Minutes of Meeting

Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit     

Meeting No. 317 

Meeting Date

Thursday, May 25, 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
Craig Nicol
Thomas Richardson
Lauri Sue Robertson
Valdo Tammark
Howard Wax

Pool Members

Jessica Geboers
Anita Dressler
Igor Samardzic

Regrets

Lynn McCormick
Margaret Hageman
Jaspreet Dhaliwal 

TTC Representatives

Andy Byford, CEO, TTC
Matt Hagg, Senior Planner, System Accessibility
Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager-Customer Service, Wheel-Trans
Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
Richard Wong, Head - Streetcar

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
Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
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 April 27, 2017 Minutes
  6. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items
  7. Deputation – Emily Daigle
  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. CEO Update
  15. Review of Correspondence
  16. Other / New Business
  17. Next Meeting – June 29, 2017
  18. 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    

On a motion by Tom Richardson, seconded by Craig Nicol, the agenda was approved.

4. Remarks from ACAT Chair, Debbie Gillespie    

Debbie Gillespie thanked the ACAT members for volunteering to staff the ACAT booth at the People in Motion event. It is a great opportunity to educate the public on the work of ACAT, to network, and to learn.

The next event will be the TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit on September 19, 2017. By attending these events, ACAT members demonstrate their commitment to an accessible transit system that works for everyone.

Back to Items Discussed

5. Review and Approval of April 27, 2017 Minutes    

On a motion by Joan Jordan, seconded by Howard Wax, the minutes were approved with the following amendment.

  • Page 9, Item #12, Report on Customer Liaison Panel: first sentence of last paragraph should be amended to “... among TTC riders”.

6. Business Arising Out of Minutes / Outstanding Items    

  • Item: PRESTO Accessibility Features - The TTC Fare Card Team has been requested to provide a PRESTO update presentation at the ACAT General meeting. Still awaiting response. Craig Nicol reported that the audio script review for the Fare Media Vending Device has been completed.
  • Item: Legends on Maps over TR Train Doors – New maps have been placed in the TR Trains. Completed.

7. Deputation - Emily Daigle    

Debbie Gillespie informed the Committee that Emily Daigle was invited to the meeting for a deputation on an accessibility item she had presented before the TTC Board in February 2017.

Emily Daigle stated that, given the anticipated launch of the Wheel-Trans Family of Services, it is crucial that conventional Bus Operators have a change in attitude as more customers with disabilities will begin to use conventional services. Emily Daigle suggested that ACAT could be influential in the creation of the office of an Accessibility Ombudsman that can investigate complaints lodged by persons with disabilities.

Emily also stated that the steepness of the ramp on the new streetcars needs to be considered.

Comments and Questions from Committee Members

A member asked Emily Daigle if she has received feedback from staff on all the issues of accessibility that she had experienced first-hand. Emily replied that she did and staff has been proactive on these complaints and have communicated effectively.

Back to Items Discussed

8. Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy Update    

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

Training

The Mental Health Workshop for Call Centre employees began on May 16, 2017 at Progress Place. All employees will complete the mandatory 3-hour training. The Train the Trainer for Family of Services Phase 1 has been completed. All employees are to be trained by July 2017.

Mobility Transfer Hubs

The contract to install the first Mobility Transfer Hub at the Meadowvale Loop has been awarded. The installation is to begin in September 2017. Twelve additional Mobility Transfer Hub sites are being reviewed based on customer travel patterns and catchment areas for future customers.

Family of Services (FOS) Phase 1

Key employees have been trained for the FOS launch. The tracking of the FOS trips process has been established. The first wave of volunteers had been identified. The FOS phone number for customers who want to do same-day booking has been established. Trips would be made to the closest accessible subway stations.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

  • How will customers waiting at a Mobility Transfer Hub communicate to Wheel-Trans?

Eve Wiggins responded that this is on the table for discussion.

  • Will there be a formal launch of the Mobility Transfer Hub at Meadowvale Loop?

Eve Wiggins advised that this is being discussed.

  • Will Wheel-Trans Operators be required to come into the Transfer Hubs to assist customers to board the vehicle?

Eve Wiggins stated that Wheel-Trans Operators would be required to assist customers to board as they do normally. However, the conventional Bus Operators would not be required to do same. The Committee recommended that this should be communicated to customers and Operators alike so that the expectations are aligned.

Back to Items Discussed

9. Subcommittee Reports and Updates    

Design Review Subcommittee (DRS) – Craig Nicol, Chair

A Design Review Subcommittee meeting was held on May 7, 2017. The items discussed were:

King Street Pilot Study

David Kuperman, City of Toronto Transportation Services, made a presentation on the King Street Pilot Study. He stated that the purpose is to prioritize transit while allowing for local traffic between Bathurst and Parliament. Streetcar stops would move to the far-side with a bump-out of the sidewalk to access the streetcar. Motor vehicles would have access for short segments but no through traffic would be permitted.

DRS advised on the following:

  • A gap proposed between the streetcar and transit boarding area to allow cyclist passage would compromise safety for passenger boarding and negatively impact accessibility of the streetcar.
  • It will be important to ensure that access remains available for Wheel-Trans loading and drop-off.
  • Placement of any additional street furniture is a concern as existing sidewalks are already crowded; therefore, added furniture should be in the re-purposed curb lane area.
  • A raised bump-out platform is preferred, like at Roncesvalles or Sherbourne.

PRESTO Update

Yemi Okewole from the PRESTO Farecard Team presented an update. All streetcars, buses, Wheel-Trans buses, and Accessible Taxis are now PRESTO-enabled. All subway stations have at least one entrance that is PRESTO-enabled.

In 2017, fare gates with PRESTO readers will be installed at the remaining turnstile-equipped subway entrances; this includes the TYSSE extension. A second lower PRESTO reader is now being installed on the new wide fare gates while earlier wide fare gates will be retrofitted. A Legacy fare media transition and PRESTO media sales strategy will be finalized. PRESTO will investigate relocating the Fare Media Vending Device (FMVD) audio jack closer to the PIN pad for future orders.

DRS recommended the following:

  • Fare gates which are placed differently than turnstiles are sometimes impacting other passenger flows e.g. at Donlands Station. Allan Foster will review this for the next 26 stations
  • The FMVD PIN pad height and angle are not ideal as agreed. This cannot be changed now but should be considered for future orders of this device.

The DRS Outstanding List was reviewed. The installation has begun for the guard on the new streetcar ramp request button at mobility device spaces.

The next DRS meeting is scheduled for June 7, 2017.

Questions and Comments from the Committee Members

Angela Marley asked if the Committee wishes to have a presentation from PRESTO at the ACAT meeting. Craig Nicol noted that having PRESTO present to ACAT will be beneficial as more points on accessibility would be raised.

Staff would contact the TTC PRESTO Fare Card staff and request a presentation at the ACAT monthly meeting.

Raymond Dell’Aera raised concerns with respect to the cyclists using the already narrow and busy King Street in the Pilot study as this may end up compromising the accessibility features that are required on the street. Craig Nicol noted that it would be beneficial to have further discussion with the City on this project before commencement.

DRS would request an additional meeting to discuss some of these concerns.

Andy Byford, TTC CEO, noted that he is happy to work with ACAT on the King Street Pilot program as it would be counterproductive to have a pilot study that would cause issues to persons with disabilities.

Communication Subcommittee (CS) – Margaret Hageman, Chair

No Communication Subcommittee meeting was held since the last ACAT meeting.

Back to Items Discussed

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

A Wheel-Trans Operations Subcommittee meeting was held on May 4, 2017. Angela Marley chaired the meeting on behalf of Lynn McCormick and provided the report to ACAT.

Bruce Peters, Manager - Lakeshore Garage, reported that 20 buses (ProMaster Bus) are to be delivered this year. At the next WTOS meeting, David Tonon will present the summary of the ACAT members' feedback regarding the accessibility features that members gave during their review of the bus on April 4, 2017. Bruce Peters stated that discussion continues about the angle and steepness of the ramp. There will be another opportunity for ACAT members to review the ProMaster Bus.

As an update on the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy, Aislin O’Hara reported that the Progress Place staff developed a Mental Health Workshop Training Program to be attended by Call Centre staff. Wheel-Trans Managers previewed this session on May 11, 2017 and Angela Marley attended representing ACAT to provide feedback.
 
The FOS launch is scheduled for the end of May 2017. For the Family of Services pilot, trips will be booked by Wheel-Trans FOS staff and not by the customer. The review of Wheel-Trans stops at subway stations has formally begun. Aislin O’Hara asked WTOS members to inform Dean Milton about the more problematic stations so they can be placed at the top of the list.
 
Angela Marley reported that she forwarded to Dean Milton the Wheel-Trans Stops at subway stations information that was gathered during the writing of the Station Descriptions for the TTC website. This document outlines the problems including discrepancies in the description of the location of the Wheel-Trans Stops at subway stations.
 
The construction of the first Mobility Transfer Hub located at the Meadowvale - Sheppard Avenue Bus Loop is planned to begin in September 2017.

Ninety percent (90%) of Wheel-Trans Operators and 10% of conventional Bus Operators have completed their AODA Training. Contracted Taxi services instructors have also been trained and they plan to begin training for their drivers shortly.

Ken Nwosu, Project Manager ITS, reported that the vendors selected for the new Scheduling and Dispatch System Request for Proposals (RFP) will be invited to present their proposal to WTOS to obtain early input from the Subcommittee. The new system will be a real-time system that can work with the dynamic changes involved in a customer’s trip. A meeting is planned for June 6, 2017 and WTOS members will meet with the consultants and WT ITS staff who are preparing the RFP.  

Ken Nwosu stated that the Telephony Project is at the evaluation stage. Once the vendor has been selected for this project, input will be requested from WTOS members on the configuration of the system.
 
Lodon Hassan, Assistant Manager-Customer Service, reported on the new eligibility applications received by Wheel-Trans from January 1, to May 2017.

Back to Items Discussed 

The WTOS Outstanding Items list were reviewed.

The next WTOS meeting will be held on June 2, 2017 at 580 Commissioners Street.

Service Planning Subcommittee (SPS) – Valdo Tammark, Chair

A Service Planning Subcommittee meeting was held on May 7, 2017.

Matt Hagg discussed the changes to the Community Bus Network:

  • The Community Bus network currently has five routes and there is a proposal ultimately to increase this to 11 routes.
  • The Community Bus frequency would be changed from every 75 minutes to 60 minutes.
  • A nine-month pilot project will start in September 2017 on Routes 400 Lawrence Manor and 404 East York. Each route will be extended and a second bus will be added. If the pilot project is successful, the remaining three existing routes would be modified and the additional routes added starting in 2018 or 2019.
  • The consulting firm engaged to develop the proposed network used Wheel-Trans trip data to determine the best routes. The routes are designed to accommodate trips made from senior homes to shopping centres, libraries, community centres, hospitals, and medical centres.
  • Community Buses can be flagged down at any point on route and not necessarily at a designated bus stop.
  • It is expected that the added Community Bus routes will give customers more flexibility and may help reduce the demand for Wheel-Trans trips.

Questions and Comments from the Committee Members

How will customers be informed of Community Bus schedules and other transit information? Valdo Tammark remarked that the bus schedules and information would be posted at designated bus stops and at senior homes, hospitals, and other facilities on those routes.

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

DRS:

  • King Street Pilot study reviewed. DRS has concerns about safety and accessibility with the bike lane between the streetcar and transit bump-out.
  • PRESTO update – Fare media transition strategy is outstanding and the late delivery of Fare Media Vending Devices (FMVD) impacts ending the use of the Legacy fare media.

SPS:

  • Reviewed the Community Bus Routes 400 Lawrence Manor and 404 East York; pilot to start in Fall 2017. Goal - to increase customer travel flexibility and use, resulting in reduced demand for Wheel-Trans trips.

WTOS:

  • In accordance with the new Wheel-Trans eligibility criteria, Call Centre staff and Operators are attending accessibility awareness sessions. ACAT members participate in the training sessions for conventional Bus and Wheel-Trans Operators.
  • Ongoing monitoring of the roll out of the Family of Services pilot

Back to Items Discussed

11. Report on TTC Board Meeting and Accessibility Matters    

Raymond Dell’Aera reported that the TTC Board Meeting was held on May 18, 2017 at City Hall.

The March ACAT minutes were received by the Board. ACAT Chair Debbie Gillespie highlighted ongoing concerns with respect to harmonizing accessibility features between existing TTC services and Metrolinx’s Eglinton-Crosstown LRT line.

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

CLP met on May 10, 2017. On behalf of Margaret Hageman, Raymond Dell’Aera provided an update to ACAT.

Viktoriya Artemyeva, TTC Customer Development department, presented the Q1 2017 Customer Satisfaction Survey results.

Regarding the Segmentation Study, the Panel was asked to review the population segments that were named by Environics because the Customer Satisfaction Survey needs to align with Toronto households.

CLP members provided the following observations related to accessibility -- the need for a larger font size of the minutes number for next train on the subway platform screens; train doors are opening and closing right away which does not give enough time for passengers to exit or enter; the sign “Please Don’t Push the Gates” at Bay Station is too small. Staff will forward their feedback.

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

The meeting was held on May 11, 2017, attended by TTC Chair Josh Colle, TTC Vice-Chair Allan Heisey, Rick Leary (representing CEO Andy Byford), Eve Wiggins, Kristin Lillyman, Policy Advisor-Office of the TTC Chair, and the ACAT Executive.

The need to harmonize accessibility standards between Metrolinx and TTC - Debbie asked Rick Leary for follow up on concerns that ACAT raised at the March ACAT Meeting about the need to harmonize accessibility standards on the Metrolinx Eglinton Crosstown LRT (ECLRT) stations with existing TTC standards. Rick said he would follow up with the CEO.

Joint Meeting of TTC and Metrolinx Boards - At this time, there is no meeting scheduled. Vice-Chair Alan Heisey encouraged ACAT to make a deputation to the Metrolinx Board to strongly recommend that Metrolinx hold joint meetings with the TTC Board regarding the ECLRT, expressing ACAT concerns about the need for consistency with existing TTC standards as they relate to accessibility.

Subway Platform Gaps – In 2016, the TTC Board received the ACAT recommendation to address the horizontal and vertical gaps and directed staff to report on the issue. The Board report is scheduled for June 2017 and will detail the extent of the problem and recommend solutions. The ACAT Executive explained that, although there may be a number of stations with vertical and/or horizontal gap deficiencies, the actual scope of work is much smaller as the gap affects specific areas of the platform, particularly those platforms that have curved sections, not the entire length of the station platforms. The ACAT Executive suggested putting a list of affected stations on the TTC website to inform customers, especially those with visual impairment, what stations are affected and where the platform gaps are located.

Debbie Gillespie provided feedback on the progress of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy from an ACAT perspective. She acknowledged the importance of making the location of Wheel-Trans connections for pick-ups and drop-offs clear and consistent, to help customers move to the conventional system. Eve Wiggins emphasized that the customers’ use of conventional service is self-directed; they have the choice to use Wheel-Trans and/or conventional service.

Vice-Chair Heisey noted that the Queens Quay Station elevator is out of service again and acknowledged that it is not a TTC elevator. He suggested that ACAT bring this item to the TTC Board to highlight the impact on customers needing the accessible route.
 
For the 2017 Doors Open Toronto event, the TYSSE subway stations (Downsview Park and York University) being showcased are not accessible, but that is not being communicated to the public. Staff will follow up.

The next ACAT Executive Quarterly Meeting with CEO and Chair is scheduled for September 14, 2017 at City Hall.

Questions and Comments from Committee Members

Craig Nicol noted that working with Metrolinx on several projects has been a challenge for ACAT members. The recommended deputation should include a request to Metrolinx to discuss the remaining station designs for the Eglinton Crosstown Project.

Andy Byford stated that it is good business for Metrolinx to take suggestions from ACAT at this stage of the project rather than having retrofit issues after completion. Andy Byford noted that input from ACAT/TTC is valuable, as not only Metrolinx customers would use the Eglinton Crosstown.

Raymond Dell’Aera asked who would be responsible for issues that may arise after the project is completed - TTC or Metrolinx. Andy Byford advised that any issue that would arise would be the responsibility of Metrolinx.

Andy Byford informed ACAT that a letter would be sent to Metrolinx insisting on their cooperation in the design review process.

Back to Items Discussed

14. CEO Update    

TTC CEO Andy Byford thanked the ACAT members for their outstanding service to TTC Staff.

He stated that, for the Doors Open Toronto 2017, it has been made very clear that the stations are not accessible to persons using mobility devices. Discussions are being held with the City of Toronto regarding the Relief line.

With respect to the Queens Quay Station elevator, a formal letter would be sent to the managers of the property to provide a permanent solution to address the reliability of the elevator.

15. Review of Correspondence    

Nil

16. Other / New Business    

Raymond Dell’Aera thanked all the ACAT members who have indicated interest in volunteering to staff the ACAT booth at the People in Motion Show and to everyone who sent in Accessibility tips for the new users of conventional accessible transit.
 
Craig Nicol raised concerns with respect to overcrowding issues. It makes it difficult and impossible for some individuals to use the system during rush hour. The procurement of additional subway trains to service Line 1 when the automatic train control is activated and the construction of the Relief Line are critical to the accessibility of the subway system. It is a good opportunity for TTC and ACAT to lean on the City with respect to having relief lines. The overcrowding does not only affect people with disabilities but every customer using the system.

AODA is currently reviewing the Accessibility of Transportation on the Integrated Accessibility Regulation. DRS to discuss this further.

Tom Richardson noted that members can contact their Members of Parliament about the need for a Relief line particularly considering the expected influx of people because of the new GO train project.

Louise Bark stated that TTC should ensure that Streetcar Operators are fully trained to assist customers with disabilities.

Back to Items Discussed

17. Next Meeting    

The next meeting of ACAT will be held on Thursday, June 29, 2017, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1900 Yonge Street, 7th Floor Boardroom.

18. Adjournment    

The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

Temi Omope
Recording Secretary