Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Angela Marley, CS Chair
The CS meeting was held on April 1, 2021 via Webex.
New TTC Website
Alicia Fowlie, Senior Digital Communications Specialist, reported the website team reviewed the items raised by ACAT members to fix them and asked members to continue to review and send feedback to her. Members emphasized using updated coding to optimize keyboard navigation for screen reader users. Staff are applying the technology and skills to complete this. Alicia expected the website to be launched soon.
Info Screen Pilot on Buses
Ian Dickson, Manager of Design and Wayfinding provided an overview of the project to equip 585 buses with information screens.
The real-time bus screens will display Stop Request and Stop Information, current stop, following three stops, and the approximate arrival time at the next stop. The screen will also display arrival time at the final destination and system event messages from Transit Control. An automated voice will call out stops and all information, including operator triggered announcements. Launch is planned for early May, expanding to 60 buses (e-Bus fleet) in June, and 585 buses in Q3/2021.
Members asked if the screens would provide elevator closure alerts for upcoming stations. Staff advised this will need to be discussed further internally.
In response to a member concern about messaging conflicts, staff confirmed the messages will not be read aloud overlapping. There is a message priority protocol.
Members observed the font size and colour scheme are not easy to read and if a customer cannot hear the notification, the visual display becomes even more important. Staff stated that the design of the screen is CSA standard in terms of accessibility and the screens were developed based on best practices from other agencies implementing the same equipment. Staff requested that members wait for feedback from the pilot users.
Share the Bike Lane Safety Campaign
Customer Communications is looking at ways to integrate “sharing the space bike lane message” into its Spring Safety Campaign. The message will be shared on the TTC’s website as well as on a variety of social media channels (TTC, Toronto Police, Toronto bike network social media sites).
Members advocated for the campaign to use not only Wheel-Trans buses but also the contracted vehicles to emphasize on more education so that cyclists understand that Wheel-Trans vehicles are permitted to pick-up and drop-off customers in bike lanes.
Support Person Assistance Card
Communications broadcasted the message; due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Support Person Assistance Card expiry date will be extended to the cardholder’s birthday in 2022.
The next Communication Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for May 6, 2021.
CS Highlights for the next Board Meeting:
- Share the Bike Lane Safety Campaign
- Support Person Assistant Card expiry date is extended to the cardholder’s birthday in 2022.
- Website update
Questions and Comments from the Subcommittee
Member inquired on the new TTC website launch date.
Staff advised the new website launch date has been delayed.
Member expressed concerns about sound and frequency of the screens. Members want to test the screens on the pilot buses and give feedback.
Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, CS Chair
The DRS meeting was held on April 7, 2021 via Webex.
Eglinton Crosstown LRT Operations
The ECLRT Line 5 is a hybrid system (part subway and part streetcar) to transit riders in Toronto.
Seth Irvine, LRT Operations Coordinator at TTC discussed this item and is working with the line owner Metrolinx and their contractor Crosslinx Transit Solutions on coordination and launching of Line 5 to ensure it meets TTC standards, especially considering the TTC will be operating the line. Line 5 will be maintained by Crosslinx, which includes cleaning and snow clearing.
DRS presented a list of questions regarding accessibility, train configuration and operation, underground and surface stop features as well as operating practices and fare collection. Questions and comments from subcommittee members included:
- Lack of opportunity to inspect a completed vehicle for accessibility features
- Seating layouts were provided after the meeting
- Differences in underground and surface operations that will change customer interaction with the system and therefore needs to be communicated to customers
- Missing inter-car safety barrier needs to be resolved in a way that does not impact wayfinding
- Information was requested to facilitate production of station descriptions for the TTC website
Further meetings are to be held to explore all aspects of Line 5 implementation with Metrolinx and the TTC LRT coordination team.
DRS members discussed the lack of focus on transit accessibility by City Staff and Waterfront Toronto when presenting to the subcommittee on City initiatives. It was suggested that these presenters need to be reminded of ACAT's focus before presenting to the subcommittee.
The next Design Review Subcommittee meetings are scheduled for May 5, 2021 and May 19, 2021 for ECLRT with Metrolinx.
DRS Highlights for the next Board Meeting:
- Exploration of ECLRT issues with Seth Irvine, LRT Operations Coordinator
Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Carmen Galvan, SPS Chair
The SPS meeting was held on April 7, 2021 via Webex.
Michelle Picard Cousins, Manager of Customer Experience presented the 5-year and 10-year TTC fare collection strategy.
The TTC plans to develop a 5-Year Fare Policy and 10-Year Fare Collection Plan. This will involve public engagement and consultations via surveys, town halls and focus groups across cities within and beyond Toronto boundaries. Discussions will involve groups such as ACAT, social agencies, academic and prosperity organizations.
The 5-year Fare Policy is to be completed by year end and will include what the policy goals are, are they equitable, affordable, rideable, while bringing in revenue. The TTC has received feedback from various groups with the top two priority values that will guide fare policy work are “affordability and equity” and “simplicity and accessibility”.
Members discussed several issues:
- PRESTO has accessibility barriers, difficulty in obtaining and using the PRESTO card, confusing for tourists and newcomers with limited English.
- Members emphasized the importance of keeping public transit users informed, such as different cities charge different fare rates.
- Members expressed concerns on collaboration and accessibility, difficulty in reading the budget and encouraged more outreach to people with lived experiences such as people who are homeless with no access to phones or internet.
- Member inquired for TTC documents to be more accessible to the public such as budget on the roll out of PRESTO, expenses on machines, cost analysis, zero fare, etc.
- Members expressed concerns and the lack of trust by low income communities due to the aggressive campaign made by fare collection and enforcement, highlighting that there needs to be constructive and reflective communication.
- Member raised issues that elderly persons would have with using Uber or other ride sharing services due to the fear of damage to their mobility devices. In addition, they are a vulnerable group and would least likely be able to leave a situation if they were being harassed.
It was suggested the TTC leverage new technologies in order to offer more concession programs such as loyalty cap and multiple trips resulting in free fare, and to encourage affordable service.
Future meetings will include a short list and long list of fare options, evaluation criteria and other information by the end of summer or early fall prior to final submission to the Board in November.
A member inquired on type of crisis intervention training staff receive. Staff advised that they believed that this is included in onboarding training for frontline staff.
Questions and Comments from the Committee
ACAT members asked follow-up questions about crisis intervention training. Staff will add this to the next SPS agenda and invite the appropriate staff to speak to the matter.
The next Service Planning Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for June 2, 2021 (May 5, 2021 was cancelled).
SPS Highlights for the next Board Meeting:
- 5-year and 10-year TTC fare collection strategy
Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Sam Savona, WTOS Chair
The WTOS meeting was held on March 11, 2021 and April 8, 2021 via Webex. March 11, 2021 report was deferred last meeting and both reports were read by ACAT Chair Igor Samardzic.
March 11, 2021
Marco Iorfida, Wheel-Trans Scheduling and Policy Specialist advised subcommittee members the criteria for determining accessibility for Wheel-Trans Family of Services stops as follows:
- Latest accessibility standards (unobstructed landing area of 2.4 m x 2.0 m, next to stop pole)
- Shelter with a bench
- Area adjacent to stop is level and in good state of repair with no tripping hazards
- Curb Height (deployment of ramp can be made safely)
- Clear line of sight between Wheel-Trans stop pole and customer waiting area (operator to maintain sight of their vehicle)
- “No-Standing” signage or “Accessible Loading Zone” signage
- Lighting (presence of streetlights or building lights nearby)
- Curb cuts present at intersections
Charlene Sharpe, Wheel-Trans Divisional Manager, noted she has been working with other agencies throughout the province, and specialized transit working group to ensure stops are meeting various criteria with the goal of achieving a consistent level of service. Once the working group is ready to share the criteria/base standards, she will report back to the subcommittee.
Chester and Dupont Stations had site visits and the highlights of the challenges and suggestions were provided to members.
Charlene Sharpe provided a brief update on the 7m ProMaster vehicle. The vehicle is with the vendor to review a few issues including the rear ramp and side ramp deployment indicator.
Desrianne Mcllwrick, Wheel-Trans Travel Specialist provided a brief overview to the Travel Training Program and its current status amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The pilot program began in April 2018 and has been going strong since.
Cameron Penman, Wheel-Trans Manager of Customer Service provided an update on the TELUS overflow contract including key performance indicators such as Call Abandonment Rate, Average Wait Times, etc. Further information can be found in the CEO Report given at the TTC Board meetings.
April 8, 2021
Marco Iorfida, Wheel-Trans Scheduling and Policy Specialist reported the information on Chester and Dupont Stations from the last meeting are both under review with the Strategy and Service Planning department.
Cameron Penman, Wheel-Trans Manager of Customer Service advised Wheel-Trans is committed to providing rides to vaccine sites for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Existing customers are obtaining Wheel-Trans rides to the mass vaccination sites, pharmacies, doctors’ offices’, and clinics. As other vaccine sites open, service will be added. The average time for a round trip including the actual vaccination is between one hour and 15 minutes to one hour and 30 minutes.
Residents who are not yet Wheel-Trans customers are being encouraged to call Wheel-Trans Customer Service. Vaccine related applications will be prioritized. However, customers applying to Wheel-Trans to obtain service in time for their appointment will be given 30 days of temporary door to door service.
Lodon Hassan, Wheel-Trans Assistant Manager of Customer Service presented an update on the Contact Centre statistics for March 2021, and provided a breakdown of Wheel-Trans registrations and complaints.
The next Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee meeting is scheduled for May 13, 2021.
WTOS Highlights for the next Board Meeting:
- Wheel-Trans is committed to providing vaccine rides to the elderly and persons with disabilities
- Contact Centre statistics are within or below expectations. Reservations average wait times is 2 minutes and 53 seconds. Customer Service’s average wait time remains low at 38 seconds
- Reservations is preparing to work from home