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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- That as a condition of connection to a TTC subway / LRT station an applicant be required to:
- Comply with the Ontario Building Code and CSA B651 Accessible Design for the Build Environment for new construction along any entrance route.
- 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.
- For any doors along the entrance route provide power doors.
- 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.
- 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.
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.