ACAT Meeting


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, August 27, 2020
Start Time:3:30 p.m.
Location:Virtual meeting via Webex
Meeting No:356
  • 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
  • Margo Brodie
  • Anita Dressler
  • Carmen Galvan
  • Jessica Geboers
  • Debbie Gillespie
  • Sean Hollingsworth
  • Angela Marley
  • Bobbi Moore
  • James Pyo
  • Sam Savona
  • Mahendan Sivabalasundaram
  • Chris Stigas

Pool Members

  • Scott McArthur
  • Angela Rebeiro
  • Igor Samardzic

Regrets

  • Igor Samardzic, Co-Vice Chair  

     

TTC Representatives

  • Milly Bernal, Customer Communications Specialist
  • Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner - System Accessibility
  • Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager - Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Dean Milton, Manager - Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans
  • Charlene Sharpe, Manager - Planning and Policy, Wheel-Trans
  • Lema Salaymeh, Senior Community Liaison
  • Heather Brown, Manager - Corporate Communications
  • Mark Mis, Head -Service Planning & Schedules
  • Cameron Penman, Manager - Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • James Ross, Chief Operating Officer

Copies

  • Rick Leary, Chief Executive Officer
  • Kirsten Watson, Deputy CEO – Operations
  • Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, Chief Strategy and Customer Officer
  • Orest Kobylansky, Executive Director – Operations
  • Gary Downie, Chief Capital Officer
  • Josie La Vita, Chief Financial Officer
  • James Ross, Chief Operating Officer
  • Deborah Brown, Head of Marketing and Customer Experience
  • TTC Board Members 

1. Call to Order / Attendance

Chair Mazin Aribi called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Chris Stigas, seconded by Sean Hollingsworth, the agenda was approved.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair

ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi stated that the ACAT Executive provided feedback on the two motions the TTC staff put together:

  • The need for a second elevator at Finch West interchange station to the LRT platform level
  • TTC second elevator at subway LRT interchange stations. Dwayne Geddes will provide further updates later on this agenda towards the motions.

In addition, the Access Newsletter advertised that Wheel-Trans is looking for 100 volunteers to test the new Wheel-Trans mobile app set to be launched this year. The deadline for participating is September 15, 2020.

5. Review and Approval of July 30, 2020 Minutes

On a motion by Debbie Gillespie, seconded by Bobbi Moore, the minutes of the July 30, 2020 meeting were approved.

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items

  • tem: Review of the Impact of Curb-Side Bike Lanes on Wheel-Trans Customers and Operators in Accessing Certain Pick-Up / Drop-Off Locations – Ongoing.
    To be discussed at the next Service Planning Subcommittee meeting.
  • Item: GTHA Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) Joint Meeting – Ongoing.
    An update to be provided during the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update.
  • Item: Motion – Need for Dual Elevators at Finch West Interchange Station to the LRT Platform Level – Ongoing.
  • Item: Motion – TTC Second Elevator at Subway – LRT Interchange Stations – Ongoing.
  • Item: Update on the New TTC Website and Updated Station Descriptions which have been on hold – Ongoing.
    Updates will be discussed at the next WTOS meeting in September. Lodon Hassan to invite Angela Marley.
  • Item: PRESTO Card Registration and Whether it can be Activated without an email/online process – Ongoing.

Mazin Aribi reminded Staff of the TTC’s requirements that the TTC is to collect fares through PRESTO technology. Some TTC customers do not have emails in order for them to fully benefit from the use of the PRESTO features (register and setup account). TTC should advocate for equity with PRESTO on behalf of its customers.

Heather Brown mentioned this issue with PRESTO a few months ago and they were interested in exploring new options but she has not heard back since.

A member stated that it is a provincial AODA requirement since PRESTO is provincial. Heather Brown will follow up on this item with PRESTO.

7. Deputation

Nil.

8. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update

Charlene Sharpe, Manager of Planning and Policy, Wheel-Trans, provided an update on the GTHA Special Transit Working Committee which has been recently renamed to Regional Specialized Transit Working Group. This is due to other transit properties outside of the GTHA joining the committee - Simcoe County, Halton Hills, and Peterborough.

Transfer Location Features

A meeting was held on August 19, 2020 to discuss transfer location features. The Working Group is developing standards in order to have consistency across the province, with regional and GTHA transfers and ensuring requirements for each regional transfer location. This item is close to being completed.

COVID-19 Measures

Weekly meetings had been set up in order to keep consistency. New implementations in response to COVID-19 have been put in place as well as the recovery process and its timing. The goal is that customers experience consistency when transferring to different locations.
The next meeting is scheduled on October 7, 2020.

Dwayne Geddes and Charlene Sharpe gave an update on Wheel-Trans ride sharing. Wheel-Trans is working with regional groups’ solo rides. So far, two regions have started ride sharing - Durham and Hamilton. Oakville will be to be introduced to it soon.

High Number of Complaints on Wheel-Trans Trip Reservation

A Board Report will be submitted by Staff in September which will provide great news for Wheel-Trans customers regarding customer wait time for Reservations. During peak times, customers wait longer than 15 minutes on average. To help reduce wait times, contracts will be set up with third party companies to handle large volume of calls.

Wheel-Trans Mobile App

Wheel-Trans is testing a mobile app and ACAT is part of the testing group. The project is currently divided into two testing phases:

  1. First testing with ACAT members in September. ACAT Members who expressed interest will receive an official email by September 11, 2020 regarding the pilot.
  2. Further testing with other Wheel-Trans customers in October.

New 7-Metre ProMaster Vehicle

Vehicle program testing will be implemented and final inspections will be performed before the vehicle can go into service. Hopefully, ACAT will be able to review it before September 21, 2020 and provide feedback about ride comfort and other aspects on September 21, 2020.

Interchange Stations and Elevator Motions

Dwayne provided an update on the two motions.

The construction team are conducting weekly reviews and Staff are working closely with the team on making changes based on ACAT feedback. A notice of motion was made specifically to elevators when new construction occurs in a station. The notice has been reviewed and drafted by the ACAT Executive. Staff have been circulating it among Board Members. The team is hoping to have it approved at the September Board Meeting.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Mazin Aribi stated that the Regional Specialized Transit Working Group consists of individuals from the all accessible service transit providers. The GTHA Accessible Advisory Committee (GTHA AAC) consists of the executive members of GTHA Advisory Committees across the GTHA.  A GTHA AAC meeting was held a year ago. Due to COVID-19, all meetings were suspended but the group would like to have another meeting planned for October.
 
Regarding the Access Newsletter, some members mentioned that they did not receive an electronic copy. Cameron Penman confirmed that copies have been sent two weeks prior to the ACAT meeting. Sending electronic copies is not part of the procedure; but, some members expressed the desire to change the procedure so that all ACAT members and Wheel-Trans customers receive the newsletter both in print and electronically. The newsletter will also be sent to the Communications Subcommittee for review before it is printed.

Some members expressed a preference for receiving only the electronic version versus the paper copy and also shared concerns about costs for sending out paper newsletters. Other members asked about the current sending process and how customers can update their preferences.

Lodon Hassan replied that the Communications team is currently keeping an active list of customers who want to receive the electronic and/or the print version. The current way of updating preferences is by customers calling in or sending an email to Wheel-Trans Customer Service at wtcs@ttc.ca.

Regarding ride sharing, a member asked if there was a limit. Charlene Sharpe advised that the ride sharing would be scheduled with physical distancing in mind and that it will depend on the vehicle itself and would be contingent on demand. So far, there had been no complaints from customers about safety.

Regarding the Board Report, Mazin Aribi requested if ACAT members could review it before it is submitted to the TTC Board. Dwayne Geddes indicated that the report is still being finalized; therefore, it is not ready to be shared yet with ACAT. Dwayne added that the deadline is too tight for the submission and internal approval of the report.

Dwayne Geddes suggested to give an update on Wheel-Trans wait time statistics at the next WTOS meeting. WTOS Chair Sam Savona agreed with the suggestion and asked for regular updates on the three most reported complaints. WTOS members agreed to discuss the top 3 complaints at their meeting and include as an agenda item. A member commented that this used to be done in the previous years and could be reintroduced starting next month. Other issues to be discussed are the average week waiting time and peak times.

Regarding the volunteers for the mobile app testing, Charlene Sharpe stated, currently, there are 15 interested volunteers from ACAT and Wheel-Trans customers. Charlene advised ACAT members that they can submit their names to volunteer until September 15, 2020.

Members raised concerns that to become volunteers, a requirement is to have data on their phones. The Communications team explained that the mobile app can also be used where Wi Fi is available.

Mazin Aribi stated that it would be useful to tell volunteers on the TTC website about participation general requirements and expectations, such as:

  • Operating System Requirements
  • Data Plan
  • Valid Email
  • Must be a City of Toronto Resident
  • Responses to Test
  • Willing to book FOS Trips

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Bobbi Moore, Chair

A CS virtual meeting via Webex was held on August 6, 2020.

Line 2 Subway Announcements

CS members observed that Line 2 external route announcements on the trains that are heard from the subway platform are inaudible, being too loud and distorted. Milly Bernal will invite the TTC staff responsible to a CS meeting regarding this issue.

COVID-19 – Campaign

Milly Bernal reported that the campaign is geared towards helping customers feel more comfortable riding the TTC. It has been changed slightly to address the possibilities of a second wave in the fall. ACAT will be requested for feedback. There was a lot of discussion around the “be kind messaging” and its challenges.

The campaign will also provide customers clarification around other COVID-19 issues such as the mask exemption policy and having medical reasons for not wearing a mask. There are still a lot of assumptions and people might think they are just being uncooperative. There are also issues around people not wearing their masks properly, e.g. their nose uncovered.

The Communications team will be using colour in posters and is working in increasing an awareness of wearing masks. Mask exemption pins and cards are being made.

CS members asked for details on customer complaints about COVID-19 communications to-date and about accessibility in general. Staff explained that the TTC uses a comprehensive Customer Relationship Management system which contains this information, and a summary could be provided. However, the full details cannot be shared because it would likely contain personal information. Some information about accessibility complaints in general could be also shared at the Service Planning subcommittee.

ACAT Recruitment Communication Plan

CS members discussed various ways to reach more people who might be interested in becoming ACAT members.

Other Changes

A request was made to display the full subway system map on Line 2 trains and for language use to communicate Line 1 directions.

An update on the new TTC website was not done during the meeting but future updates will be given by Milly Bernal.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

There was a consensus among ACAT members in sending one mass email to Wheel-Trans customers with an active registered email address, asking them to email or mail Wheel-Trans Customer Service if they want to get a paper or an electronic copy of the ACCESS newsletter.

A member asked for an update on the new TTC website. Staff replied that no timeline was shared yet.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Chris Stigas, Chair

DRS virtual meetings via Webex were held on July 22, 2020 and August 18, 2020.

July 22, 2020 DRS Meeting

The Warden Station Redevelopment and Easier Access (EA) Program was discussed. Warden station will be one of the last stations made accessible.

The EA Program plans include:

  • A forward motion elevator to connect passenger pick up and drop off to the concourse
  • Two single-entry elevators from bus concourse to the station concourse
  • New PRESTO accessible fare gates
  • Improved signage CCTV security cameras along accessible pathway
  • The current washrooms will be upgraded to accessible washrooms
Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

DRS members asked if there is any way to re-develop the station to only be two levels instead of the current four. Staff advised that this was not likely or possible based on the number of bus routes and site elevation changes.

DRS members asked if the St. Clair to Warden entrance was barrier-free. Staff advised that it is, but that it was currently dark and there is a narrow pathway that they are looking at improving.

DRS members asked why elevators connecting the platform to concourse of the new bus terminal were not forward motion elevators. Staff stated that they would take that back to see feasibility as opposed to single-entry but did point out that there are two elevators.

DRS members asked some questions around bikes and bike parking location and requested that the design team ensure that these areas do not obstruct accessible paths of travel.

Islington Station

A presentation was provided by Steve Stewart on the Easier Access plan for Islington Station. Like Warden, this station will be a complete overhaul development through Create TO. Some unique factors include:

  • A Hydro corridor and the layout of the new bus terminal
  • A new main entrance
  • There will be three forward facing elevators
  • Curb cuts for Wheel-Trans
  • Tactile attention indicators added to stairs
  • Upgraded tactile wayfinding on the subway platform

The redevelopment team was looking for feedback from DRS around an option for a ramp from street level going down about 2.5m with some turnarounds and a 6.6% slope as well as 34m of travel as opposed to an elevator.

DRS members questioned features such as ramp width, ability for two mobility devices to pass each other, the overall length of the ramp, the need for a canopy or weather protection, and the relatively constrained space at the bottom which also appeared to include bicycle parking. The project team was going to come back with more information to address ramp slope, width and other accessibility features.

DRS members suggested that bike parking racks be on street level and not down a set of stairs.

DRS members asked if there was an opportunity for additional accessible elevators because of the amount of traffic at the station. Staff advised that there would be an accessible connection from the planned Create TO development which would effectively become the main accessible entrance to the station and act as a second path of travel from street to concourse level.

DRS members asked if there was an opportunity for accessible washrooms. Staff advised that they are not currently part of the project.

August 18, 2020 DRS Meeting

Staff and consultants from IBI Group presented on the Easier Access Phase 4 study which will look at prioritizing second accessible routes at key subway stations.

Draft prioritization criteria were shared with the subcommittee for review.  Different weighting values were then assigned to these criteria.

Questions and Comments from Subcommittee Members

DRS members asked if the second elevator could be located at the second entrance instead of beside or near an existing elevator. Staff commented that this is the idea but that funding will dictate the answers to this once the study is finished.

DRS members asked if TTC could add the criteria of third-party elevators (i.e. the only accessible entrance is through a third party) and TTC staff said they would consider this.

DRS members asked if the study could include the number of users in an elevator as opposed to only the number of people using elevators with mobility devices. Staff said the total number will be used.

The study criteria will include the length (duration) of the alternative accessible route that must be used when an elevator is out of service. DRS members asked that the study not just look at alternative surface routes, but also include travel time for when customers must travel further on the subway and then backtrack due to an elevator outage.

DRS members highlighted that the ridership potential for a second entrance needs to include all users and not only Wheel-Trans registrants. Staff agreed.

DRS members suggested changes to some of the weight values for criteria to the study, which staff will consider.
 
A DRS member raised the issue of third-party entrances and elevators and Matt Hagg advised that the Property Planning and Development Team will attend an upcoming Service Planning subcommittee meeting to provide more details on the TTC’s Entrance Connection Policy which is being rewritten to attempt to address accessibility issues that ACAT has raised.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Anita Dressler, Chair

A SPS virtual meeting via Webex was held on August 12, 2020.

A presentation on Bus Lanes Priority was given by Sierra Buehler, System Planner, Dominic Ho, Transit Planner, and Stephanie Simard, Senior Planner-System and Policy.

Bus Lane Priority:

  • Eglinton East is scheduled for 2020
  • Jane is scheduled for 2021
  • Dufferin, Finch East, Steeles West and Lawrence East scheduled for 2022 and beyond.

The discussion revolved around the Eglinton East priority bus lanes, their benefits, the concept design, the stop criteria, the proposed stops and service options. Public consultations are planned for late August to seek feedback on the four service options. This includes the spacing of stops.

A curb priority lane will be used for TTC and Wheel-Trans buses, and cyclists. The Jane Priority Bus Lanes project needs more design work and will be done after Eglinton East is completed. Monitoring and collection of data include transit travel time, wait times, ridership, demands and bus lane compliance.

The committee requested best practices and clear messaging, and also raised concerns of buses and cyclists sharing Priority lanes. A request was made that items be referred to the Design Review subcommittee regarding project design, including bus shelters and bus lane impact on persons with disabilities.

Concerns were raised regarding the impact of services on persons with disabilities on the Jane Street route. Some concerns were the distance to bus stops, bus shelters and increased wait times.

A.J. Takarabe, Operations Planner, gave an overview of the work between the TTC and the City of Toronto to accommodate Wheel-Trans.

Concerns were shared regarding patios for restaurants creating barriers along locations i.e. Danforth which has a lack of available curb spaces and curb ramps for accessibility. Along Yonge Street, there is a need for curb ramps to access sidewalks. Presently, persons using scooters and/or wheelchairs have difficulties gaining access to sidewalks and access for Wheel-Trans boarding and deboarding of vehicles.

Information regarding the TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit was presented by Matt Hagg who indicated it will be done online. The panel will include ACAT Chair Mazin Aribi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Operations Kirsten Watson, Head of Wheel-Trans Dwayne Geddes, Head of Service Planning and Scheduling Mark Mis, and Senior Planner, System Accessibility Matt Hagg. The Public Forum is scheduled for October 1, 2020, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The next SPS meeting is scheduled for September 9, 2020.

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

A WTOS virtual meeting via Webex was held on August 20, 2020.
 
Mizan Rahaman, Senior Business Analyst, and Sarfraz Hooda, Manager of Enterprise Architecture, provided a presentation on the new self-registration portal.

The Self-Serve portal is an online solution for Wheel-Trans applicants to fill out and submit a Wheel-Trans Eligibility application. Although WTOS members were pleased with the idea that people will be able to apply or re-register online, they had concerns, such as printing the medical form portion and scanning it after the medical professional fills it out. Staff took these concerns into consideration.
 
Staff reported that the Wheel-Trans Customer Handbook is being updated as the last update was done in 2018. The distribution date will be late 2020, early 2021.

Staff reported on the Wheel-Trans self-booking web site. The answers to the COVID-19 screening questions will be saved for 12 hours. This will allow customers to book rides without answering the screening questions each time they book within the 12-hour period.

Staff reported on the concern that the WTOS members had with the question if a customer answered “No” to wearing a mask. Customers who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition must call Reservations to book rides. A database is being set up and, once it is completed, all customers will be able to book rides on the self-booking website. A flashcard and pin will be mailed to customers who identified as not being able to wear a mask. The pin and flash card are also available at TTC Head Office.

Marco Iorfida, Wheel-Trans Scheduling and Policy Specialist, presented the latest updates on Wheel-Trans Stops and Landmarks. He went through the list that Angela Marley had provided about what was needed to be addressed.

The next Wheel-Trans Subcommittee meeting will be on September 11, 2020.

 

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

CS:

  • Line 2 Subway Announcements
  • COVID-19 Wave 2 Communication Campaign
  • ACAT Recruitment Communications Plan

DRS:

  • Staff presented on Easier Access Phase IV Plan regarding: feasibility study of a second elevator at key stations and study to help improve public transit and customer service
  • Access Hub improvements on design, way-finding and feature consistencies
  • Discussion and review of third-party entrances and elevators to stations

SPS:

  • Discussion on Bus Lanes Priority

WTOS:

  • Wheel-Trans Self-Booking Web site
  • Latest updates on Wheel-Trans Stops and Landmarks

11. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

No TTC Board Meeting was held in August. The next TTC Board Meeting will be held on September 24, 2020.

12. Review of Correspondence

Nil.

13. Other Items / New Business

Recruitment of New ACAT Members

A member suggested that ACAT members could reach out to their own networks to encourage people to apply.

Mazin Aribi stated that an email invitation was created for all ACAT members to forward to their networks. ACAT members can alternatively reach out and contact possible good candidates individually. ACAT members did this in the past and it has been very successful.

Streetcar Operators not coming out of vehicles 

In the past, Operators have been coming out of the streetcar and assisting customers coming back up again, but ACAT members noted that this is not reliably occurring since the start of the pandemic. Staff should enforce or clarify the policy regarding Operators coming out of streetcars. Operators are trained to come out of streetcars and are currently provided with personal protective equipment so they could perform their duties safely.

Sam Savona suggested to looking at surveillance videos and use them for addressing complaints but also for education purposes and training opportunities. Lodon Hassan to connect with Sam regarding the use of videos.

Mazin Aribi agreed with Sam and added that he recently witnessed on the King and Queen streetcars that cars and other motorized vehicles were not stopping to let streetcar customers get in and out when doors were flashing. Dwayne Geddes reminded members that incidents should be reported so that safety concerns are flagged in order to prevent other incidents. Customers must note the streetcar number and the time they were on it.

Jim Ross recommended that the Head of Streetcar Operations should attend an upcoming ACAT subcommittee meeting and have the opportunity to get more in-depth feedback from ACAT members.

A member raised an issue with the new streetcars and Operators being disconnected from customers unless the intercom buttons are pressed. On a positive note, Mazin Aribi stated that the new streetcars have the new feature to make announcements from both inside and outside. Mazin asked if buses could have speakers and potentially use preloaded messages.

Third-Party Connection Elevator

Jim Ross reported that he followed up with the Head of Stations regarding the third-party elevator at Osgoode Station. The elevator is not technically TTC property but TTC has a good relationship with the company. Hopefully, the elevator will be up and running in the next couple of days. The City is now in COVID-19 phase 3 and the concerns that existed in April are no longer prominent and it is an important connection.

TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit

A member stated that the Public Forum is happening on October 1, 2020 and the next ACAT meeting will be on September 25, 2020, so it would be a bit late to make comments.

It was suggested that it would be good to emphasize on publicity and encourage people to participate at the virtual meeting through their computers. Milly Bernal stated the communication plan could be discussed at the next Communication Subcommittee meeting. The plan will be similar to ACAT recruitment strategies and there will be a way for people to participate.

 

14. Next Meeting – September 25, 2020, Friday at 2pm

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Friday, September 25, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. via Webex.

15. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 3.32 p.m.

Valentine Benichou
Recording Secretary

16. Review of Correspondence

17. Guidelines for Presenters at ACAT Meetings

18. Other / New Business

19. Next Meeting

20. Adjournment

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