Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans and David LoPresti, Manager - Contracted Taxi Services at Wheel-Trans presented an update.
Wheel-Trans moved to the next phase of scheduling and dispatch. An update was done on January 24, 2021 where Wheel-Trans added new features to its scheduling and software system.
Vehicle availability are dependent on customer specific eligibility criteria. Wheel-Trans wanted to provide a vehicle that best suits the customers' needs while keeping with the service delivery standards that was created for the accessible practice as well as for TTC bus operations. Some of the stakeholders that are engaged are Wheel-Trans Bus Operations, Transit Enforcement, Transit Control and Dean Milton, Wheel-Trans Manager of Strategic Initiatives, who was a great help on putting this together.
Questions and Comments from the Subcommittee
Members noted glitches on the Wheel-Trans website that were already reported but not yet fixed. These items should have been ticketed. Some of the issues related to the drop down menu of schedule times and users not always able to use a keyboard to type in the number.
Members were advised to liaise with Cameron Penman for any related issues.
Members were also unable to use their old shortcut to access the Wheel-Trans Reservations page now that the Phase 3 upgrade has taken place. Members were advised to create a new shortcut as the website credentials have changed.
Members asked for clarification on the meaning of SOP acronym. SOP was explained as Standards Operations Procedures that is used throughout the TTC on various procedures. For Wheel-Trans Bus Operators SOP are used to explain how to safely enter and exit a station, deploy their vehicle and accessible features. The same training and procedures have been provided to the Sedan contractors.
Sedans Taxis rules on the King Street Transit Priority Corridor
Members asked whether or not sedan taxis were allowed to travel through the King Street Transit Priority Corridor that is currently only allowing streetcars and vehicular traffic one block at a time.
Staff explained they were indeed allowed to stop on King Street but must make a right hand turn at each intersection like other private vehicles.
Background clarifications for New Members
Accessible Taxis Vans and Sedan Taxis
Wheel-Trans provides services with three vehicle modes, Wheel-Trans buses, contracted accessible taxi vans which are low-floor side entry ramp, and sedan taxis for overflow and additional trips.
New members can request additional information.
Family of Services
Wheel-Trans Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Dean Milton provided a brief explanation on Family of Services. This type of service delivery is for customers who have conditional eligibility. In other words, customers who can travel on the conventional TTC transit system when their specific conditions are not present. When the conditions that prevent them for using the conventional TTC transit system are present, they will receive door-to-door service.
There are three categories of eligibility in Wheel-Trans.
- Unconditional service means that the customer has a disability that always prevents them from using the TTC’s conventional service. In this case they will require door-to-door service.
- Conditional service means that the customer has a disability that limits their ability to consistently use TTC conventional transit. Customer may be able to use conventional transit for all or part of the trip, but may also qualify for door-to-door service under specific circumstances (e.g., weather, travel to a non-accessible location).
- Temporary service means that the customer may have a temporary disability that prevents them from using conventional TTC service and require Wheel-Trans for all or part of the trip for a defined period of time (e.g., following an injury or surgery).
Family of Services trips have designated transfer stops at accessible subways as well as along key frequent service bus and streetcar routes. Buses and accessible taxis are able to pick up and drop off at all designated transfer points, and in the near future sedan taxis with specific decals will be able to enter into accessible subway stations
Currently, when a conditionally eligible customer is offered a Family of Services (FOS) trip, they can choose to accept it or decline it for a door-to-door trip. Conditional Trip Matching e.g. mandatory Family of Services, was originally going to launch in Summer 2020 but has been delayed to late Spring/Summer 2021.
Sedan Taxis in TTC Accessible Stations
David LoPresti, Wheel-Trans Manager of Contracted Taxi Services, provided an overview of the project to include Wheel-Trans Sedan Taxis under contract entry in to TTC Accessible Stations similar to the Buses and Accessible Taxis that have been doing this since 2015 to assist with the Family of Services initiative.
Sedan taxis in the City of Toronto are allowed up to three drivers, but when they are contracted, only one driver is authorized to use that vehicle during the Wheel-Trans provision of work. Not every taxi, City taxi or independent City taxi can enter the subway station. Only sedan taxis with the appropriate Wheel-Trans decals that have been approved and authorized for service and the drivers are permitted to be used by the Contractors for entering TTC accessible stations.
Authorized Wheel-Trans sedan taxis under contract to the TTC will be permitted to enter accessible stations to pick-up and drop-off customers at the designated Wheel-Trans stops.
Designated Wheel-Trans bus stops have been identified and are clearly marked in the stations. Only approved authorized sedan taxis that have the affixed Wheel-Trans decals on their vehicles will be allowed entry. Wheel-Trans currently has service contracts with the three sedan contractors: Beck Taxi, Co-Op Taxi and Scarborough City Cab Sedan. Sedan taxi drivers will have their photo identification on display in their vehicle and on their person. Any sedan taxi vehicle/driver failing to comply will be subject to the appropriate charges/fines.
This will vastly improve scheduling flexibility and trip availability for Family of Services trips and benefit customers by integrating them into the conventional TTC network. A Family of Services trip connects Wheel-Trans customers to and from accessible conventional TTC (bus, streetcar, subway), allowing them ease of travel.
Wheel-Trans is targeting the end of February for a launch pending approval from senior TTC Executives.
Wheel-Trans is working with Transit Enforcement because they have identified that there may be a risk of illegal non-TTC approved sedans that may enter stations. Wheel-Trans decals are the first proof which have been affixed to both sides of the vehicle as well as the driver’s personal ID badge that will demonstrate they are authorized. Drivers can only enter when they are servicing the customer to and from a location to perform the Family of Services delivery and obey all operating procedures as well as any posted signage.