Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Bobbi Moore, Chair
A CS virtual meeting via Webex was held on July 2, 2020.
CS members discussed the outstanding items:
- Interchange station announcements on subways – Milly Bernal, Customer Communications Specialist will provide an update at the next meeting.
- Wheel-Trans stops at subway stations – Staff reported updates have been changed on the Wheel-Trans self-booking site which is live as of July 2, 2020.
- Family of Services bus stop pole symbols – There will be an update in late fall 2020. All 16 Access Hubs are to be completed by end of summer 2020
- Easier Access station accessibility upgrades remain a priority and short closures are being explored to speed up station accessibility upgrades.
- Station accessibility and description information is not being updated on the TTC website because communications staff are extremely busy with COVID-19.
ACAT Feedback/Questions on COVID-19 – Responses from TTC Staff:
- Temporary “drop-off only” mode is no longer in effect.
- As of July 2, 2020, front and rear-door boarding started and the mandatory mask policy is in effect. Efforts are being made to advise the public of possible exemptions.
Mask Exemption Cards/Buttons:
- CS members had seen the artwork for the mask exemption cards and buttons. The cards were now available and the buttons would be available shortly. Ways to distribute these are still being considered.
- Hand sanitizer is available in all subway stations and will be in all WT vehicles soon.
Update on TTC Communications Campaigns:
- Staff advised that the next campaign will likely focus on helping people feel safe travelling on the TTC again. ACAT will be asked for input.
- CS members questioned physical distancing indicators for people with vision loss. Staff suggested that as ridership increases, physical distancing will become difficult, but asked if the subcommittee had any ideas.
- CS members suggested that staff contact the tactile flooring provider the TTC sometimes uses who has some information or options. Staff agreed and will follow up.
CS members requested, in order to avoid confusion when the specific shade of blue appears to be the same or very similar to the ISA blue, that TTC staff be mindful of this concern and consider how colour choices could be changed or tweaked. Members emphasized that this shade of blue be reserved for accessibility as much as possible.
The Wheel-Trans Access newsletter was also discussed.
Questions and Comments from the Committee:
A member asked how it will be determined who is allowed to get the mask exemption cards and buttons, if people have to go and formally ask for them, or if an online tool is being used. Members also asked how it is being communicated that these cards and buttons are available.
Milly Bernal, Customer Communications Specialist, advised that people can call TTC Customer Service and Wheel-Trans Customer Service to request a button or card be mailed to them. If they would like to get one sooner, they can also go to the TTC Customer Service Centre at 1900 Yonge Street which has now reopened.
Staff are not medical professionals and are not requiring proof that people need the mask exemption cards and buttons for medical reasons. They are not promoting them widely and are trust that customers are using them appropriately. Information about the mask exemption cards and buttons is available on the TTC website, including any place where masks are mentioned. A Wheel-Trans email communication was sent out to all Wheel-Trans customers with an email address. Information is also included in the upcoming Wheel-Trans Access newsletter.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Chris Stigas, Chair
A DRS virtual meeting via Webex was held on July 8, 2020.
Staff presented the Easier Access design for Museum Station, which consists of two new elevators, including an elevator from street to concourse replacing the existing southwest stairs, and a new elevator from concourse to subway platform. The existing stairs and escalator to the subway platform will also be moved south. There will be a small elevator entrance building at street level, and there will be a stop and curb ramp for Wheel-Trans.
DRS members raised a few questions and concerns including:
- Snow clearing outside of the elevator entrance building
- The possibility of a layby for Wheel-Trans vehicles and where customers could wait
- Request for a crosswalk or traffic light to permit people from the east side of Queens Park to access the elevator
- Why the second exit is not going to be accessible
- Ensuring sufficient space between the subway platform edge and the relocated stairs and escalator
Staff will take back these concerns. They advised that accessibility of the second exit is outside of the scope of the current project, but will be considered as part of the Easier Access 4 study.
A DRS virtual meeting via Webex was also held on July 20, 2020. The report on this meeting was deferred until the next ACAT meeting.
The next DRS meeting is on Tuesday, August 18, 2020.
Questions and Comments from the Committee:
A member raised that they wanted to include the issue of adding accessible washrooms to any new station being built or major station retrofit. The current standards would need to be changed because they appear to indicate only terminal and interchange stations have washrooms.
Staff advised that the plan is to add new washrooms at any new station; however, the TTC is no longer building new stations, as this has become the purview of Metrolinx. Staff have taken note of ACAT’s request for washrooms as part of ACAT’s feedback on the Islington Station Redevelopment and Easier Access: Preliminary Design Overview at the July 22, 2020 DRS meeting.
A member suggested that Victoria Park Station, where a staff washroom was made accessible, might offer a precedent for a creative solution to this issue. However, staff noted that while this washroom is accessible, it is not a public washroom.
A member stressed that ACAT should not rely on TTC staff to bring these issues forward and should take them to the TTC Board in the form of a motion. It was noted that, at the July 22, 2020 DRS meeting, the subcommittee suggested bringing a draft motion to its next meeting scheduled for August 18, 2020. If passed, this motion would then be reported at the ACAT meeting on August 27, 2020.
Committee members suggested that this motion could be a way to try to address a number of items:
- New stations being built, probably by Metrolinx, having accessible washrooms
- Changing the standards for the current Easier Access upgrades which do not adequately cover the issue of accessible washrooms
- Including a second accessible entrance at all new stations
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Anita Dressler, Chair
There were no SPS meetings since the last ACAT meeting on June 25, 2020. The next SPS meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 12, 2020.
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) - Sam Savona, Chair
A WTOS virtual meeting via Webex was held on July 10, 2020.
Cameron Penman, Manager – Customer Service, Wheel-Trans reported that the self-booking website has been reopened. Trip demands have risen, so it is important to provide the online booking option. Only occasional trips can be booked through the website. Regular/recurring trips must be vetted through Reservations. When customers book their trip using the self booking site, they are required to answer an online COVID-19 screening questionnaire to proceed to their trip. If they do not pass the questionnaire, they must contact Reservations about booking their trip. Also, advanced booking of trips has been extended from two days to seven days as it was pre-pandemic. The trip reminder/confirmation callouts have started at 7:00 p.m. rather than 5:00 p.m. as it was before.
Protective barriers will be installed on the entire Wheel-Trans fleet, with installation to begin imminently. The six-metre ProMasters will be the first vehicles to have barriers installed because it is harder to physically distance on these smaller vehicles.
Charlene Sharpe, Manager – Planning and Policy, Wheel-Trans and Loris Dametto, Program Manager – Vehicle Procurement, provided an update on the progress of the new Wheel-Trans 7 metre ProMaster bus. Staff has been meeting weekly with the vehicle vendor Creative Carriage. A progress update had been emailed to all ACAT members on July 6, 2020. The email had indicated that the pilot vehicle would be delivered in July. However, the vendor and the TTC are carrying out a series of tests and it will not be in the TTC Maintenance department’s hands until August. The Joint Health and Safety Committee will do a detailed review and the vehicle will be made ready for ACAT to take a test drive or actual trip. Staff would like the entire ACAT group who reviewed the vehicle to have the opportunity to test it.
Marco Iorfida, Wheel-Trans Scheduling and Policy Specialist, reported on the Wheel-Trans stops and landmarks. All outstanding items have been resolved. The stop at the northeast corner of Yonge and Dundas, requested by ACAT, has been approved and now has gone to Service Planning for review of the stop and signage, etc.
Travel Training is currently paused due to COVID-19.
ACAT members are going to be involved in the testing of the Wheel-Trans mobile app. Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager – Customer Service, advised that the app was not yet ready to be tested by WTOS and ACAT. An email will be sent to members when the app is ready for the test phase, likely to be led by Charlene Sharpe.
The next WTOS meeting is on Thursday, August 20, 2020.