ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, February 28, 2019
Location:7th Floor Boardroom, 1900 Yonge Street
Meeting No:340
  • 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
  • Thomas Richardson
  • Lauri Sue Robertson
  • Igor Samardzic
  • Sam Savona

Pool Members

  • Ian Payton
  • James Pyo

Regrets

  • Chris Stigas
  • Shindujan Yogaratnam

TTC Representatives

  • Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager-Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
  • Heather Brown, Manager – Customer Communications
  • Dwayne Geddes, Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Rupa Aggarwal, Manager – Diversity
  • Elizabeth Hoare, Route Supervisor, Bus Transportation  
  • Danielle Mair, Consultant -- Diversity and Human Rights Department
  • Mark Mis, Manager – Service Planning
  • Charlene Sharpe, Assistant Manager – Wheel-Trans
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans

Guests

  • Councillor Jennifer McKelvie, TTC Board Member

Copies

  • Rick Leary, Chief Executive Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Deputy CEO - Operations
  • Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, Chief Customer Officer
  • Collie Greenwood, Chief Service Officer
  • Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
  • Dan Wright, Chief Financial Officer
  • Susan Sperling, Executive Director – Corporate Communications
  • James Ross, Chief Operating Officer
  • Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Deborah Brown, Head of Customer Communications
  • TTC Board Members

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Mazin Aribi, ACAT Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:07 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

The following items were added to the agenda under New Business:

  • Winter Infrastructure
  • First-on and Last-off Announcements and Signage for Buses and Subway
  • Upload of the Subway System
  • Not-in-service Buses at Bus Platforms

On motion by Sam Savona and seconded by Anita Dressler, the agenda was approved with these additions.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair

Mazin Aribi welcomed and thanked Councillor Jennifer McKelvie, TTC Board Member, who was attending the ACAT meeting for the first time.

Councillor McKelvie thanked ACAT and its Chair for their great work. She said she looks forward to ACAT’s recommendations following its upcoming meeting with the GTA region and other municipalities. She will be meeting with the Mayor of Pickering to discuss the difficulties of crossing between municipalities on transit, such as travelling between Scarborough and Pickering. The Chair agreed to share the minutes of the previous meeting with Councillor McKelvie. She said she plans to attend the ACAT meeting again in August.

The Chair reminded everyone of the official opening of St. Patrick station as the next accessible station, to which all received an invitation. The event will be on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. on the concourse level.

The information in the December 20, 2018 ACAT meeting minutes regarding the PRESTO update on Collector Booths closing at the end of 2019 is no longer accurate. ACAT will receive an update on when this will happen.    
  
Sam Savona proposed running ACAT updates in the Wheel-Trans newsletter, with a half-page from the ACAT Chair and another half-page from the chair of a Subcommittee. The ACAT Executive has discussed the proposal and decided to handle the Wheel-Trans newsletter update in the same way that ACAT handles the meeting agenda items. The ACAT Chair will consider a combination of highlights from each Subcommittee’s report to ACAT meetings, and will email the Subcommittee chairs for their input to the Wheel-Trans newsletter, requesting two or three activities to be considered for inclusion in the Chair’s newsletter update. Sam Savona and other members endorsed this action.  

5. Review and Approval of January 31, 2019 Minutes

On motion by Lauri Sue Robertson and seconded by Bobbi Moore, the minutes of the January 31, 2019 meeting were approved.

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

  • Item: Lack of Tactile Information on Poles for Shared Bus Stops – The Communications Subcommittee report at today’s meeting contains an update on this. 
  • Item: Access to Subway Stations and Wheel-Trans Stops at Entrances – The Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee report at today’s meeting includes an update on this ongoing issue.
  • Item: Pre-Boarding Announcement on Subway Trains – An update will be part of the Design Review Subcommittee report at today’s meeting.
  • Item: Give Higher Priority to Resolving Inconsistencies with Wheel-Trans Pick Up and Drop Offs at Subway Stations in support of Family of Services – The Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee has an update on this.
  • Item: GTA Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) Joint Meeting –The next meeting is planned for Spring 2019, but no specific date is set yet. ACAT is working with TTC staff to plan and set a date for this important meeting.
  • Item: Concerns regarding Wheel Trans Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs and Cellular Communication at St. Clair West, Don Mills, & York Mills stations – The Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee has an update on this.

Sam Savona requested that an item be added back on to the Outstanding Items list, as follows:

Platform Gaps

  1. List of stations being worked on
  2. Refer to Design Review Subcommittee for recurring updates on measurements and timeline

7. Deputation

Nil.

8. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

Dwayne Geddes, Manager of Customer Service, Wheel-Trans, provided an update.

Customer Experience

Policies: Throughout 2017 and 2018, a number of customer-facing policies were implemented. Six more are coming in 2019. These are currently in draft form, reviewed with ACAT, and almost ready to be rolled out. They include the following policies: 

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

Customer Handbook: A customer handbook has been completed and approved. It is currently being printed and will hopefully be delivered to all Wheel-Trans customers in the next several weeks.

Travel Training

Fifty-one customers have completed one-on-one training and 253 customers have participated in the program overall. The TTC is awaiting the business case recommendations from Stantec consultants on how to operationalize Travel Training.

Family of Services

Trip Volume: An average of 4,500 Family of Services trips are scheduled per week. These are trips scheduled by customers to subways or shared-transfer bus stops. Twenty-five percent of that ridership is on the Community Bus. Five percent are fully diverted on to the conventional TTC. These percentages are based on customer surveys.

The target number of trips per week is 8,300, to meet the yearly target of 430,000 Family of Services trips.

The current survey underway (from January to April 2019) is to determine what modes of transit that Wheel-Trans customers are using. Thus far, the survey indicates that 14% of customers are just using the conventional TTC with no Wheel-Trans.

Route Selection: Work is continuing on ranking routes and evaluating bus/streetcar stops for use as transfer points. The target is to have an additional 11 routes as part of the Family of Services model live by March 8, 2019. An update will be provided to the Service Planning Subcommittee on March 6, 2019.

Access Hubs

Access Hubs at Humber College will be operational by March or April.

The next Access Hubs will be:

  • Neilson and Ellesmere (Southwest corner)
  • Victoria Park and Ellesmere (Southeast and Northwest corners)
  • Jane and Eglinton (Southwest and Northeast corners)

An update on Access Hubs will also be provided to the Service Planning Subcommittee on March 6, 2019.

Eligibility

An adhoc subcommittee has been established to provide input and guidance on the reclassification of the eligibility of customers registered prior to January 1, 2017. This adhoc subcommittee includes the ACAT Executive and the ACAT Subcommittee Chairs.

In addition, a Steering Committee with the TTC Legal and the Diversity and Human Rights departments has been established to provide additional guidance. A detailed project plan is being developed.

The reclassification process will start in April. “Affirmative Trip Matching”, offering a trip solution based on the customer’s abilities and not preference, will begin in the third quarter of 2019. Stantec consultants are working on a report evaluating the application and associated process, and making recommendations on a quality assurance process to ensure the application evaluation is consistent.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

Members asked TTC staff to clarify the current number of Family of Services routes. TTC staff advised that there are five, to which another 11 are being added. Members indicated they did not think this was very ambitious and that it feels like it should be moving faster. TTC staff emphasized the importance of getting it right and operating any expansions successfully. Staff stated the end goal is a fully accessible network with routes to be added annually.

There was a discussion about customers deciding exactly where they would like to make connections, and the capacity of the Family of Services mode and the door-to-door mode to accommodate these choices. The specific trip booking charts and maps available on the Wheel Trans website going forward, as the Family of Services initiative expands, were also discussed.

ACAT and TTC staff discussed various concerns about how to plan trips and connect to specific bus stops and other destinations under the current and evolving models. It was reported that Dean Milton, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, will be at the Service Planning Subcommittee meeting planned for March 6, 2019. This may be a good opportunity for a detailed conversation on the members’ questions and concerns.

The Chair concluded the discussion indicating there is still unclear information about the Family of Services, which ACAT and the TTC know, and they are trying to address the gaps in clear information and communication.

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates 

Communications Subcommittee (CS)  – Mary Burton, Chair

A CS meeting was held on February 7, 2019. Mary Burton was elected as Communications Subcommittee Chair.

Website Update

The new website was discussed. It will go live by the end of July. There is still much testing of the new website to be done and the vendor must deal with several outstanding matters. Members are still able to go on to the beta site and give feedback.

The TTC is currently targeting WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance for the website, in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

Tactile Information on Stop Poles Presentation

CS was given a quick briefing with visual aids by Harrison, Manager of Design and Wayfinding. Harrison responded to several questions regarding the addition of tactile information braille to on-street signs at key bus stops.

The current focus is on a pilot program which will assist riders who are visually impaired to indicate where they should wait for arriving buses at several key stops. The idea is to leave the stop heads in place, and make use of red frames already located on stops, and refit it into the frame. It will be mounted on top of plastic with adhesive film, which is more tamper-resistant, though a little heavier.

Harrison added that the red frames were once used for route maps and route times. Over the years, they have started to stop this out because there are now apps to assist with vehicle arrival times. Repurposing the red frames is something that is already out there, allows for flexibility in terms of content, and will add clarity at stops for users.

Debbie Gillespie reviewed the prototype and said the tactiles are a bit tight together and too close to each other. Harrison informed the group that they are regulation tactiles and are used for buttons and other uses within the TTC system. They were a bit smaller but are still within the limits. They might seem smaller due to the lack of space.

First On, Last Off Communications Plan Presentation

CS reviewed the First On, Last Off literature, including photos and text samples, with Emily Pickles, Communications Advisor. The text promotes the message that riders should allow people using mobility vehicles to enter first and exit last. The images convey this point and capture the use of ramps, with customers waiting for a vehicle and then boarding using the ramp. Emily and Heather Brown, Manager - Customer Communications, are working to make this change to be of the greatest possible benefit.

The image and text will be included on the website homepage feature. It will be highlighted through social media platforms, in employee newsletters, and in the Metro newspaper for customers. The FAQ sheet for Operators and customers will also be updated.
 
A discussion followed and it was agreed that people with all mobility issues should be considered.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

There were questions and clarification around the smaller-than-normal tactiles. Committee members advised that Braille has standard sizing and spacing that cannot be reduced. TTC staff indicated it may have been the raised text component that was smaller.

The issue of how to communicate effectively with people who are visually impaired, who have to board a streetcar in the middle of the street was raised. What are the solutions for letting them know where they need to board, so that they do not miss the vehicle standing in the wrong place? It was stated that this item should be addressed by a combination of the Service Planning Subcommittee and the Communications Subcommittee. 

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

A DRS meeting was held on February 20, 2019. Craig Nicol was elected Design Review Subcommittee Chair.

Platform Gap Update

Vertical gap work is complete at St. George Station. It is underway at Eglinton and expected to take 40 days and crews will move next to St. Clair. Once these vertical gap repairs are complete, horizontal fillers will be installed where necessary. Gap measurements are nearing completion at all other stations and will be reviewed by DRS. Funding exists for further repairs where necessary.

Metrolinx Letter re: Eglinton Crosstown LRT Elevator Control Panels

The TTC is in receipt of a letter regarding the Eglinton Crosstown LRT elevator control panel location. DRS reviewed the letter and rejects the reasons put forward about why a side wall control panel could not be used. DRS recommended that the TTC continue to pressure Metrolinx on this issue.

Finch West LRT Station Design

Metrolinx and Mosaic Transit presented several additional options for the sloped connection between the Finch West LRT and subway stations. DRS reviewed the options and recommended one providing a 1 in 25 gradient, suggesting some adjustments to alignment and entrance doors.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

The selected option used a counter-clockwise travel path. DRS suggested clockwise to better merge passenger flows with users of the stairs.

At the lower vestibule, DRS suggested adjusting the door location to better align with the entry/exit from the sloped walkway.

It was suggested that doors be held open magnetically only to be released in the event of a fire alarm.

Bloor-Yonge Priority Boarding

Ellen Stassen, Head of Stations, and Brian McGuire, Duty Station Manager, discussed a new concept to provide priority boarding for people with disabilities during morning rush hours. The pilot program will be on the southbound platform at the last car by the elevator, including a dedicated accessible boarding zone. Staff on hand will control passenger flow with stanchions and assist with accessible boarding. DRS suggested that education for all users will be required.

Other Items/New Business

It was reported that the pre-boarding announcements on subway lines will be activated in the third quarter of 2019.

It was reported that the third party elevator at St. Patrick station will be retrofitted with a side wall control panel.

The next DRS meeting will be held on March 6, 2019.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

The specific subway station platforms where the vertical gap work is being done were clarified. They are St. George – southbound; Eglinton – southbound and northbound; and St. Clair – southbound and northbound. Plus, it was thought, horizontal platform filler at Eglinton. The Chair encouraged ACAT members to visit the finished projects, try them going on and off, and provide feedback, as he recently did at the Eglinton southbound platform.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS)

The Service Planning Subcommittee is planning to meet on March 6, 2019. SPS is seeking interest from anyone who would like to present themselves to be its Chair.

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

A WTOS meeting was held on February 14, 2019. Sam Savona was acclaimed WTOS chair.

Dean Milton, Manager, Strategic Initiatives, gave an update on the Family of Services initiative. He gave an overview of how routes are picked and stops are determined. He showed WTOS a possible decal which will be on bus poles to indicate a Family of Services stop. It was suggested that the development of this decal be forwarded on to the Communications Subcommittee.

Dean Milton presented a report on the reclassification of customers from pre-2017 and the new eligibility criteria. There are 25,746 original customers; 66% of those are 70 years or older. It was determined the best way to assist staff in developing ways to communicate with customers on why and how this process will be happening is to form an adhoc committee.

Charlene Sharpe, Assistant Manager – Wheel-Trans, gave a report on Wheel-Trans Stops and Landmarks. This is to clearly identify Wheel-Trans pick-up/drop-off spots at common places such as subway stations, malls, etc. This will be a long process due to the numerous places with multiple addresses.

WTOS also discussed ways for customers to communicate with Wheel-Trans when their ride is late, in subway stations where the pick-up spot is below ground and a cell phone signal is not available. A recommendation was that the Customer Service Agents who are assigned to such stations be instructed to frequently visit these areas, and if they see someone waiting, offer to assist if the person needs to contact Wheel-Trans. Also, all Wheel-Trans contracted accessible taxis are able to enter stations. Ambulatory customers will be booked on accessible taxis only, when being dropped off or picked up at accessible subway stations.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

When members expressed concern about possible duplication in classifying and marking stops as accessible, TTC staff clarified that the purpose of the bus pole decal mentioned in the report was primarily a place to put a no-show tag, if needed.

Further questions were asked about the specific nature of this no-show tag approach, and it was reported that it was going to be considered and reviewed further by the Communications Subcommittee. It was noted that this conversation again highlights ongoing questions and concerns around effective communication and trip-planning as the system evolves and changes. 

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

CS

  • Website Update
  • Tactile Information on Stop Poles Presentation
  • First On, Last Off Communications Plan Presentation

DRS

  • Plattform GAP repairs and rest of system GAP measurements
  • ECLRT elevator side wall control panel
  • Finch West sloped walkway connection LRT to Subway
  • Bloor-Yonge pilot for priority boarding

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

There have been no CLP meetings yet.

12. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters 

A TTC Board Meeting was held on February 27, 2019 at City Hall.

The approved ACAT meeting minutes for December 20, 2018 were received by the Board. Mazin Aribi provided various highlights from this ACAT meeting. He once again requested that the TTC Board exercise its authority to encourage Metrolinx management to approve the changes that ACAT requested regarding the control panel location for flow-through elevators to be moved to the side wall for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.  

Commissioner Shelley Carroll followed up with a question asking if there is anything the Board should be doing, such as sending an urgent letter to Metrolinx. Susan Reed Tanaka, TTC Chief Capital Officer – Engineering, Construction and Expansion Group, replied that, keeping in mind that this is a Metrolinx project, and not a TTC project, and that she and TTC staff had weekly meetings with Metrolinx, she believes that Metrolinx now understands that this is an accessibility issue. She and other TTC staff will continue to follow up on this matter. 

Commissioner Shelley Carroll asked if Metrolinx is using ACAT expertise and consulting them on big projects. Mazin Aribi replied that, while Metrolinx has its own Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) with an ACAT member on it acting as a liaison between the two parties, Metrolinx has consulted with ACAT through the ACAT Design Review Subcommittee on two projects – the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and the Finch West LRT.

Once again, Mazin Aribi invited and encouraged the Commissioners to attend ACAT meetings. One Commissioner attended the ACAT meeting today.

ACAT members are encouraged to review the TTC Board agenda, reports, and presentations made at the Board meeting. For the TTC Board meeting on February 27, 2019, the link is here:
https://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Commission_reports_and_information/Commission_meetings/2019/February_27/Agenda/index.jsp

You may also access the recorded video of the whole meeting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFu8D_p3Pcg

The next TTC Board meeting will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at City Hall.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

A comment was made that, at the February 27, 2019 TTC Board Meeting, a lot of time was spent discussing fare evasion issues, the loss of revenue, and the Auditor General’s report. It was a very interesting discussion and members are encouraged to watch the video.  

13. Review of Correspondence

Nil.

14. Other / New Business

Winter Infrastructure

Members raised concerns about a lack of effective and timely snow clearing impeding their access to using the TTC.

A specific example is the platform on King Street, where one gets on the streetcar, not being cleared of snow, so that the ramp cannot come out from the streetcar. It was asked and clarified who is accountable for clearing this platform – the City of Toronto or the TTC. The answer in this case was thought to be the TTC.

Committee members gave another specific example of a lack of adequate snow clearance right in front of the TTC building coming to this meeting. Across the city, curbs at intersections do not have their snow cleared and it is a massive accessibility issue, days and even weeks after snow fall. Often, it appears that a lack of coordination, or blind spot, between the City of Toronto and the TTC sees City plows driving snow into stops that TTC staff have carefully shovelled out.

Committee members questioned whether or not the TTC is accessible if the infrastructure is not accessible. Sharing a recent experience he had travelling by streetcar downtown, the Chair underlined that this is a problem and ACAT is frustrated. The item was referred to the Service Planning Subcommittee. City of Toronto staff are coming to the next Service Planning Subcommittee on the bike lanes issue. This item could be incorporated into that and/or City staff could be invited again to address this.

It will also be raised at the upcoming ACAT Executive Quarterly meeting with the TTC Chair and TTC CEO on March 5, 2019.

First-On and Last-Off Announcements and Signage for Buses and Subways

A question was raised about the status of signage and communication at bus platforms and subway stations advising that if someone is waiting with a mobility device, they should be allowed to go on first. TTC staff advised that they are rolling this out in the next couple of weeks, using feedback provided by the Communications Subcommittee at their February 7, 2019 meeting. It will include posters, announcements on subways, and on the TV screens.

Upload of the Subway System

Members stated how important it is for discussions between the Province and the City of Toronto, about a possible upload of the subway system, to include accessibility issues in a substantial and effective way from the start.

Critical concerns include the commitment to make all subway stations accessible by 2025, curb ramp installation at subway systems for Wheel-Trans boarding, the role of ACAT, and the ongoing consultation and working relationship on accessibility issues that has been established with the TTC.

Members shared their concerns and views on how to most effectively influence the TTC, the City of Toronto, and the Province to protect and promote accessibility in any possible subway upload. The ACAT Executive has added this item to the upcoming ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with the TTC Chair and TTC CEO on March 5, 2019. It was agreed that ACAT would start with this.

Not-In-Service Buses at Bus Platforms

A recent issue of not-in-service buses blocking bus-boarding platforms, but not taking on passengers, was raised. TTC staff advised that the implementation of the new Vision system for bus service may be a factor in this, depending on how early the buses are getting to the station, their route, and departure time. They may be waiting for further instructions. Additionally, a lot of buses are being added for service reliability which may be adding to this issue.

It was agreed that not-in-service buses should not block the boarding platform, but that at some stations, such as Davisville, there is much less space than others.

TTC staff committed to take the issue back to TTC Bus Transportation to see how there can be an improvement.  

15. Next Meeting

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, March 28, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom. 

16. Adjournment

On a motion by Anita Dressler, the meeting was adjourned at 3:11 p.m.

Stephanie Power
Recording Secretary

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