans Co-op Student, gave a presentation on FOS trip breakdown by customer, outlining total FOS trips taken year-to-date, total FOS customers year-to-date, and top customers with 80% of all FOS trips.

Unconditional legacy was defined as customers who had registered for Wheel-Trans before January 2017. Customer breakdown was discussed in terms of eligibility, transferability and age.

The following was noted:

  • Eligibility: Over half of the customers are categorized under legacy unconditional.
    The second largest split at 35% is for conditional customers.
  • Transferability: Ambulatory customers account for almost two thirds.
  • Age: There is an even split of around 25% for each of the following categories: 31 to 59, 60 to 69, and 70 to 79.

Out of the 298 top customers, the top 10 were pulled to dig deeper into their characteristics and FOS trips. 60% of them are legacy, the age range is pretty broad and the majority are ambulatory.

It was noted that this does not capture those who use TTC on their own, without the use of    Wheel-Trans. Many customers have multiple conditions, which is 33%, but are still taking a fair amount of FOS trips.

The next Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 13.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member raised an issue from the subcommittee that was not in the report. She said that some drivers of accessible taxis and sedans feel they are treated badly by customers. If they record details of issues on run sheets, they think these are just disposed of, and that the TTC never finds out. They do not see their dispatchers as conduits of info and sometimes feel ignored.

WTOS Chair Savona said he thinks Wheel-Trans staff are looking into this issue. The ACAT Chair expressed his hope that they do. He suggested that the upcoming contract renewal is an opportunity for improvement. He said he has also heard such comments, as well as contract drivers’ concern that, under the switch to FOS, all trips will be short and there will be less business. When writing the contract, these concerns need to be addressed.

A member said that on his last three Wheel-Trans rides in mini-vans, the bookings were too close together. He had thought at first it was a one-off, but it has happened frequently. The timing in between the bookings is not realistic and is making people late. However, the drivers are not calling the dispatchers. They are taking the rides anyway because they want the business.

The ACAT Executive echoed that this has been a constant complaint. Contractors, and the mini-van operators especially, are stressed out. The booking and scheduling situation makes them late. They expressed their hope that Wheel-Trans staff will review the situation, including any root issues with the computerized scheduling system.

A member said they had seen run sheets in which drivers had been given 10 minutes to get from Sheppard and Bathurst to Davisville. She supported having staff look into the problem, saying that it costs everyone, including the drivers and customers. In the winter months, if rides are running 30-45 minutes late, customers may be waiting outside in the cold. Customers cannot get through to the Priority Line. You get no-shows this way, because people give up.

A member asked how the schedule was set and how the computerized system calculates the mileage and distance. Other members asked about the algorithm used to book trips, which apparently calculates the time it takes to get from A to B, then adds a certain variable of time.

Cameron Penman, Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans advised that a recent update to the scheduling system appears to have caused a problem with calculating and assigning rides. They think is has to do with the map. They have been trouble-shooting daily and IT personnel are working on-site with scheduling staff. The computerized system generates the runs for the day and the dispatchers have been manually fixing the issues the system has produced. They are working to diagnose and fix the root cause.

It was agreed that staff will provide an update at the next Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee meeting, including hopefully dispatch staff who understand the situation in greater depth. The ACAT Chair requested a timeline for fixing the problem and urged that solutions be found quickly. He underlined that the situation is serious, is causing and adding stress, and will become a safety issue.

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

Subcommittee Chairs were asked to please send their meeting highlights to the ACAT Chair and the TTC’s Grace Powell, if they had not already been provided.

Design Review Subcommittee highlights:

  • Easier Access Phase 3 designs for Greenwood, Glencairn and High Park Stations
  • Accessibility requirements for third-party subway station entrances
  • The gap update and Davisville southbound

Service Planning Subcommittee highlights:

  • Policies and protocols of off-loading customers during evacuation of trains
  • Five pillars of service planned in the five-year strategic plan and 10-year outlook

10. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update/Travel Training Update

Communication Deliverables:

  • New Communications Specialist, Lilian Kim, will be assuming all communications-related responsibilities going forward.
  • Working with Graphics and Wayfinding on creating travel training ads for Wheel-Trans vehicles
  • Access Newsletter is being printed and will be mailed out in December
  • Customer Service Survey has been finalized and will be shared with customers shortly

Customer Experience:

All six customer-facing policies planned for 2019 have been reviewed by ACAT:

  • Family of Services Conditional Travel
  • Fare Policy
  • Cross-Border Travel
  • Layover and Multiple Stops
  • Do Not Leave Unattended
  • Travelling with Infants and Children

The Standard Operating Procedures for these are being fine-tuned with the goal of posting the policies by the end of 2019.

Family of Services (FOS):

Trips scheduled YTD week 46: 

  • 4,416 trips (subway/bus/streetcar) scheduled on Wheel-Trans
  • 93% trips to subway

700,941 total FOS trips (including full diversion)

Total number of approved FOS routes and stops:    

  • 42 routes
  • 273 transfer stops
  • Plus all accessible subway stations 

Eligibility:

Re-Registration Update:

  • Mandatory conditional trip matching – Q1 2020
  • Planned start date for re-registration – Q1 2020

More than 3,000 customers have voluntarily gone through re-registration. The TTC will proceed with the larger re-registration campaign in 2020 when they have worked through scheduling system challenges, and gotten other key items right such as training and communication.

Access Hubs:

Two are completed:

  1. Meadowvale and Sheppard
  2. Humber College North Campus

There are 14 remaining Access Hubs:

  1. Jane and Eglinton - SW
  2. Jane and Eglinton - NE
  3. Neilson and Ellesmere - SW    
  4. Neilson and Ellesmere - NE    
  5. Victoria Park and Ellesmere - SE    
  6. Victoria Park and Ellesmere (Parkwoods Village) - NW    
  7. Overlea and Thorncliffe - SW    
  8. Overlea and Thorncliffe - SE 
  9. Yonge and Steeles (Centrepoint Mall)  
  10. Bingham Loop  
  11. Freshmeadow and Don Mills (Steeles)  
  12. Kipling and Dixon - NW  
  13. Kipling and Dixon - SW 
  14. Long Branch  

In total, 16 Access Hubs are to be completed by March 2020.

Travel Training Highlights:

Desrianne McIlwrick, Wheel-Trans Travel Trainer, advised that a Station Orientation Day was held at Broadview Station on November 20. Fifteen customers had RSVP’d and 10 attended. They continue to see an increase in RSVP’s and attendance with each scheduled event.

The next Station Orientation Day has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 11 at St. Clair West Station, which is an indoor location.

On November 19, Desrianne met with Wheel-Trans Eligibility Appeal Panel members to discuss how best to offer travel training.

Key travel training statistics:

  • Total number of customers expressing interest: 1113
  • Number of customers having completed travel training: 376
  • Number of customers with appointments booked or in the process of booking: 31
  • Number of customers that were offered and declined: 116
  • Number of customers that have been contacted but have not accepted or declined: 590

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

The Chair asked whether the Travelling with Infants and Children policy would be finalized after the consultation meeting including parents, grandparents and caregivers scheduled for January. He reiterated a concern that when ACAT teaches customers about new policies, and then these policies change, it is cause for confusion.

Dean Milton and Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans indicated that for any Wheel-Trans policy, none are set in stone. They plan to post the policies and if there is feedback, they can adjust and update them as needed. Wheel-Trans is always open to hearing from other groups. Overall, the policy development process has involved many steps and inputs. Ongoing changes would thus likely be more minor and are less likely to include a major overhaul.

A member asked if there was any way changes to the Do Not Leave Unattended policy could be highlighted and communicated. The people it affects are the most vulnerable. Perhaps it could be highlighted on the booking site and/or a letter sent out that this important policy has changed. Dean expressed thanks for the good feedback on this item. 

A member asked if the letters informing customers that they need to re-registration had gone out yet. Dean advised that they had not. All re-registration has been voluntary at this time.

The Chair asked if there were statistics on how many trips had been made to the Access Hubs.

Dean said yes, but because mandatory trip-matching has not yet come into effect, there have not been many trips booked to the Access Hubs. However,

A member asked Desrianne McIlwrick, Wheel-Trans Travel Trainer, if additional trainers had been hired, given the increased advertisement of the Travel Training program. Desrianne confirmed that there is one travel trainer, but that she is keeping up with the demand. 

A member expressed that when they board a streetcar using their manual wheelchair, they make their way safely to a flat surface away from the door, which often results in passing the PRESTO card reader. It was asked if they could request help from the driver, or from another customer, in order to tap their PRESTO card.

Desrianne advised that streetcar operators are available to assist customers using mobility devices with boarding as well as tapping their PRESTO card when needed. A good time to ask the operator for PRESTO assistance would be during boarding.

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

No meetings of this panel have been held since the last ACAT meeting. Members questioned whether this panel is now defunct and requested clarity on this point.

12. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

The TTC Board Meeting was held on November 12 at City Hall.

The approved ACAT meeting minutes for September 26 were received by the Board.

The TTC Board approved the staff report regarding “Appointment of Members to the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT).” Staff recommendations were:

  • Approve the appointment of the five candidates Angela Marley, Debbie Gillespie, Carmen Galvan, Mahendan Sivabalasundaram and Sean Hollingsworth for a term starting on January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022.
  • Approve the appointment of the candidates Hans Winther, Anne-Marie Cole and Catherine Duchastel for a term starting on January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, to re-establish a pool to draw from, in the event a member does not accept or complete their term.
  • Approve changes to the ACAT new member recruitment process in 2020 for one year on a trial basis, as outlined in this report.
    TTC Commissioners were invited and encouraged to attend ACAT meetings.

ACAT members are also encouraged to review the TTC Board meeting agenda, reports and presentations made at the November 12 meeting by clicking on:

You may also access the recorded video of the whole meeting by clicking on:

The next TTC Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 12 at City Hall.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member asked if retiring ACAT members would receive their recognition plaques at the next TTC Board meeting. The Chair advised that they would and asked them to please attend.     The meeting start time is usually 1 p.m., but the Chair said he would advise if it is different. Members agreed to contact ACAT member Thomas Richardson and his family about arrangements for them to attend and to ensure Thomas’ plaque is received, with Lauri Sue Robertson to follow-up.

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

The Quarterly Meeting was held on November 26, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at City Hall. It was attended by TTC Vice-Chair Alan Heisey; Rachel Van Fraassen, Chief of Staff to TTC Chair Jaye Robinson; TTC CEO Rick Leary; Orest Kobylansky, TTC Executive Director of Operations; Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans; and the ACAT Executive.

These items were discussed:

  • Requirements for third-party entrances to TTC stations: The ACAT Executive raised this issue at the meeting as a heads-up, and provided an overview of a draft motion that is in the works to be discussed and finalized at the December 4 ACAT Design Review Subcommittee meeting. It will be brought to the ACAT December 19 meeting for approval with the intention of presenting it at the January 2020 TTC Board meeting. TTC Vice-Chair Alan Heisey showed interest in supporting such a motion when staff recommends it to the TTC Board. 
  • Honoraria for ACAT members: The ACAT Executive briefly discussed proposals from several ACAT members, brought forward in the past year or more, for honoraria for all ACAT members. TTC staff will take this item back.
  • New business: The ACAT Executive raised the need for ACAT members to assess accessibility and safety issues for the Bombardier Flexity vehicle that the TTC will operate on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. Staff will make this arrangement.

Review of Outstanding Items

  • Harmonization of accessibility features between Metrolinx LRT stations with existing TTC accessibility standards – ACAT advised that this matter will be referred to an upcoming Design Review Subcommittee meeting for review by ACAT to provide feedback. Ongoing.
  • Accessibility (Provincial) subways, elevators, AODA legislation – Staff asked for a list of what ACAT would like TTC Chair Jaye Robinson to raise to the Province. Staff is still waiting for an official list. TTC Chair Jaye Robinson has committed to stay on top of this. Ongoing.
  • Need for elevator redundancy at interchange subway station – Staff recommended that we now use the term “dual” elevators instead of redundancy. Staff have included this standard in designs moving forward. Ongoing.
  • Impact of curb-side bike lanes on Wheel-Trans customers and operators in accessing certain pick-up / drop-off locations and subway stations that do not have bus platforms – The City of Toronto has not yet provided an update as to how they have incorporated ACAT’s feedback, or not, into the On-Street Bikeway Design Guidelines. Once provided, a further update will be given. Ongoing.

The date and time of the next Quarterly Meeting is to be determined.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member indicated that having ACAT provide a list of accessibility features for Metrolinx and the Province to harmonize and change seems like a muddy and unclear way to proceed on this issue. He recommended that the TTC share its design standards with Metrolinx.

The Chair provided the background that, in the past, the TTC Vice-Chair had asked about the items and accessibility features that ACAT had been working on that could be transferred to, or shared with, Metrolinx.

A member provided insight on the process of amending the Ontario Building Code. He advised that the Code operates on a seven-year cycle and was just revamped this year. So, any changes would likely not be done tomorrow, although ACAT wants to see changes quickly and before seven years from now.

Members discussed how the Ontario Building Code and the Ontario Human Rights Code are the bare minimum required. ACAT works with the TTC to ensure that its standards go beyond these basic, minimum requirements. Thus, the TTC standards may be the best tool to share with anyone building close to the subway.

The ACAT Chair said they understand that some developers have been easier to work with and some are more challenging. ACAT is willing to meet with new developers and architects building close to the subway to provide input and convince them on accessibility issues. They are welcome to come to ACAT and the Design Review Subcommittee to hear first-hand from customers about items that may not have been clear to them previously.

Members discussed the need for “enhancements” to the Ontario Building Code and the TTC design standards, including conversations held with the TTC Chief Architect on these issues.  

Referring to his lived experience, a member highlighted the problem with referring to accessibility features that either make it possible for people to use the public transit system or not as “enhancements”, suggesting perhaps “best practice” or “gold standard” as possible language. 

14. Review of Correspondence

Nil.

15. Other / New Business

Eglinton Crosstown LRT vehicles: A member pointed out that ACAT had not seen the manufactured vehicles that the TTC will operate on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. The last time they had input was in the development stage back in 2012. Apparently there are now about a dozen of these vehicles at the TTC Mount Dennis Yard. The member suggested that ACAT start efforts with Metrolinx and the TTC to see the vehicles in their current state to determine if there are other accessibility features that should be requested. The Chair advised that this ask had been made at the November 26 ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with the TTC CEO and Chair and it was agreed that TTC staff would make these arrangements.

Station descriptions for Eglinton Crosstown line and all stations: A member suggested that ACAT would need access to the information required to prepare station descriptions for the Eglinton Crosstown line and that the request for this information be made so that they can start now. He also asked if the TTC has a budget to expand its website to include the Eglinton Crosstown line and recommended that the TTC not wait until two months before the line opens to figure out what to do on this.

A member asked for a status update on the new TTC website. ACAT had prepared updates to station descriptions and had been advised that these descriptions would not be added to the old website. They are thus currently in limbo until the new site proceeds, and are seeking a path to update the station descriptions, one way or the other, as soon as possible. Mary Burton, Chair of the Communications Subcommittee, agreed to request an update and timeline on this from Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications for the next ACAT meeting. The Chair requested that this item be added to the Outstanding Items list for tracking.

16. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, December 19, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

17. Adjournment

On a motion by Sam Savona, the meeting was adjourned at 3:33 p.m.

Stephanie Power
Recording Secretary

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