Minutes of Meeting

Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit
Meeting No. 315

Meeting Date

Thursday, March 30, 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
Joan Jordan
Desrianne McIlwrick
Thomas Richardson
Lauri Sue Robertson
Craig Nicol
Valdo Tammark
Howard Wax

Regrets

Jaspreet Dhaliwal
Margaret Hageman
Lynn McCormick

Pool Members

Anita Dressler
Jessica Geboers
Igor Samardzic

TTC Representatives

Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer
Milly Bernal, Corporate Communications
Ricardo Couto, Division Manager, Bus Transportation
Matt Hagg, Senior Planner, System Accessibility
Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager-Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
Thamina Jaferi, Human Rights Consultant
Richard Leary, Chief Service Officer
Kristin Lillyman, Policy Advisor, Office of the TTC Chair
Malcolm MacPherson, Station Supervisor
Aislin O’Hara, Project Lead – Wheel-Trans Customer Service     
Mike Palmer, Chief Operating Officer
Roy Park, Rail Vehicle Engineering

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, 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. Update - Train Pre-Boarding Announcements and Exterior Chimes on TR Trains
  5. Remarks from ACAT Chair
  6. Review and Approval of February 23, 2017 Minutes
  7. Business Arising Out of Minutes.- Outstanding Items
  8. Deputation:  Nil
  9. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update
  10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates
  11. ACAT Subcommittee Meeting Highlights for the Next TTC Board Meeting
  12. CEO Update
  13. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters
  14. Report on Customer Liaison Panel
  15. Report from Accessibility Advisory Panel for Transportation Services
  16. Report from Relief Line Stakeholder Advisory Group
  17. Review of Correspondence - Nil
  18. Other - New Business
  19. Next Meeting - April 27, 2017
  20. Adjournment

1. Call to Order/Attendance   

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

2. Declaration of Conflict of Interest   

Nil

3. Approval of Agenda   

Andy Byford will be attending ACAT meetings on a regular basis to provide updates. The CEO Update will be added as a standing ACAT General Meeting agenda item.

On a motion by Howard Wax, seconded by Joan Jordan, the agenda was approved, as amended.

Back to Items Discussed

4. Update - Train Pre-Boarding Announcements and Exterior Chimes on TR Trains   

Mike Palmer, Chief Operating Officer, gave a presentation on the retrofit being carried out by the TTC to provide Pre-Boarding Announcements (PBA) on subway trains in order to meet the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

The TTC is presently carrying out PBA equipment modifications on all rolling stock including 480 TR cars, 372 T1 cars and 28 SRT cars. Mike Palmer mentioned that the older trains’ age and fragility render them more difficult to modify. Once modifications are completed, the PBA system will be temporarily deactivated until the fleet completion and rollout date is set which is targeted for the 4th quarter of 2017.

The PBA system is triggered by the opening and closing of train doors. There are LED message displays mounted in the middle of each car facing outwards with the audio matching the video. The audio message is set to the optimum level, taking into account ambient noises and the PBA on the train located on the opposite platform.

The speakers over every TR door are add-ons and the PBA controls are independent of other train controls so that the train crew can select on which side the doors will open.

Mike Palmer reported that when T1 replacement trains are due in 2030, they will include a speaker on the side of every door as they will be included in the design and production. The TTC will consult with ACAT on the design features for the T1 replacement trains to ensure their accessibility. Emphasis was placed on the high cost of retrofitting.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Mike Palmer apologized for the poor quality audio in the pre-boarding announcement demonstration via computer that they prepared for this ACAT presentation. As some customers depend on the audio announcements, members requested the audio PBAs be played. The video showed the audio and visual pre-boarding announcements.  Members stated they could hear them better during their subcommittee review at Davisville station.

A member asked about the visual display for the 514 Cherry streetcars and stated that the signage is difficult to read because of the type of fonts used. Mike Palmer stated that he will ask Roy Park, Manager of Vehicle Maintenance Engineering, to look into this.

Back to Items Discussed

A member brought up the matter of train doors that are not functioning and remaining closed and the problem this presents to transit users with guide dogs. Mike Palmer replied that a provision cannot be made for an automated announcement at the present time. However, visual and audible announcements of out-of-service doors could be available on new trains in the future. When one door is not functioning, the question then is to isolate the one door or request all passengers to get off the train.

A member asked if the drivers of the trains could manually make announcements about out-of-service doors. Mike Palmer replied that attempts are made to ensure that trains with out-of-service doors are not put into service in the first place. That being said, having drivers of trains make such announcements would be difficult to put into practice.

A member asked how the TTC isolates a train that is wide open. It was explained that the Toronto Rocket is a 6-car walk-through train so it is impossible to do so. However, if unsanitary conditions arise, the entire train may be taken out of service for cleaning.

A member noted that the announcement of which side the doors are opening is not played at terminal stations and suggested that, on the Toronto Rocket trains, the trains use the tags on the tracks for the stop announcements. Mike Palmer replied that this suggestion sounds simple but may prove difficult to put into practice, but that his team will look into this.

Debbie Gillespie stated that, on the Toronto Rocket trains, she has heard the exterior and interior door chimes sound simultaneously. Roy Park replied that this should not occur and, if it does, it would have been a software problem. Roy Park advised Debbie to call Customer Service and provide the 4-digit train number or time of day and location should this problem occur again.

A member asked if PBA would include turn backs. Mike Palmer replied that this feature is not presently available as it is too complex and expensive. The crew is presently in charge of calling out turn backs. In future, on the newer trains, the PBAs will include this information.

Back to Items Discussed

5. Remarks From ACAT Chair   

Debbie Gillespie reported that, during the past month, at the request of TTC staff, ACAT was involved in several initiatives that go a long way in educating and providing feedback. Some examples include:

  • Participated in the Family of Services information sessions at Bus Divisions
  • Provided feedback on the Wheel-Trans quarterly newsletter, Access
  • Participated in a video shoot on the Wheel-Trans Family of Services roll out. This video lends itself for other marketing and communication purposes as well.

ACAT reviewed the upcoming Wheel-Trans public consultation presentation and provided feedback on content and colour contrast to assist people with vision impairment.

Debbie encouraged all ACAT members to attend the Communications Accessibility Forum hosted by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario as well as the People in Motion show. Events such as these introduce the role of ACAT to the general public.

Debbie also encouraged ACAT members to take advantage of the Bus Transportation Recertification Training Program. She advised the members who have not yet participated in these training sessions to contact the ACAT Executive so they could team them up with members who have previously attended a training session.

Back to Items Discussed

6. Review and Approval of February 23, 2017 Minutes   

On a motion by Thomas Richardson, seconded by Craig Nicol, the February 23, 2017 minutes were approved, with the following amendments:

  • Page 3, Item 6 - Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items – the sentence reading: “Angela Marley suggested that a time limit may be stipulated for loading trucks particularly on ACAT meeting days” be deleted.
  • Page 7, Item 9 – Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee, 1st paragraph, last line should read: “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.”
  •  Page 7, Item 9 - Service Planning Subcommittee: it should be noted that Valdo Tammark gave this report.

7. Business Arising Out of Minutes/Outstanding Items   

In response to a member inquiry, Angela Marley clarified the Support Person Assistance Card enables the cardholder and one companion (Support Person) to travel on the TTC and paying one fare. The Travel Assistance Card (TAC) is to be used by riders to communicate that they need assistance. This TAC referred to in the Outstanding Items has been placed on hold as it has been referred to the Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee for development along with the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy.

8. Deputation   

Nil

9. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update   

Aislin O'Hara, Project Lead - Customer Service, Wheel-Trans Strategy, stated that ongoing input from ACAT is requested regarding the changes that Wheel-Trans will undergo during the next ten years.

Aislin reported that there will be a big drive to launch the Family of Services pilot.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of the Wheel-Trans Operators have already completed their sensitivity training.

Nine Mobility Transfer Hubs are to be constructed over the next five years, with the first planned to be located at the Meadowvale Loop at Meadowvale and Sheppard Avenue. The Mobility Transfer Hubs will be shelters where customers can wait in a warm, lighted, safe place when transferring between conventional transit and Wheel-Trans.

Wheel-Trans is holding five City-wide public consultation meetings in April 2017 as well as presentations to fifty stakeholder agencies at a meeting on April 7, 2017. The City Councillors' briefing will take place at City Hall on April 10, 2017.
The 2017 public consultation meetings will take place as follows:

  • April 12 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Etobicoke
  • April 13 - 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., North York
  • April 20 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Toronto Metro Hall
  • April 24 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Scarborough

Aislin encouraged ACAT members to attend these meetings.

Back to Items Discussed

The public consultation meetings will include a presentation with a video which features ACAT members as well as comments/question-and-answer period. The Panel members responding will be Wheel-Trans staff and Debbie Gillespie, ACAT Chair.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

A member drew attention to the dates for the public consultation meetings that conflict with religious holidays - Passover is on April 12, 2017. Aislin replied that the Community Relations team scheduled the meetings.

Angela Marley stated that Lito Romano, Senior Community Liaison Officer had informed her that while he was aware of the religious holiday conflict, there was difficulty finding a location to hold the public consultation meeting in North York and April 13th was the only date on which a location could be booked.

Members also raised their objections that the public consultation was being held on the night of a long weekend. Angela concluded by stating that the point was also raised.

10. Subcommittee Reports and Updates   

Communications Subcommittee (CS) – Margaret Hageman, Chair

Raymond Dell’Aera provided the report on behalf of Margaret Hageman.

Although the Subcommittee did not formally meet in March, CS members were requested via email to provide feedback on the following communications materials: the Spring Wheel-Trans Access newsletter, the ACAT pamphlet, and the presentation to be shown at the Wheel-Trans public consultation meetings in April.

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

A DRS meeting was held on February 28, 2017. Craig Nicol reported on the Mobility Transfer Hubs and the recommendations that were made as follows:

1) The hubs need to be near the conventional stops.
2) Automatic sliding doors were suggested as a method of controlling the summertime temperature in the shelters. The doors could be kept opened in the summer.
3) A passenger assistance intercom for connection to the TTC.
4) The next bus arrival system should be installed in the shelters.
5) The provision of charging stations for USBs and mobility devices was suggested but considered to be impractical in these locations considering the short time spent in the shelter.

A further update will be provided to DRS before the first shelter is installed.

Back to Items Discussed

Scarborough Centre Station

Gary Carr, Project Manager-Scarborough Subway Extension, made a presentation on a third design for the bus terminal that is a further refinement of the bus terminal concept included in the City staff report to the March 28, 2017 meeting of City Council.

  • 28 bus bays will be provided including one Wheel-Trans bay in the terminal
  • 6 bus stops on the street at Borough Drive
  • Side platform subway station design is still in progress and details not presented
  • Elevator strategy was discussed and it was mentioned that redundancy is a prime consideration for DRS members

Staff intend to pursue this bus terminal design further as the recommended concept.

DRS Recommendations

  • Attention to be paid to pedestrian access to the McCowan entrance due to the need to cross bus driveways
  • Consideration needed to control bus noise and air quality in the confined bus terminal area
  • Consideration needed regarding designating additional Wheel-Trans pickup and drop-off areas
  • Concern raised about crowding issues when navigating the length of the 28-bay bus terminal

Other Business

  • Pre-boarding announcement deficiencies are with TTC staff for consideration of means to ensure the system is checked and operational
  • Suggestion made that, on the new streetcars, there be distinctive tones for streetcar stop and ramp requests

Eglinton Crosstown Meeting

DRS received the final minutes from the combined Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee and DRS meeting held on December 13, 2016. Accompanying the minutes was a communication from Metrolinx Planning and Policy which states: Although accessibility consultations for Eglinton Crosstown Light Rapid Transit (ECLRT) station and stop designs are now complete, we will continue to look for future opportunities with which to solicit your opinions as other design elements evolve.”

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

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

A member asked that, if ECLRT’s station and stop designs are now complete, what will the TTC do now vis-à-vis ACAT’s ongoing participation? Matt Hagg replied that TTC staff will bring the interchange station designs to DRS: Eglinton West, Eglinton, and Kennedy stations. The next review stage is expected later this Spring or in early Summer of this year. The rest of the line is a Metrolinx project, not TTC’s, and concerns should therefore be brought to the attention of the Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Back to Items Discussed

Craig Nicol stated that assurance must be given to the TTC that what is provided will meet the needs of the customers. It is not acceptable that Metrolinx is going to sacrifice accessibility consultation on the rest of the line. Craig stated that he is a member of the Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee and that the majority of Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee members do not live in Toronto and do not travel on the TTC; and therefore do not understand the transit needs of the City. Craig encouraged the continuing review of stations and stops with the TTC Engineering Department and the involvement of the Design Review Subcommittee. However, neither the TTC nor ACAT can force Metrolinx to involve ACAT.

Angela Marley raised the question of accessibility on the Eglinton Crosstown line. The accessibility features, for instance, wayfinding, may not be comparable to those onthe TTC. ACAT should advise the TTC Board of its concerns, who will then decide on the action to be taken.

Debbie Gillespie pointed out the importance to riders of consistent standards throughout the LRT and the TTC. The consistency of these standards is especially important to those with disabilities. This point was raised by the ACAT Executive at their Quarterly meetings with the TTC Chair, Vice Chair, and CEO.

Raymond Dell’Aera stated that he is concerned that the design consultation has ended and recommends corresponding with the TTC Board regarding this issue. Debbie stated that this recommendation can be taken back to the Executive to discuss how best to proceed. ACAT members approved this recommendation.

A member raised the matter of a disabled person confronting a barrier and not knowing who has responsibility for ensuring accessibility under AODA. It was suggested that this be addressed in the Accessibility Report.

A member brought up the matter of the lack of consistent signage presenting difficulty to transit users with cognitive impairment.

Debbie Gillespie stated that the ACAT Executive will discuss this matter and report back to ACAT.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS)

No Service Planning Subcommittee meetings were held since the last ACAT meeting.

The next SPS meeting is scheduled to take place on April 5, 2017.

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

WTOS held a meeting on March 2, 2017. Lodon Hassan provided an update on behalf of WTOS Chair Lynn McCormick.

Wheel-Trans staff presented the 10-Year Strategy update and spoke about the Family of Services pilot. Additional feedback is requested from WTOS members for the new version of the eligibility application form. Wheel-Trans is setting up special working groups with Bus Divisions to work on the operational details of the pilot.

Back to Items Discussed

Yuval Grinspun provided an update on the Wheel-Trans Mobility Transfer Hubs. Eve Wiggins reported that the AODA training for the Operators is ongoing. Eve also stated that the “Call Centre” will now be referred to as the “Contact Centre”, and quality, rather than number of calls, will be the focus for the Contact Centre.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

A member agreed that it is a good idea to focus more on the quality versus the quantity or number of calls, and asked if the Contact Centre would welcome feedback from the ACAT membership. Lodon Hassan replied that there is a desire to move away from set standards and focus on whether it is a positive or negative experience. The coaching for Contact Centre staff has been focusing on this aspect.

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

DRS:

  • Metrolinx has stopped station and stops accessibility consultations for Eglinton Crosstown. TTC needs a way to ensure accessibility consultation is not lost.
  • Preliminary reviews of Wheel-Trans Mobility Hubs and the Scarborough Centre bus terminal designs took place.

WTOS:

  • Additional feedback to be provided for the new version of the eligibility application form.

12. CEO Update - Andy Byford   

Andy Byford mentioned that he has been with the TTC for five years and reported that:

  • Work is continuing on improving reliability of the PRESTO system.
  • Bombardier has promised 70 streetcars by the end of the year. 204 streetcars are expected by 2019.

Andy Byford presented a 5-minute video on the St. Patrick Station Easier Access Project, which also included updates on other ongoing Easier Access work and mentioned the important contributions by ACAT.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Craig Nicol referred to the final minutes from the combined Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee and Design Review Subcommittee meeting held on December 13, 2016 and the communication accompanying the minutes which stated that there will be no further accessibility consultations for the Eglinton Crosstown station and stop designs. Craig expressed disappointment with this decision, suggesting that it could lead to customer complaints to the TTC about accessibility features that have been overlooked.

Andy Byford advised that Crosstown is a provincial project and referred to a small TTC team that is working with Crosslinx on the interchange stations. He stated that he would be happy to raise what he considers to be a legitimate concern about Metrolinx’s decision to terminate consultation with ACAT on Eglinton Crosstown station and stop designs. Andy Byford made clear that he does not consider accessibility to be an add-on, but rather an integral part of the design, particularly in view of the expense involved in retrofitting.

Back to Items Discussed

Angela Marley raised the issue that it may be impossible to make modifications when 30% to 60% of the work has been completed. Angela Marley referred to commuters expecting to find identical wayfinding on the TTC and Metrolinx. As ACAT has not been able to review the materials, there is a concern that wayfinding will not be identical. Andy Byford reiterated that he will be happy to advocate on behalf of ACAT.

Angela congratulated Andy Byford on being awarded Communicator of the Year by the International Association of Business Communicators. Andy Byford replied that he was in equal measure humbled and taken aback to receive the award. He stated that he received it on behalf of the 14,000 members of the TTC and dedicated it to them. He stated that any good CEO must communicate a vision eloquently and passionately and that is what he attempts to do.

A member asked if Andy Byford would be showing the Easier Access video to City Council. Andy Byford replied that it will be shown at the next TTC Board meeting.

Debbie Gillespie asked if the video could be promoted through social media. Andy Byford replied that there is nothing to preclude ACAT members from promoting the video. Milly Bernal stated that the video is now on the TTC YouTube and Facebook sites.

13. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters   

Raymond Dell’Aera reported on the TTC Board meeting held on March 22, 2017 at City Hall.

Raymond provided the TTC Board with the highlights from the January 26, 2017 ACAT meeting and ACAT activities from the beginning of the year, such as ACAT’s continued participation in the Bus Operator recertification sessions.

The Board received a report on TTC Community Bus service. The report summarizes the results of a third party review of the service, and proposes a plan of action to move forward with public consultations, and a nine-month pilot project on two Community Bus routes with the goal of overall improvements to the service, increase in ridership, and reduction in Wheel-Trans door-to-door trips. This plan has previously been brought to ACAT through the Service Planning Subcommittee. The Board voted to carry the recommendations in the report.

Back to Items Discussed

14. Report on Customer Liaison Panel (CLP) - Margaret Hageman, ACAT Representative   

Angela Marley provided a report on behalf of Margaret Hageman. The Customer Liaison Panel met on March 15, 2017.

Jacqueline Darwood, Head of Strategy and Service Planning, presented an overview of that department, including its initiatives and local service needs and demands.

Bob Hughes and Heather Brown, PRESTO Farecard Team, provided an update on PRESTO.

The Panel discussed the Subway Musicians Stages Pilot study and gave positive feedback on the new stages in subway stations.

Angela reported that, since the meeting, the TTC launched a call for customers to apply to join the Customer Liaison Panel. In addition to adult members, there are now two positions designated for youth, ages 13 to 24. Applications are due on April 14, 2017. ACAT members were encouraged to pass on this information to their networks.

15. Report From Accessibility Advisory Panel for Transportation Services (AAPTS) - Valdo Tammark   

AAPTS met on March 9, 2017 to discuss a recommendation to improve Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) in Toronto. Input was gathered from members on recommendations developed by Toronto Rehab. In total, 23 potential solutions were generated, which were narrowed down to nine, and then to six test pilot initiatives.

Some of the pilots involve testing different sound and repetition rates for locator tone, walk indication, such as melodies, fast tick, and Far-Side Audible Beaconing.

The pilot that generated the most interest was finding the appropriate pushbutton voice message that comes first - street name, intersection type, to wait or walk. The testing will happen at real intersections.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Louise Bark suggested that when implementing the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy, extra consideration must be given to ensuring that the APS systems exist near the stops where passengers with disabilities plan to alight from the bus.

Debbie Gillespie replied that there was a meeting in January which dealt with the pedestrian signal issues.

Back to Items Discussed

16. Report From Relief Line Stakeholder Advisory Group - Craig Nicol   

Craig Nicol reported that he attended a meeting to consider two possible alignments of the Relief Line in the Queen Street East and the Pape/Carlaw area. Both routings provide similar neighbourhood access. However, underground services would result in deeper vertical access requirements on the Carlaw Avenue route. Craig made the point that deeper stations increase the passenger load on elevators and redundancy would be a necessary consideration.

17. Review of Correspondence   

Nil

18. Other/New Business   

Lauri Sue Robertson reported that her City Councillor, Gary Crawford, the Budget Chief for the City, will attend the next meeting. Debbie Gillespie confirmed that an agenda item will not be included for Councillor Crawford at this point.

A member brought up the matter of Recertification Training for Bus Operators and suggested that the Support Person Assistance Cards not be given to the support person as Bus Operators have reported that these cards are frequently used by people who do not accompany a person with a disability and are simply attempting to avoid paying their fare.

Angela Marley suggested that education regarding the use of the Support Person Assistance Card could be provided at the upcoming Wheel-Trans consultation meetings and People in Motion.

Matt Hagg reported that it is expected that the Support Person Assistance Card will be transitioned to a PRESTO card in 2018. Details of this initiative will be presented to ACAT at a future date, however, it will likely be easier to prevent any abuse of the system as all transactions will be logged and could be actioned upon by TTC if consistent patterns are noted.

Angela Marley stated that PRESTO has provided an update to DRS and the Customer Liaison Panel. She asked if PRESTO could provide an update at a future meeting of ACAT. The attendees agreed that this would be an excellent idea. Angela Marley requested members to forward their questions to the ACAT Executive so that they can be addressed.

Back to Items Discussed

19. Next Meeting   

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, April 27, 2017, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

20. Adjournment   

On a motion by Valdo Tammark, the meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

Carol-Faye Petricko
Recording Secretary