ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, December 19, 2019
Start Time:1:00 p.m.
Location:7th Floor Boardroom 1900 Yonge Street
Meeting No:350
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes

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

Present

  • Raymond Dell’Aera, Chair
  • Mazin Aribi, Co-Vice Chair
  • Desrianne McIlwrick, Co-Vice Chair
  • Louise Bark
  • Anita Dressler
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Angela Marley
  • Lynn McCormick
  • Marian McDonell
  • Bobbi Moore
  • Craig Nicol
  • Thomas Richardson
  • Lauri Sue Robertson

Pool Members

  • Scott McArthur
  • Angela Rebeiro
  • Igor Samardzic

Regrets

  • Mary Burton
  • Jessica Geboers

TTC Representatives

  • Rick Leary, Acting Chief Executive Officer
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner, System Accessibility
  • Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager - Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Charlene Sharpe, Business Analyst, Wheel Trans
  • Martin Wiegers, Instructor, Bus Transportation
  • Aislin O’Hara, Project Lead - Customer Service, Wheel Trans
  • Donna Harris, Customer Communications
  • Thamina Jaferi, Diversity and Human Rights

Copies

  • Rick Leary, Acting Chief Executive Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Acting Deputy CEO/Chief Customer Officer
  • Collie Greenwood, Acting Deputy Chief Service Officer
  • Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
  • Tara Bal, Chief Financial Officer
  • Brad Ross, Executive Director – Corporate Communications
  • Mike Palmer, Chief Operating Officer
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Jacqueline Darwood, Head of Strategy & Service Planning
  • Deborah Brown, Acting Head of Customer Communications
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Chair Mazin Aribi called the meeting to order at 1:03 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Remarks from Orest Kobylansky, TTC Executive Director – Operations

Orest Kobylansky, TTC Executive Director – Operations addressed the committee on behalf of TTC Chief Executive Officer, Rick Leary. He thanked committee members for the enormous effort they put into advancing the important message of making transit accessible for everyone, including a lot of behind-the-scenes work in subcommittees. He recognized the work of the ACAT Chair, participating in additional meetings, talking to TTC Commissioners, the TTC CEO and others. Kobylansky expressed confidence that returning and new ACAT members would do great as they continued to advance the work of this vital committee, noting that there is a lot to be done. He thanked everyone and wished the group Merry Christmas and happy holidays, making special note to acknowledge and thank TTC Commissioner Julie Osborne for representing the TTC Board at the meeting and showing the Board’s support for ACAT and its work.

3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

4. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Anita Dressler and seconded by Bobbi Moore, the agenda was approved, with the following draft agenda items merged into the Remarks from the ACAT Chair:

  • Acknowledge and Thank the 2019 Retiring ACAT Members
  • Presentation and Introduction of the 2020 ACAT Members and Pool Members
  • 2020 ACAT Meeting Dates for Approval

And one item added under New Business:

  • The possibility of putting ACAT monthly general meetings online going forward

5. Moment of Silence for ACAT member Tom Richardson

The committee paid tribute and observed a moment of silence for Tom Richardson, ACAT member from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019, who passed away on December 5 in Toronto after a long battle with cancer. The Chair read a tribute to Tom, written by Angela Marley, and thanked everyone who attended Tom’s funeral.

Tom Richardson Tribute:

Tom Richardson and his guide dog Rio joined ACAT in January 2017. Having just retired from his company, where he conducted CPR / First Aid instructor training throughout Ontario, Tom was enthusiastic to contribute to ACAT’s advocacy on accessible transit. Tom had vision loss and hearing loss, and extensive experience using dog guides, Rio being his fourth. He educated staff and ACAT members about the impact of his dual disabilities on his life, and on how he travelled with his guide dog on the TTC, his main source of transportation in the city.

A proud citizen of East York, on the ACAT Communications Subcommittee, Tom championed the TTC’s marketing of the 404 East York Community Bus Pilot in 2017-18. He teamed up with TTC staff to engage local seniors to get on board, including showing off the Community Bus in the East York Canada Day parade! He gave talks at seniors’ centres and residences to tell them about this new route that connects them on weekdays to the important places in their community. Given the opportunity, he shared his sense of humour, such as always travelling with a gorgeous blonde. Tom and Rio’s photo is on the front of the 404 Community Bus schedule.

In 2018, Tom chaired the Service Planning Subcommittee and was ACAT’s representative on the TTC Customer Liaison Panel. He began using Wheel-Trans and commended this service. During Tom’s journey with cancer, Wheel-Trans was a big help to him and his wife Janet, to get out and about.

Tom’s funeral was December 12 at St. Brigid’s Catholic Church in East York. Tom leaves his wife Janet, their daughter Laura and her husband Paul, their son Rob, and four grandchildren. Rio has a new home, chosen by Tom, with a family member. 

6. Remarks from ACAT Chair

ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi welcomed TTC Commissioner Julie Osborne to the meeting and emphasized how much the committee appreciated her presence and ongoing support. 

On behalf of all ACAT members, he thanked the retiring committee members, including their former colleague Thomas Richardson, as well as Mary Burton, Craig Nicol, Angela Rebeiro, Lauri Sue Robertson and ACAT pool member Ian Payton. The Chair noted they had all participated in ACAT meetings and peripheral activities with enthusiasm and energy in the years they were members.

The Chair welcomed and introduced five new ACAT members for a three-year term, including Carmen Galvan, Debbie Gillespie, Sean Hollingsworth, Angela Marley and Mahendan Sivabalasundaram. He also welcomed and introduced three ACAT pool members for a one-year term, including Anne-Marie Cole, Catherine Duchastel and Hans Winther.

On a motion by Bobbi Moore, and seconded by Sam Savona, the following 2020 ACAT meeting dates were approved: 

2020 ACAT Meeting Dates
1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
1 to 3:30 p.m.

(Last Thursday of every month, except for September when the meeting will be on Friday, September 25. Note: Dates subject to change.)

The Chair also reminded the group that the next Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC) meeting would be held at City Hall on Monday, February 3 at 9:30 a.m.

7. Review and Approval of November 28, 2019 Minutes

On a motion by Margo Brodie and seconded by Craig Nicol, the minutes of the November 28, 2019 meeting were approved.

8. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items

Outstanding Items:

  • Review of the impact of curb-side bike lanes on Wheel-Trans customers and operators in accessing certain pick-up / drop-off locations – Ongoing. 
  • Give higher priority to resolving inconsistencies with Wheel-Trans pick-ups and drop-offs at subway stations in support of Family of Services. There will be an update in the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee report at the January 30, 2020 ACAT meeting. – Ongoing
  • GTHA Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) Joint Meeting – Peel Region has offered to host the next meeting. Date and time are still to be confirmed. – Ongoing
  • Subway platform (vertical and horizontal) gap – Vertical gap repairs being worked on at five platforms; upon completion horizontal fillers where necessary. – Ongoing
  • Motion – Need for dual elevators at Finch West Interchange Station to the LRT platform level. Tracking progress of motion with TTC Board. – Ongoing
  • Motion – TTC second elevator at subway – LRT interchange stations. Tracking progress of motion with TTC Board. – Ongoing
  • TTC service on Kilgour Road (deputation from Meenu Sikand and Dennise Carrasco) – There will be an update in the Service Planning Subcommittee report. Ongoing
  • Update on the new TTC website and specifically in relation to the updated station description – Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications will provide an update at the January 30 ACAT meeting. – Ongoing
  • Request for a budget item to place station descriptions for the Eglinton Crosstown Line on the TTC website – Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications will provide an update at the January 30 ACAT meeting. – Ongoing

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member noted that the elevator at Royal York Station had opened, making the station accessible. They asked if this update could be made on the TTC website. Staff confirmed the elevator had unofficially opened, with an official opening expected in January 2020. Heather Brown agreed to work with staff to ensure this information was added to the website once the elevator officially opens.

9. Deputation

Nil.

10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Mary Burton, Chair:

At the last ACAT monthly general meeting on November 28, the Communications Subcommittee report had been deferred. The Communications Subcommittee did not meet in December. Below is the meeting report from November 7:

Review and update on outstanding items:

Interchange station announcements on subways are being looked into. Announcements will be loaded to one train for testing. After testing, it will be loaded to all trains.

Family of Services (FOS) vehicles: the TTC wants to create FOS stickers to put on cabs.

End to TTC tickets, tokens and passes in stations:

Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications provided an update. A stop-sell date for tickets, tokens and passes has been announced as November 30. Images of the ad campaign were reviewed. After this date, customers will have to purchase one-ride, two-ride or day-pass PRESTO tickets or a PRESTO card.

Wheel-Trans customers who travel in sedan taxis will have a period of time where they will have to pay with tokens, tickets, exact change or monthly passes on their PRESTO card until the second week of January 2020 when full PRESTO will be available in sedan taxis.

There will be a story in the Wheel-Trans Access newsletter and ads at TTC stations detailing all of this information.

Issues with PRESTO rollout:

  • It was noted that customers are reluctant to change to PRESTO, especially since the rollout hasn’t been easy in terms of reliability. To help with any issues, several strategies will be implemented. However, customers have to register for PRESTO on their own, due to privacy issues. If they are not able to go online, customers don’t have to register their card.

PRESTO card giveaway:

The TTC has purchased 400,000 PRESTO cards to give out, complimentary, to different groups.

New station model starting January 5, 2020:

Heather Brown presented on the new station model starting January 5, 2020. For the new station model, a collector’s aisle and fare-line barriers will be installed. Customers pay at the booth, then go to the adjacent gate to enter.

As of January 5, collectors will be taken out of the booths and set up at crash gates.

Fare booths:

Calls from Passenger Assistance Intercoms (PAIs) and DWAs will be sent to a hub, not the collector booths.

Plans for communicating these changes were discussed, including at stations, screen ads, print ads, social media, website, advertising, signage on collector booths and handouts.

Bulk emailing:

The TTC is close to being able to send bulk emails to Wheel-Trans customers. It will be possible to have real-time conversations with Wheel-Trans customers. It was noted that the quarterly newsletter will still go out.

First On, Last Off stickers on buses:

The committee discussed First On, Last Off stickers on buses.

The First On, Last Off campaign will run in all vehicles and subway stations, and will start after the current campaign is done in March 2020.

The TTC have access to the canned announcement system on vehicles through the VISION system so Heather will look into adding a First On, Last Off message which the operator can trigger.

New Business:

The subcommittee was asked to discuss new wording for public announcements, reminding people about the significance of priority seats on buses in particular.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member shared their concern about comments made by a TTC operator during recent recertification training that were counter to the principles of the first on, last off procedures

The Chair reiterated that the TTC has a standard procedure and training that reinforces it.

Members asked about the TTC’s plans to stop selling tokens and tickets and the timing of this, which had been scheduled for the end of November 2019. Heather Brown advised that the TTC is continuing to distribute tickets and tokens to retailers. There are concerns about gaps in the PRESTO retail third-party network. Until PRESTO addresses these gaps and has more retail locations, the TTC will continue to sell tickets and tokens. 

A member commented about the slow pace of this transition, noting that it forces the TTC to keep its collectors near the fare booth and does not free them to move around the station to provide assistance. Heather clarified that at 20 stations transitioning to the new model, collectors are not actually becoming roaming Customer Service Agents. They will be located beside the fare line.

The committee expressed its very serious concern that the current methods for a customer to register their PRESTO card are not equitable and must be reviewed. They advised that other means must be provided that do not require an email address, access to a computer, access to the Internet, and the ability to read and write. It was stated that some form of customer service desk option is required.   

Members noted that online-only registration for PRESTO is a violation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and possibly the Ontario Human Rights Code. They thus noted the possibility of claims coming forward and strongly advised this be reviewed before that happens.

Heather advised that she would raise the issue at a meeting on PRESTO scheduled for the next day and report back at the January 28 ACAT general meeting. Members expressed that the PRESTO registration system appeared to be a definite violation of the law, leaving the TTC vulnerable to human rights complaints and lawsuits. The Committee reiterated that it needed to be fixed as soon as possible. 

It was decided that before moving any motion to the TTC Board, ACAT would seek additional, comprehensive information in order to understand the exact situation more fully and accurately. The item was referred to the ACAT Communications Subcommittee for discussion and action, with a request to report back to the ACAT general meeting on February 27.

Heather Brown was also asked to research the issue and share the information with ACAT members. The item was added to ACAT’s Outstanding Items list for tracking.  

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

The Design Review Subcommittee met once in December, on December 4:

Entrance Connection Policy update:

DRS raised this in response to recent third-party elevator connections at St. Patrick and Sheppard-Yonge that are not up to TTC standards. TTC staff reviewed the TTC Entrance Connection Policy and the Development Guide. These documents say that developers need to comply with TTC standards when building connections to subway stations.

DRS remained concerned that requirements have not been implemented and agreed to bring a motion on this issue before ACAT at the December meeting.

Update on subway platform gap, Davisville Station:

Davisville Station southbound platform gap remediation was not funded in the current round of work. The subcommittee considered this undesirable as Davisville southbound is a high priority platform in the Subway Platform Gap Retrofit Program.

Discussion ensued as to substituting Davisville southbound for a lower priority platform in the current round of work. The subcommittee strongly recommended that Davisville southbound be moved up in the work schedule to replace the Eglinton West southbound platform which would now become unfunded.

Davisville northbound is part of a separate project to reconstruct platform edges at Davisville and Rosedale, and is funded under that project.

Bay Station colour contrast:

The subcommittee was asked for comment on tile patterns for a new wall in the Bay Station.

The members suggested that there be further consultation with Desrianne McIlwrick, Wheel-Trans Travel Trainer who is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, and Mary Burton, Chair of the ACAT Communications Subcommittee, who works with people with cognitive conditions.

The subcommittee did share that they did not like any of the designs. They suggested a simple design with contrast, recommending that the walls should not be the same colour as the floor.

Accessibility checklists:

This item stems from comments at the ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with the TTC CEO and TTC Board Vice Chair. Discussion concluded that a simple list would be incomplete and that the TTC design manual is the place to start.

Additionally, as Metrolinx is to be responsible for construction of four new lines or extensions, it was recommended that there be a requirement that the TTC design manual be followed.

Site visit, King Street platform:

Temporary streetcar-boarding platforms at Portland and Peter Streets, providing improved     on-street boarding for the King Street pilot area, have been constructed. A DRS member visited and commented on the platform at Portland. A number of issues were noted, mainly with snow clearing and signage. In general, the platform is a vast improvement over street-level boarding.

2019 Public Forum on Accessible Transit:

DRS reviewed proposed responses to design issues raised during the Public Forum.

Other Items / New Business:

  • Castle Frank Easier Access Phase 3 design had presented a concern regarding the exposed nature of the southbound elevator at street level. The design has been revised to include protective bollards and a planter to protect against collision from vehicles.
  • DRS members indicated that they want to have input into the Eglinton Crosstown line stop announcements. Proper text is needed to deal with far side stops so that customers know where they are alighting.

The next Design Review Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for February 5, 2020.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

The Chair read the draft motion, with the text as follows:

Motion: Accessibility Requirements for Third-Party Entrances to TTC Stations

SUBJECT: Ensuring Maximum Transit Accessibility for ALL CUSTOMERS, Including Those Using MOBILITY DEVICES.

As part of ongoing efforts to improve transit services, TTC enters into agreements with third parties to create new and accessible subway station entrances.

When new entrances are created, they need to be designed and constructed for maximum accessibility for all customers. Any design feature that may compromise accessibility will affect the attractiveness of TTC travel for all customers including those using mobility devices (i.e. wheelchairs, scooters and walkers).

There are several types of third-party entrances and each may have differing accessibility requirements.

  1. An entrance within a third-party building that employs an elevator, escalators or stairs directly connecting street level to a level within a subway / LRT station. This type may also have one or more connections between elevator lobbies and adjacent third-party spaces and may involve short connecting corridors to the subway / LRT station.
  2. An entrance within a third-party building that makes use of elevators within the building’s main elevator banks. This type would require travel within the third-party building both from street to the elevator bank and from the elevator bank to a building entry into the TTC subway / LRT station.
  3. A third-party entrance into a subway / LRT station that employs means that do not include an elevator. This type of entrance may include escalators, stairs, a ramp, or simply be a direct connection to a floor level within a third-party building.

ACAT is concerned that TTC station entrances that are less than accessible will become a barrier within the TTC’s rapid transit network.

RECOMMENDATION:
In the interest of removing physical barriers for customers with disabilities, ACAT recommends the following to the Board regarding the issue of third-party station entrances.

  1. That as a condition of connection to a TTC subway / LRT station an applicant be required to:
    1. Comply with the Ontario Building Code and CSA B651 Accessible Design for the Build Environment for new construction along any entrance route.
    2. For type a) entrances employ an elevator that in addition to complying with the Ontario Building Code also complies with TTC requirements for this type of installation.
    3. For any doors along the entrance route provide power doors.
  2. That where a subway or LRT station already has a barrier-free entrance containing an elevator complying with TTC requirements, no relief be given to a third party applying to construct an additional entrance whether or not it employs an elevator, i.e. that new entrance would still be required to comply with all items in section 1 above.
  3. That TTC staff, with the assistance of ACAT, review TTC elevator requirements to determine which accessibility features, beyond those required by code, should be contained in TTC requirements for third party-elevators.

BACKGROUND:

ACAT through the Design Review Subcommittee has encountered situations where recently constructed (St. Patrick and Sheppard-Yonge) third-party entrances to subway stations have included elevator installations that do not comply with TTC design requirements and as such do not provide equitable access for persons using mobility devices.

It is critical to accessibility that the greatest number of riders can consistently, safely and independently use the system. Elevators are installed in stations to ensure accessibility for riders with limited mobility. Elevator service that may be inconsistent due to breakdown or maintenance will in some cases prevent customers from reaching their destination by preventing entrance to subway and LRT stations. To, by design, not consider breakdown or overhaul is a violation of the very precept of accessibility upon which elevator equipment is provided in the first place. By leveraging third-party entrances to provide additional barrier-free entry to subway stations, TTC will be keeping stations accessible even in the event of breakdown or maintenance.

We also note that the TTC, as part of its mission to provide barrier-free, accessible service that is efficient, reliable and in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, is currently transforming the way customers use accessible transit services via the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy. A key component of this strategy is promoting the Family of Services concept to customers, meaning those who are able to use conventional transit modes do so, ensuring the availability of Wheel-Trans service for those who need it.

This means that an increasing number of customers with disabilities will be asked to use the mass transit system for all or part of their journey. As this places more pressure on the conventional system to accommodate customers with varying needs, it will be more important than ever that those who use mobility devices can expect to use station entry elevators consistently, especially when these stations are marked “accessible”.

Motion text ends.

A motion by Craig Nicol, and seconded by Chris Stigas, that the draft motion as amended be brought to the TTC Board at its next meeting was approved unanimously.

A member noted that this ACAT motion provides more information and background to help flush out the similar, related motion by TTC Vice Chair Alan Heisey. The two motions support each other.

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

On December 4, a Service Planning Subcommittee meeting was held:

Transit service to Kilgour Road:

Further to a deputation on transit service to Kilgour Road given at the ACAT monthly general meeting in October, discussions of the feasibility of service have ensued. The committee reviewed the possibility of providing conventional service to this locale.

Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – Accessibility shared the history and background of the issue, including previous evaluations and the diversion of other bus routes to accommodate. Future opportunities might be available due to the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown and Family of Services model. At the time of opening of the Eglinton Crosstown, this will be reviewed with a possibility of service. There were suggestions to include Lyndhurst Rehabilitation, CNIB and Sunnybrook Hospital in the routing.

Ramp deployment at bus terminals:

A lengthy discussion was entered into on the deployment of ramps at bus terminals when the driver was on a break. Suggestions included supervisors being on hand to accommodate people using mobility devices boarding during the drivers’ break time. The committee found that this option would be difficult, due to the number of buses and the number of terminals along the subway line. TTC safety policy was taken into account. Increased focus at staff training sessions on lowering the ramp or bus, and making sure that customers using wheelchairs be accommodated, was suggested.

2019 TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit – Debrief and review of TTC responses to customer comments:

The committee discussed options for locations for future forums. There was discussion on the impact of streamlining on the attendance rate of the forum. Members recommended that more hand microphones be available and staff be more observant of persons wishing to speak.
Buses arriving and leaving as per scheduled times:

The subcommittee discussed issues related to buses arriving and leaving as per scheduled times.

Location of PRESTO machines on buses:

PRESTO machines on buses are still an issue. People in wheelchairs have difficulty coming up the ramp and swiping the card due to the present location of PRESTO machines which are located too close to the top of the ramp area.

Emergency evacuation and issues raised by the December 2 subway tunnel fire:

The committee discussed the emergency evacuation and issues raised regarding the December 2 subway fire. A suggestion was made that there be talks between the TTC, Fire, Police, EMS and the City to automatically close off roads near an emergency site, such as a fire in the subway, to allow quicker response for evacuation, and TTC buses to be employed to protect passengers from extreme weather conditions.

The next meeting of the Service Planning Subcommittee is scheduled for February 5, 2020.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

A member requested that the committee return to the issue of ramp deployment at bus terminals. They noted that they did not see any movement on the issue and that nothing had changed. They pointed out that there will be more and more mobility devices on the platforms waiting and suggested the committee consider what was going on now, with people outside in bad weather while everyone else is getting on the bus.

Discussion on this matter raised many issues.

The committee agreed they need to delve further into the issue and pursue other options at the next Service Planning Subcommittee meeting. TTC staff were asked to invite TTC Bus Transportation and Training personnel to help find an agreeable option.

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

The report of the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee was deferred to the January 30, 2020 ACAT general monthly meeting.

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

Subcommittee Chairs were asked to please provide their meeting highlights for the next TTC Board Meeting, if they had not already done so. The following highlights were provided: 

Communications Subcommittee:

  • New station model
  • End of TTC tickets
  • New bulk emailing system

Design Review Subcommittee:

  • Third-party entrance accessibility
  • Request to advance Davisville southbound gap remediation
  • The need for TTC standards to be followed in construction of lines or line extensions by the Province

Service Planning Subcommittee:

  • Transit service recommendations for Kilgour Road
  • Ramp deployment at bus terminals
  • Evacuation response to fires in the subway system

12. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update 

Dean Milton, Manager – Strategic Initiatives provided a Wheel-Trans 10-Year Transformation Program Update:

Communication Deliverables:

Wheel-Trans has a new online customer relationship management email marketing tool which is ready to use. It will provide more flexibility for communicating with Wheel-Trans customers via email blasts.

A Travel Training advertisement is in the process of being printed for distribution for all Wheel-Trans vehicles. Distribution dates are yet to be confirmed, but they will be installed soon. Wheel-Trans is looking for more ways to advertise our Travel Training Program, including posters and ads.

Helpful feedback and ideas were received from Wheel-Trans information sessions and meetings with City Councillor, their staff, and Members of the TTC Board on Conditional Trip-Matching.

Wheel-Trans is hosting public consultations in January 2020 regarding travelling with infants/strollers and using Skype for the appeals process.

The annual Wheel-Trans customer service survey has gone out to customers. The information will be compiled and shared with the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee.
 
Customer Experience:

All six customer-facing policies planned for 2019, as follows, have been reviewed by ACAT, with thanks to the committee for their role in the policy development process. The goal is to have them all published by the end of 2019, and if not by early January 2020:

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

Family of Services (FOS):

Trips scheduled – Year-to-date Week 50: 

  • 4,900 trips (subway/bus/streetcar) scheduled on Wheel-Trans
  • 93% trips to subway
  • 762,000 total FOS trips (including full diversion)

Total number of approved FOS routes and stops:    

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

Access Hubs:

  • Completed:
    • Meadowvale/Sheppard
    • Humber College North Campus
  • Final 14 Access Hubs to be completed – March 2020
    • Jane/Eglinton – SW
    • Jane/Eglinton – NE
    • Neilson & Ellesmere – SW    
    • Neilson & Ellesmere – NE    
    • Victoria Park and Ellesmere – SE    
    • Victoria Park and Ellesmere (Parkwoods Village) – NW    
    • Overlea/Thorncliffe – SW    
    • Overlea/Thorncliffe – SE 
    • Yonge & Steeles (Centrepoint Mall)  
    • Bingham Loop  
    • Freshmeadow/Don Mills (Steeles)  
    • Kipling/Dixon – NW  
    • Kipling/Dixon – SW 
    • Long Branch  

Dean thanked ACAT for working closely with him and his team and for the committee’s valuable input.

Travel Training:

Desrianne McIlwrick, Wheel-Trans Travel Trainer provided an update on travel training. A Station Orientation Day was held at St. Clair West Station on December 11 with five customers in attendance

A detailed travel training update was given to Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee members on December 13th, including statistics as well as how travel training will be offered during both functional assessments and the appeal panel.
Questions and Comments from the Committee:

Members asked about the dates for the public consultations regarding travelling with infants/strollers in January 2020, which were shared as follows: 

  • Wednesday, January 15
    Two sessions – 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
    City Hall, Committee Room 3
  • Wednesday, January 22
    Two sessions – 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
    City Hall, Committee Room 3

Members asked how these consultations had been advertised, and were advised that they had been advertised on the Wheel-Trans booking site and in the Wheel-Trans newsletter.

Dean noted that what was required of them at this point was a real conversation on how infants and young children would be accommodated on Wheel-Trans.

Members recommended using Wheel-Trans’ new email blast tool to email everyone on their list about the consultations, encouraging Wheel-Trans to go the extra mile in informing people and being specific in the communication about the topic and the issues. Dean agreed this was a good idea.

Members noted the importance of communicating with agencies serving people facing transit accessibility challenges and recommended that agencies be added to the distribution list for the new email blast tool. They also recommended that agencies receive the email communication about the public consultations, if possible. 

Dean advised that agencies could receive Wheel-Trans email blasts simply by being added to the distribution list for the new communications tool. He indicated that this was something the Wheel-Trans customer service team could potentially work on in early 2020. Members discussed the possibility of doing a specific email blast to agencies. A member suggested adding a space to provide an agency’s email on the Wheel-Trans customer registration form, which is sometimes completed for customers by agency workers.

In response to a query about accommodating mobility devices and strollers it was noted that the current policy requires operators to call in situations in which a person using a mobility device cannot board a vehicle because it is full. Dean indicated that additional policies may be required moving forward.

A member requested an update on the cross-border travel study, asking if it would be possible to review the report and the recommendations to the TTC Board. Cameron Penman, Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans advised that the study would be shared with the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee in more detail, including highlights of the recommendations.

Members asked whether there were videos that could be used for travel training and if this might be valuable. Desrianne advised that travel training videos are being considered, including the potential of instructional videos that provide a general overview and a breakdown of travel modes. Members noted that videos have been produced previously, including low floor streetcars, and asked about their usability now. Desrianne indicated that the team was looking into these previous TTC productions.

13. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

TTC Board Meeting – December 12, 2019 at City Hall

The approved ACAT minutes for October 31, 2019 were received by the Board.

TTC Vice Chair Alan Heisey spoke about the passing of an ACAT member, Thomas Richardson on December 5 and called a moment of silence at the meeting in his honour.

Alan Heisey presented the retiring ACAT members with plaques and certificates indicating that they will receive a transit pass for the equivalent number of terms served, in recognition of their contribution.

Alan Heisey moved a motion with recommendations to revise the TTC’s Entrance Connections policy: 

In consultation with the Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit, to provide for consistency in accessible paths and the provision of accessible features involving all future private and public development connection agreements, including interchange stations to conform to TTC’s own design standards for accessibility in elevators.
(Motion carried)

TTC Board members received a lengthy presentation from TTC staff titled “Five-Year Service Plan & 10-Year Outlook” and made four detailed recommendations:

  • Approve the Five-Year Service Plan & 10-Year Outlook as the basis for annual service planning for 2020-2024
  • Approve 2020 services changes 
  • Direct staff to work in partnership with the General Manager of Transportation Services and the Chief Planner and report back in Q1 2020 on an implementation plan for prioritizing surface transit on the top five priority corridors as identified in Action 4.1
  • Direct staff to forward the Five-Year Service Plan & 10-Year Outlook to all City Councillors, the General Manager of Transportation Services and the Chief Planner, as well as the General Managers of MiWay, Brampton Transit, York Region Transit, Durham Region Transit and Metrolinx.

A deputant suggested to the Board that TTC elevator standards could go further by incorporating voice recognition to operate an elevator. Another suggestion from this deputant regarded having a hotline at stations that have subway closures to allow better communications and accommodations for people with disabilities using the TTC conventional service. 

ACAT Vice Chair Angela Rebeiro invited TTC Commissioners to attend the ACAT meeting and holiday luncheon on December 19 at TTC head office.

ACAT members are also encouraged to review the TTC Board meeting agenda, reports, and presentations made at the December 12, 2019 Board meeting by clicking on this link:

https://www.ttc.ca/public-meetings/board/2019/Board-Meetings-December-12

Also, you may access the recorded video of the whole meeting by clicking on this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gODc5QhuLwU

The next TTC Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 27, 2020 at City Hall.

TTC Special Board Meeting – December 16, 2019 at City Hall

TTC Board members received a lengthy presentation from TTC staff titled “2020 TTC and Wheel-Trans Operating Budgets” and made five recommendations:

  • Approve the recommended 2020 TTC Conventional Operating Budget as detailed in this report, with gross expenditures of $1.987 billion, revenues of $1.344 billion and net City funding requirement of $642.6 million, reflecting an additional $20.6 million operating funding over the 2019 budgeted level;
  • Approve the recommended 2020 Wheel-Trans Budget as detailed in this report, with gross expenditures of $156.5 million, revenues of $9.2 million and net City funding requirement of $147.3 million, reflecting an increase of $6.3 million from the 2019 budgeted level;
  • Approve a 10 cent fare increase, as described in this report and Appendix C effective March 1, 2020 generating $31.4 million in passenger revenues, net of PRESTO commissions;
  • Approve a 2020 year-end workforce complement of 16,167 positions, reflecting an increase of 142 positions to support service delivery and 74 positions for capital project delivery, as described in Appendix D; and
  • Forward this report to the City Budget Committee and the City Manager as the official 2020 Operating Budget submission for the Toronto Transit Commission.

TTC Board members received a lengthy presentation from TTC staff titled “TTC 15-Year Capital Investment Plan & 2020-2029 Capital Budget & Plan” and made these recommendations:

  • Approve the staff recommended TTC 2020-2029 Base Capital Budget & Plan of        $7.4 billion as outlined in Appendix A of this report;
  • Approve the staff recommended TTC 2020-2029 Capital Budget & Plan of $287.1 million for Transit Expansion Projects including the completion of the remaining scope for the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, SRT Life Extension Overhaul for Line 2 Subway Extension (formerly Scarborough Subway Extension) and Waterfront Transit as outlined in Appendix A of this report;
  • Direct the CEO to update the Capital Investment Plan on an annual basis based on refined cost and schedule estimates as projects progress through stage gates and to prioritize critical base capital needs in advance of the Board’s consideration of the 2021 budget process;
  • Direct the CEO to engage the City Manager to pursue a tri-party partnership between the Federal government, Provincial government and the City of Toronto for a dedicated, long-term, stable and predictable funding plan to address the TTC’s rolling stock, state-of-good-repair, capacity building, service improvements and growth needs;
  • Forward this report to the City Budget Committee and the City Manager as the official 2020-2029 Capital Budget and Plan submission for the Toronto Transit Commission.

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

The Chair raised the recommendation, made by a deputant at the December 12 TTC Board meeting, regarding a hotline at stations that have subway closures to allow better communications and accommodations for people with disabilities using the TTC conventional service. He noted that it might be an important suggestion as the TTC transitions to a Family of Services approach.

After much discussion at this time this issue was not referred to any ACAT subcommittee for further consideration.

14. Report on Customer Liaison Panel

At its last monthly general meeting, ACAT had questioned whether the Customer Liaison Panel was defunct and requested clarity on this point, as the panel had not been meeting. Mostafa Omran, Manager – Customer Experience provided an update to the committee.

Mostafa advised that over the last year, the TTC had been considering the future of the panel and have decided to transition it to an online community. He requested that ACAT participate in a one-day workshop scheduled for mid-January 2020 on the design of the new online community, which the TTC hoped to make as accessible as needed. 

Questions and Comments from the Committee:

The committee asked if the new online community initiative would require an ACAT representative going forward, beyond the mid-January design workshop. Mostafa advised that it would not.

In response to members feedback, Mostafa advised that the TTC was planning to work with a market research firm on a beta version of the new platform before taking it live.

Mostafa said the TTC would work with ACAT and the TTC’s Diversity and Human Rights Department to ensure that accessibility measures were part of the platform.

The committee requested that the TTC’s staff liaisons to ACAT (Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications; Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – Accessibility; and Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans) be included in the development of the initiative and kept informed of its progression.

15. Review of Correspondence

Nil.

16. Other / New Business

The possibility of putting ACAT monthly general meetings online going forward:

A member requested that the possibility of putting ACAT monthly general meetings online be explored and pursued. This item was referred to the ACAT Communications Subcommittee and TTC staff were asked to look into options. Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications advised that there is currently no video capability in the 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom where the meetings are held and no current plans to install it. Heather indicated that there are portable technology options that could be explored. 

17. For ACAT Members’ Information – ACAT Executive Elections and ACAT New Member Orientation

The dates for ACAT Executive Elections and ACAT New Member Orientation were shared:

  • ACAT Executive Elections – Thursday, January 16, 2020, 1 to 2 p.m., 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom
  • ACAT New Member Orientation – Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 1 to 4 p.m., 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom 

18. Next Meeting – Thursday, January 30, 2020

The next monthly general meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, January 30, 2020, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

19. ACAT Chair's Closing Remarks

ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi thanked staff and all ACAT members for working hard and accomplishing a lot. He encouraged the committee to keep up the momentum, and for new members to pick it up from those retiring, noting that there is a lot of work to do. He wished everyone a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a prosperous new year.

20. Adjournment

On a motion by Margo Brodie, the meeting was adjourned at 3:36 p.m.

Stephanie Power
Recording Secretary
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