ACAT Meeting - April 29, 2021


Meeting Info

Date:Thursday, April 29, 2021
Start Time:1:00 p.m.
Location:Virtual meeting via Webex
Meeting No:365
  • Agenda
  • Meeting Minutes
  1. Call to Order / Attendance
  2. Land Acknowledgement
  3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
  4. Approval of Agenda
  5. Remarks from ACAT Chair
    a. TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters
    b. ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with TTC CEO and TTC Chair: Nil (No meeting held)
  6. Review and Approval of February 25, 2021 and March 25, 2021 Minutes
  7. Outstanding Items
  8. Deputation: Nil
  9. Review of Correspondence: Nil
  10. COVID-19 Updates
  11. Wheel Trans Transformation Updates
  12. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates
     Communications
     Design Review
     Service Planning
     Wheel-Trans Operations
  13. Other / New Business
  14. Next Meeting – May 28, 2021
  15. Adjournment

Present

  • Igor Samardzic, Chair
  • Debbie Gillespie, Co-Vice Chair
  • Chris Stigas, Co-Vice Chair
  • Margo Brodie
  • Gwyneth Dalzell
  • Carmen Galvan
  • Sean Hollingsworth
  • Angela Marley
  • Jonathan Marriott
  • Craig Nicol
  • James Pyo
  • Sam Savona
  • Janice Shachter
  • Mahendan Sivabalasundaram
  • Lauri Sue Robertson

ACAT Pool Members

  • Howard Wax
  • John Rae

TTC Representatives

  • Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans
  • Sal Maltese, Head of Operations Training Centre
  • Stephan Boston, Chief Instructor, Operations Training Centre
  • John Boucher, Manager – Lakeshore Garage, Wheel-Trans
  • David Lo Presti, Manager – Contracted Taxi Services, Wheel-Trans
  • Loris Dametto, Program Manager – Bus & Wheel-Trans Procurement, Vehicle Programs*
  • Dean Milton, Manager – Strategic Initiatives, Wheel-Trans
  • Cameron Penman, Manager of Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
  • Tahlee Afzal, Human Rights Consultant, Human Rights
  • & Investigations
  • Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager – Customer Service
  • Eunice Kays, Policy Consultant, Diversity
  • Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
  • Hanh Nguyen, Administrative Assistant, Wheel Trans
  • Mohammed Shaikh, Assistant Manager, Wheel-Trans Operations
  • Lema Salaymeh, Senior Community Liaison

Invited Guests

  • Commissioner Julie Osborne, TTC Board Member

1. Call to Order / Attendance

ACAT Chair Igor Samardzic called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. and attendance was taken.

2. Land Acknowledgement

Read by ACAT Chair Igor Samardzic.

3. Declaration of Conflict of Interest

Nil.

4. Approval of Agenda

On a motion by Angela Marley, seconded by Lauri Sue Robertson, the agenda was approved.

5. Remarks from ACAT Chair

ACAT Chair Igor Samardzic advised that ACAT Executives and staff have been working to make meetings more accessible to the public. A suggestion was to utilize features available through the Webex platform. For test purposes, the April 29, 2021 meeting will be video and audio recorded and would not be uploaded for public viewing. ACAT members would be given prior notice before any recording is carried out or if there are any other changes made.

a. TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters

The TTC Board met on April 14, 2021, and two items were brought to the attention of members. The Racial Equity Impact Assessment of TTC Enforcement Activities and the TTC’s Green Bus Program which presented results on the eBus Evaluation from 3 different vendors. Igor Samardzic spoke of the importance in recognizing the intersection of racialized individuals with disabilities, their experience on the TTC and looking towards any data or research that might help to inform ACAT advice on accessibility within the system with regards to that specific lens.

ACAT Chair discussed several topics on accessibility matters including, the new TTC website that will launch soon and the importance on better integration between Eglinton Crosstown, Metrolinx and TTC. He spoke about the progress made on the Wheel-Trans 7m ProMaster bus. 

In addition, ACAT Chair reported the Infrastructure and Environment Committee of the City of Toronto met yesterday, April 28. Regarding the motion to recommend that City Council decline the option to participate in the Pilot Project for e-scooters, he and Vice-Chair Debbie Gillespie individually did deputations. There were many deputants who spoke in favour of this motion from the accessibility community. The motion was successful and is now for consideration by City Council.

Lastly, ACAT Chair advised that applications for ACAT membership for 2022 will be available from September 6 to 17, 2021 and the deadline to submit an application will be September 17, 2021.

The next TTC Board meeting is May 12, 2021.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Members asked for a proper definition as to size or maximum speed of e-scooters.

Staff advised there are very specific definition of “e-scooters”, which are representative of the all-inclusive term “micro mobility” that covers e-scooters, unicycles and skate boards. Staff presented definition in detail with photos.

b. ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with TTC CEO and TTC Chair

ACAT Chair Igor Samardzic reported no meeting was held, and the next meeting is scheduled for June 8, 2021.

6. Review and Approval of February 25, 2021 and March 25, 2021 Minutes

On a motion by Angela Marley, seconded by Craig Nicol, February 25, 2021 Minutes were approved with no amendments.

On a motion by Janice Shachter, seconded by Sam Savona, March 25, 2021 Minutes were approved with no amendments.

7. Outstanding Items

Outstanding items

  • Item: ACAT Terms of Reference – Ongoing.
    Have received feedback from TTC staff and ACAT members. Once all edits have been compiled, the ACAT Terms of Reference will be sent out to ACAT Executives and members for a discussion and approval.

Future Items

  • Item: GTHA Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) Joint Meeting – Ongoing.  York Region has confirmed to host the next meeting, which is scheduled for June 18, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. An invite has gone out to all surrounding ACAT equivalent committees. Members are suggested to think of topics for discussion and it will be on the agenda for the next ACAT General meeting.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Member advised that some ACAT subcommittee meeting minutes were not regularly included in the ACAT General meeting package.

Staff advised some of the subcommittee meeting minutes have been delayed, but will ensure those that are approved will be included in the ACAT General meeting package.

8. Deputation

Nil.

9. Review of Correspondence

Nil.

10. COVID-19 Updates

No new updates.

11. Wheel-Trans Transformation Updates

Dwayne Geddes, Head of Wheel-Trans reported Wheel-Trans continues to carry out testing for future phases of scheduling and dispatch work in order to improve efficiencies.

David Lo Presti, Manager of Contracted Taxi Services provided an update on the rebranding of Scarborough City Sedan to Toronto One Taxi as of Sunday, May 2, 2021. There will be no changes to service or staffing requirements. Only the name has been changed and this will be communicated with all Wheel-Trans customers.

Questions and Comments from the Committee

Members asked if there were changes to the appearance of the taxi.

Staff advised taxis will still appear the same, all white with new logos on side. However, for customer convenience there will be a six-week period where the taxis will have both old and new logos displayed.

Member requested feedback on the number of rides for people to get their vaccines. 

Staff advised the service was being met to meet demands of bookings for mass-vaccination sites. However, only four bookings were from Toronto and all others were from outside of Toronto. The record of trips to and from vaccine sites between March 15 to April 25, 2021 indicated 900 Passenger drop-offs and 700 Passenger pick-ups.

Member inquired if taxis had braille on the outside to facilitate an accurate assessment as to whether the correct customer is being picked up.

Staff will follow up with the City of Toronto Licencing Officials as they authorize decals, especially those with braille, and report back.

Members expressed concerns on drivers that do not identify themselves or the trip destination. This can lead to incidents of wrong customer pick-ups or taking customers to the wrong destination.

Members requested an update for the taxis photo shoot on May 11 and an update for the accessible test strips on the 7m ProMaster vehicle.

Staff will contact members for the taxis photo shoot with details. Staff advised there was no update for the accessible test strip yet but will provide an update when available.

12. Subcommittee Reports, Highlights and Updates

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.

Other Business

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.

Other Business

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

13. Other / New Business

Member advised there were significant accessibility issues with the current streetcar route diversion on Queen Street which continue to 2022. There is a lack of signage and it is difficult to know where to board the replacement bus on the west end stop that's no longer serviced. There were a couple of instances where large groups of customers were waiting unaware the stop is no longer in service.

This item was referred to the Communications Subcommittee for follow-up on the need to ensure customers are aware of route diversions. Staff advised information is posted on the TTC website and there are service advisory standards and procedures.

Members commended community bus service and suggested the need for expansion on more routes.

Staff advised that community bus changes were included in the 5-Year Service Plan and while some routes may have less service, other routes will increase service to meet customer demand.

14. Next Meeting

The next ACAT General meeting will be held on Friday, May 28, 2021 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. via Webex.

15. Adjournment

On a motion by Sam Savona, the meeting was adjourned at 3:04 p.m.

Boma Enwesi
Recording Secretary

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