Minutes of Meeting

Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit 
Meeting No. 314

Meeting Date

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Location

1900 Yonge Street
7th Floor Boardroom

Present

Debbie Gillespie, Chair
Angela Marley, Co-Vice Chair
Raymond Dell’Aera, Co-Vice Chair
Louise Bark
Mary Burton
Jaspreet Dhaliwal   
Margaret Hageman
Joan Jordan
Lynn McCormick
Desrianne McIlwrick
Thomas Richardson
Lauri Sue Robertson
Craig Nicol
Valdo Tammark
Howard Wax

Pool Members

Igor Samardzic
Jessica Geboers    

TTC Representatives

Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer
Alan Heisey, Vice Chair, TTC Board (By Telephone)
Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
Matt Hagg, Senior Planner – System Accessibility
Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager-Customer Service, Wheel-Trans

Copies

Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer
Richard Leary, Chief Service Officer, Service Delivery
Chris Upfold, Deputy CEO & Chief Customer Officer
Kirsten Watson, Deputy Chief Service Officer, Service Delivery
Susan Reed Tanaka, Chief Capital Officer
Vince Rodo, Chief Financial & Administration Officer
Brad Ross, Executive Director – Corporate Communications
Mike Palmer, (Acting) Chief Operating Officer
Jacqueline Darwood, Head of Strategy & Service Planning
Cheryn Thoun, Head of Customer Communications
TTC Board Members

Items Discussed   

  1. Call to Order / Attendance
  2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest
  3. Approval of Agenda
  4. Remarks from ACAT Chair
  5. Review and Approval of January 26, 2017 Minutes
  6. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items
  7. Deputation - Nil
  8. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update
  9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
  10. ACAT Subcommittee Meeting Highlights for the next TTC Board Meeting
  11. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters
  12. Report on Customer Liaison Panel
  13. Report on ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with CEO and Chair
  14. Review of Correspondence
  15. Other / New Business
  16. Next Meeting
  17. Adjournment

1. Call to Order / Attendance   

Debbie Gillespie, ACAT Chair, called the meeting and attendance was taken.

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest   

Nil.

3. Approval of Agenda   

On a motion by Thomas Richardson, seconded by Howard Wax, the agenda was approved.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair, Debbie Gillespie   

Debbie Gillespie thanked the ACAT members who attended as well as the staff who organized the event on January 30, 2017 marking Ossington as the TTC’s 35th accessible subway station. She joined TTC Chair Josh Colle and City Councillor Mike Layton in presenting the artistic and accessibility features of this station. Accessibility is an ongoing TTC commitment. She stated that incorporating inclusive design features throughout the transit system benefits everyone.

Debbie congratulated the 2017 subcommittee chairs who were elected this month. Margaret Hageman for Communications, Lynn McCormick for Wheel-Trans Operations, and Craig Nicol for Design Review. The election of chair for the Service Planning subcommittee will occur at its next meeting.

Debbie thanked the TTC staff for their assistance to the ACAT Executive members since the election.

Back to Items Discussed

5. Review and Approval of January 26, 2017 Minutes   

On a motion by Joan Jordan, seconded by Lauri Sue Robertson, the January 26, 2017 minutes were approved with the following amendment:

  • Item 12, page 5, first sentence should read “…. that Mazin Aribi, 2016 ACAT Chair presented to the TTC Board on January 18, 2017, the highlights from the November 24, 2016 ACAT Meeting.

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items   

AODA Standards on Pre-Boarding Announcements – Matt Hagg reported that buses and streetcars are now equipped with external announcement system and training for operators have been completed.

ACAT will invite Mike Palmer, Acting Chief Operating Officer to the next general meeting, to discuss the pre-boarding announcements for subway trains.

Wheel-Trans Drop-off Zone in front of 1900 Yonge Street – Eve Wiggins informed the Committee that the drop-off zone is also a loading zone.

ACAT members reviewed the Outstanding Items of February, 2017 and noted the following:

  • Item: PRESTO Accessibility Features – DRS to provide update at Subcommittee report
  • Item: Accessibility at Bus Bays – Ongoing
  • Item: Accessibility at Transit Stops – CS to provide update at Subcommittee report
  • Item: Gap Between Subway Trains and Platforms – Ongoing
  • Item: Legends on Maps over TR Train Doors – CS to provide update at Subcommittee report
  • Item: Tracking of Reduced Fares – Completed
  • Item: Travel Assistance Card – On hold until the Wheel Trans 10-Year Strategy becomes operative.
  • Item: Suggestion that Wheel-Trans Buses be permitted to use the GO bus reserved lanes – WTOS to provide update at Subcommittee report

Back to Items Discussed

7. Deputation - Nil.   

8. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update   

Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans reported on the following:

  • The number of eligibility applications has increased and the first round of revisions to the application is being carried out based on comments received.
  • The operational procedures for the Family of Services pilot are still being worked on.
  • Wheel-Trans is working with individual TTC Divisions with respect to pilot routes, transit control, and subway stations.
  • In April, there will be public consultation with discussions focusing on the Family of Services launch, the new mobility transfers hubs, Community Buses route changes, launch of new Wheel-Trans vehicles and launch of new Wheel-Trans policies.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Lynn McCormick asked if appeals have been filed and what percentage of applicants have been accepted or declined. Eve Wiggins responded that no appeal has been filed since the new eligibility application rolled out and the statistic of applicants accepted and declined would be presented to the Committee.

Louise Bark asked what the dates are for the public consultations. Eve Wiggins noted that the dates have not been decided yet.

Louise Bark also asked about the routes for Community Buses 400 and 404. Matt Hagg responded that the 400 Lawrence Manor Community Bus travels through the Lawrence West route leading to Lawrence West subway station which will be extended further west. The 404 East York Community Bus route goes from Coxwell through Victoria Park subway station and will be extended further south to Queen Street.

Craig Nicol asked when the Family of Services would be launched. Eve Wiggins noted that the launch will be around May/June 2017. Work is being done on the operational procedures, which is the most important element in the process leading to the launch. Craig Nicol noted that the launch of the TTC Customer Service Agents in the stations will help move the Family of Services along well.

Back to Items Discussed

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates   

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

The DRS meeting was held on February 14, 2017. Craig Nicol was elected Subcommittee Chair. The items discussed were:

  • PRESTO Fare Gate Installation Update – Allan Foster and Yemi Okewole updated the Subcommittee on the roll-out of PRESTO throughout the TTC.
    • All conventional TTC surface vehicles are equipped with PRESTO readers. A small number of buses are yet to have a reader installed at the rear door.
    • Wheel-Trans vehicles and contracted accessible taxis now have the handheld PRESTO device.
    • PRESTO readers are now installed in all subway stations, though not every entrance is equipped.
    • Fare Gate installation continues at unstaffed entrances and will next move to stations where PRESTO was installed on existing turnstiles.
    • A lower, more accessible reader is being tested for technical functionality on a wide fare gate at Wilson station.
    • PRESTO is doing more work on the fare gates to improve their reliability.
    • Fare gate outages due to passengers pushing on flaps require customer education and system refinements.
  • PRESTO Fare Media Vending Device (FMVD) - Jan Richards from Metrolinx brought a mock-up of the FMVD for subcommittee review.
    • FMVD’s will be located in unpaid areas of subway stations. They will sell PRESTO cards and limited use media, allow balance checking and loading of cards.
    • The FMVD is still under development with software and audio lead-through still being created.
    • The FMVD is critical to completion of the fare gate and reassignment of Collectors to Customer Service Agents.
    • DRS members approached the mock-up and provided comments to Jan Richards and further comments are to be included in the minutes.
  • The DRS outstanding item list was updated with regards to the Rocket Train chimes and an item was added regarding restraints on Nova buses.
    • Other Business
  • DRS members were encouraged to review the minutes from the December Joint meeting on the Eglinton Crosstown project and provide feedback to Metrolinx
  • The issue of the entrance ramp design at Ossington Station was raised with the objective of having further discussions with staff.
  • Issue of whether Community Buses should fall under AODA standards on pre-boarding announcements was raised. Staff will look into this.

The next DRS meeting will be held on February 28, 2017.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Back to Items Discussed

A member asked what the problem with the Ossington Station ramps is. Craig Nicol answered that because this ramp descends to a safe area, i.e. sidewalk, rather than a hazardous area such as a vehicular route, it is not appropriate to place a truncated dome hazard indicator at the bottom of the ramp.

Communication Subcommittee (CS) - Margaret Hageman, Chair

A CS meeting was held on February 2, 2017. Margaret Hageman was elected Subcommittee Chair. A review of the Outstanding Items was made.

  • New Streetcar Education Program - Deborah Brown, Customer Communications, reported that the storyboard for the educational video of the new streetcars would be presented to CS members in March and hopes that this is completed by June.
  • Toronto Rocket Subway Map - the update will be completed in May 2017 to coincide with the change of name of Downsview Station to Sheppard West Station.
  • Interchange Station Announcements on subway trains – this is ongoing and will be completed this year but no specific timeline is available.
  • Wheel-Trans Stops at Subway Stations - Angela Marley clarified that some of the descriptions of Wheel-Trans stop locations at subway stations are not the same as Wheel-Trans listings. The members decided to refer this item to WTOS as part of their work on the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy.

The Accessibility Tips in ‘Connecting Toronto’ has been running smoothly.

The Roles and Responsibilities of the Communication Subcommittee members, as outlined in the ACAT Members Handbook, were amended to include:  “…to provide advice on the Development on Marketing and Communications Materials related to Accessibility”.

Back to Items Discussed

The next CS meeting will be held on April 13, 2017.

Questions and Comments from Members

Lauri Sue Robertson asked for clarification regarding the subway station descriptions on the website. Angela Marley responded that there are inconsistencies among the four places where Wheel-Trans stops at subway stations are listed: the stations description pages on the TTC website, the Wheel-Trans online booking website, the Wheel-Trans reservationist system, and driver run sheets. These inconsistencies can result in customers getting dropped off at the wrong location or missing their pickup.

Louise Bark asked if more diagrams would be used on the station description pages as this also fosters ease of navigation. Angela Marley stated that this is in progress, beginning with a link to the map of the bus platform that has been included in the Victoria Park subway station description.

Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee (WTOS) – Lynn McCormick, Chair

WTOS held a meeting on February 3, 2017. Lynn McCormick was elected WTOS chair.

Back to Items Discussed

Staff from Training and Development attended: Paul Maglietta, Sal Maltese, Twain Sparks, and Gail Mahon. Paul Maglietta, Head of the department, presented "AODA and Customer Service Update", a training program for Operators. Due to cost, Operator recertification occurs in five-year cycles. He reported that the procedures to commence using the DVP bus by-pass lanes are in progress. A member raised the issue of there being no option for a customer to have their mobility device partially secured — the securements must be fully secured or not at all. He will look into this issue.

In response to members’ questions regarding training of contracted drivers, Dean Milton stated the goal of training accessible van and sedan taxi drivers is to ensure they receive the same training as TTC Operators and provide seamless delivery of Wheel-Trans service regardless of the vehicle. Eve Wiggins reported that random audits are performed with customer surveys, and there is no difference in satisfaction rates between buses and taxi services.

Four to six weeks after the training has begun, a meeting will be held in order to provide some feedback to WTOS.

Gail Mahon asked for volunteers to participate in Bus Operator Recertification sessions.

New Wheel-Trans Buses - Eve Wiggins stated that the new Family of Services buses are intended for shorter trips and have more seating space to accommodate the increasing number of ambulatory customers.

Wheel-Trans Eligibility - Dean Milton reported that the Wheel-Trans Customer Ability Liaison (CAL) staff process the applications. They determine if a functional assessment by Medisys Health Occupational Therapists is required to determine eligibility to use Wheel-Trans services. As needed, more filters will be applied to determine eligibility (e.g. children and escorts).

The support person application will be separated from the Wheel-Trans application.

Back to Items Discussed

The next WTOS meeting will be held on March 2, 2017.

Questions and Comments from Members

Howard Wax noted that the Training department had provided the evacuation procedure. Matt Hagg would forward this to WTOS and to ACAT members.

Lauri Sue Robertson encouraged ACAT members to volunteer to participate in bus operator recertification sessions.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS)

SPS held a meeting on February 15, 2017. The election of the SPS chair was deferred to the next meeting. Valdo Tammark, 2016 SPS Chair, provided an update.

  • Ellen Stassen, (Acting) Head of Stations, discussed the TTC’s Station Transformation Program with the Subcommittee. Station Transformation has started with the installation of the new PRESTO fare gates. Next will be closing the Collectors Booths after up-skilling Collectors and Supervisors to fill and support a new Customer Service Agent (CSA) role and to better manage performance.
  • New tools and technologies to help the CSA’s.  All will have radios to communicate between themselves and Passenger Assistance Intercom (PAI) help points; tablets with apps; and digital phones.
  • Staffed Zone Hubs will be located at key interchange and line stations. These hubs will be accessible to customers, have video feeds from CCTV coverage at stations, and have public address access to stations. The Hubs will also be integrated with Transit Control.

The Hubs will manage many daily activities attended to by Stations staff and be a zone base of operations for unplanned events and special events.

The next SPS meeting will be held on April 5, 2017.

Questions and Comments from Members

Desrianne McIlwrick raised concerns about the accessibility of the “Passenger Assistance Intercom” (PAI) or “Help” buttons for people with hearing impairments. Angela Marley suggested the zone hubs are mini control centres, and allow staff in the hub to spot customers at the passenger help areas and direct a customer service agent to provide assistance.

Back to Items Discussed

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

DRS:

  • PRESTO update on fare gate installation
  • Reviewed accessibility of PRESTO Fare Media Vending Device mockup

CS:

  • New Streetcar education video update
  • Consistent descriptions of Wheel-Trans stops at subway stations are important for the success of Family of Services

WTOS:

  • Development of training for Wheel-Trans Operators
  • Development of Family of Services

SPS:

  • Subway Station Transformation Program

11. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters   

The TTC Board meeting was held on February 21, 2017 at City Hall.
 
Debbie Gillespie provided highlights of the Subcommittee work from the December 22, 2016 ACAT minutes.

The Board received the 2017 TTC Customer Charter. It includes 10 accessibility-related commitments, plus the ongoing commitment to continue holding the Public Forum on Accessible Transit.

Debbie stated the Charter’s overall accessibility commitment:

 “We know that the accessibility of our service is the difference between being able to travel or not for many of our customers. We will continue to make our services as accessible as possible. We will make sure the ramps and stop announcements on our vehicles are working properly.”

Back to Items Discussed

Nine subway stations will be newly accessible, including six on the Toronto-York University Subway Extension (TYSSE), plus St Clair West, Coxwell and Woodbine. This brings the total number of accessible stations to 44 of 75 stations. Other accessibility commitments include:

  • New Wheel-Trans eligibility processes and expanded eligibility criteria.
  • Ensure the 514 Cherry route is serviced by new low-floor accessible streetcars.
  • New Wheel-Trans No-Show and Late Cancellation Policies that are more flexible, including allowing for same-day cancellations.
  • Widen and lengthen 300 curbside bus stops to make them accessible to customers with disabilities.

Debbie encouraged members to view the entire list on the TTC web site. This number of accessibility-related commitments is unprecedented. This Charter demonstrates the TTC leadership commitment to accessibility and that the TTC is making significant progress toward accessibility throughout the transit system.

12. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) – Margaret Hageman, ACAT Representative   

Margaret Hageman reported that the CLP held its meeting on February 15, 2017 and discussed potential issues for work plan 2017. The streetcar shutdown due to the last ice storm was discussed and how it can be handled better in the future.

13. Report on ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with CEO and Chair   

The Quarterly meeting of the ACAT Executive with TTC Chair Josh Colle, Vice Chair Alan Heisey, and CEO was held on February 8, 2017 at City Hall. Rick Leary, Chief Service Officer, represented CEO Andy Byford. Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans/Board-ACAT Liaison, and Kristin Lillyman, Policy Advisor - Office of the TTC Chair also attended.

The following items were discussed.

1. Harmonization of Accessibility Features Between Metrolinx and TTC related to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (ECLRT) Stations/Stops

The Executive expressed concerns raised at the January 26 ACAT meeting regarding the consistency of standards as they relate to accessibility, between the ECLRT and the existing TTC stations and transit stops. This item was referred to Staff to investigate. They assured ACAT Executive that there are several joint working groups that include Metrolinx and TTC representatives. It comes down to the working project document that sets out the Accessibility requirements. ACAT Executive members pointed out that as TTC will be operating the LRT, it should meet TTC accessibility standards.

2. Subway Station Features - An Accessibility Checklist

ACAT Executive asked if there is a checklist of accessibility features that must exist in subway stations for them to be declared accessible. The goal is to include all accessibility features before stating the station is fully accessible.
 
Staff stated they are aware there are accessibility-related deficiencies and they plan to conduct an audit of accessible subway stations to determine where improvements need to be made to meet regulatory requirements as well as standards adopted by the TTC.

Back to Items Discussed

3. ACAT from your Perspective

The ACAT Executive asked the Chair and Vice Chair for input on ways that ACAT could be of further assistance. Ideas included:

a. Chair Colle asked if ACAT could review the Board package to identify accessibility-related issues in agenda items that the Board members might not catch, and to submit these to the Chair.
b. Ensuring that ACAT minutes are concise and easy to locate items of interest to Board members.

In response to Chair Colle’s request, prior to the February 21, 2017 TTC Board meeting, ACAT Executive provided him with the list of the 2017 Customer Charter accessibility-related commitments, emphasizing the large number.

Raymond Dell’Aera informed the Committee that discussions were held with respect to Wheel-Trans vehicles picking up or dropping off customers too close to busy intersections. These intersections sometimes include bike lanes, like the one at Simcoe and Wellington. It was discussed that a solution is needed to ensure that all users of the space are accommodated suitably.

Wheel-Trans staff are reviewing pick-up/drop-up locations affected by bike lanes, and will include intersections as part of their review.

The next ACAT Executive Quarterly meeting will be held on May 11, 2017.

Back to Items Discussed

14. Review of Correspondence   

Nil.

15. Other / New Business   

CEO Update

Andy Byford, TTC CEO, gave an update that included the following items:

  • TTC is determined to keep up the momentum of progress, pushing for the implementation of accessible services.
  •  An additional 40 accessible streetcars will be in service by the end of this year.
  • 6 accessible stations will open on the new Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) this year.
  • Working to conclude debates on the Scarborough Subway Extension.

Comments from Members

Members thanked Andy Byford for all the improvement on transit accessibility.

Easier Access Construction Update

Angela Marley informed the Committee that an Open House Easier Access construction update presentation for St. Patrick Station is scheduled for Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at City Hall.

Bayview and Eglinton Bus Stops Changes

During the construction of the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT stations, the bus stops at the intersection of Bayview and Eglinton have been moved. Debbie Gillespie applauded the efforts of the TTC, particularly in assisting customers with visual impairment with respect to the bus stop relocations.
 
Pre-Boarding Announcements

Craig Nicol advised members that if they come across a bus or streetcar with the external pre-boarding announcement not working, to inform TTC Customer Service of the bus or streetcar number and route.

Back to Items Discussed

Raymond Dell’Aera asked if ensuring the external pre-boarding announcements are in good condition should be part of Operator’s daily vehicle circle check.

Desrianne McIlwrick asked if there is a standardized volume for the external pre-boarding announcements. Craig Nicol responded that the volume adjusts to the surrounding ambient noise.

King Street

Craig Nicol noted that the King Street Pilot for transit and pedestrian use needs more involvement from ACAT to ensure that accessibility matters are addressed and not overlooked.

Louise Bark informed the Committee that there is a public survey with respect to this project and ACAT members may get involved via this means.

16. Next Meeting   

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, March 30, 2017, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

17. Adjournment   

On a motion by Howard Wax, the meeting was adjourned.

Temi Omope
Recording Secretary