TTC has processes in place to obtain, monitor, evaluate and respond to customer feedback on accessibility matters. Feedback may be provided through our Customer Service Centre by telephone, fax, TTY, in-person, Twitter, or online. Considerable feedback from people with disabilities, is also obtained through the annual TTC Public Forum on Accessible Transit.

Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT)

During 2016, ACAT and its subcommittees continued to be deeply involved in advising on and reviewing plans, vehicle and station designs; customers communications; Wheel-Trans strategy, policies, and eligibility criteria; and operating procedures of TTC services. ACAT’s activities in 2016 included:

  • advising TTC staff on the  Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy and Transformation Program, including revised eligibility criteria
  • reviewing designs for accessibility improvements at Bay, Keele, and Lansdowne Stations
  • participating in a video shoot for the customer education campaign regarding people with mobility devices boarding TTC buses; and
  • review of emergency evacuation procedures, including advising on how to improve these plans to better serve customers with disabilities

In addition, ACAT’s Terms of Reference and membership criteria were updated in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code definition of “disability” and to increase the maximum number of advocates with disabilities on the Committee. These updates will support changes to Wheel-Trans operations and eligibility as part of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy. ACAT will continue to provide advice to TTC staff in 2017 to support efforts to achieve the objectives of the 2014-2018 TTC Accessibility Plan.

Public Forum on Accessible Transit

The TTC and ACAT jointly hold annual public meetings to obtain customer input on accessibility matters in order to inform our accessibility improvement initiatives. The ninth annual Public Forum on Accessible Transit was held in September, 2016 to discuss TTC accessible conventional and specialized services, vehicles, and facilities. This event, which is popular with TTC customers with disabilities, provides an opportunity for TTC Board members, senior staff and ACAT members to hear directly from customers about their accessibility priorities, complaints and commendations, and requests for change.

In response to customer feedback, the 2015 and 2016 Public Forums were held at the Allstream Centre at Exhibition Place, a venue which featured improved acoustics and accessible amenities as compared to previous venues. While customer feedback on the new venue was generally positive, we have received feedback about the inconvenience of the location at Exhibition Place. As a result, staff are again reviewing potential alternate locations for 2017, with a focus on locations which are closer to subway lines and that are also able to accommodate large numbers of simultaneous Wheel-Trans pick-ups and drop-offs, can accommodate over 100 people using mobility devices, have level access between street and venue (i.e., no elevators), and have sufficient accessible washroom capacity.

This year, approximately 225 individuals attended the event in person. For customers unable to attend in person, the Public Forum was again streamed live online, and the video was archived on the TTC’s YouTube Channel Link opens in Youtube. Many others followed the conversation on Twitter or submitted comments through an online survey or to TTC Customer Service. Fewer customers attended the event in person this year when compared to the last several years, likely as a result of the four additional Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy consultation sessions held in the summer (discussed below), and the availability of the live stream viewing option.

Several important accessibility matters were raised during this meeting, including suggestions for improvement, concerns, and general comments regarding:

  • Wheel-Trans booking/customer service wait times
  • Wheel-Trans eligibility, no-show, companion, and trip cancellation policies
  • locations of conventional bus stops
  • better real-time trip information (e.g., in text formats) on TTC vehicles
  • education on accessibility for all TTC customers

A summary of the event and TTC responses to customer comments has been made available in the Public Forum on Accessibility section of the TTC website. In total, over 300 individual comments were received.

TTC and ACAT will continue to hold Public Forums on Accessible Transit, on an annual basis.

People in Motion Show

In 2016, TTC continued its presence at People in Motion, which is a large disability-related annual trade show. This event provides an excellent opportunity for the TTC to reach out to and educate attendees – many of whom are current Wheel-Trans customers – on the improved accessibility of the TTC’s conventional transit network.

The TTC booth featured the newest 12-metre TTC bus for customers to practice mobility device boarding and alighting. Positive feedback was received as this bus features a more spacious front entryway and larger mobility device spaces compared to previous buses. TTC also featured accessible route trip planning station, Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy information, TTC and Wheel-Trans information handouts, and ACAT information. Staff were on hand to respond to questions and collect feedback for review. TTC will again participate in the People in Motion Show in 2017.

Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy

Following a recommendation by the TTC Board, consultations were held in summer 2016 on the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy. To ensure TTC developed the most customer-focused approach, the recommended changes and migration plan involved significant outreach and input from external partners. Over a span of three months (June – August 2016), TTC engaged the public, advocacy groups, seven peer agencies, as well as with ACAT at multiple points as we iterated on the eligibility changes and processes as well as the general intent of the Wheel-Trans 10 Year Strategy. Four public meetings were held across the city and all were well attended.  As well, TTC conducted over 40 meetings with 54 agencies and groups representing a range of interests, including local, provincial, and national agencies; medical and legal communities; municipal and provincial stakeholders; and major exhibitions. In addition to the above, Wheel-Trans undertook a validation exercise using a small sample of customer volunteers to assess the new process, including the viability and suitability of various functional assessments.

Significant changes arose from the public, agency and volunteer feedback. Notably, the new Wheel-Trans application form was reduced in length substantially, and Wheel-Trans removed the requirement to physically interview every applicant, thereby reducing the burden on the customer to travel to apply for Wheel-Trans. As well, focus of assessments changed from evaluating an individual’s disability to evaluating an individual’s ability to use conventional transit. The extensive public and stakeholder engagements were instrumental for staff to learn directly from the community it serves and for members of the public to share their concerns, fears and hopes for change. The result is a new customer-focused application process expanded to cover the new eligibility criteria and categories, structured around a customer’s ability to use conventional transit. These changes are a sign of things to come as part of the Wheel Trans 10-Year Strategy, as all policies, processes, and procedures will be amended to put the customer and their needs at the forefront of decision making.

The next stage of consultation sessions will be held in April 2017 to provide the public with an update on the Wheel-Trans eligibility and policy changes, and to provide new information on the Family of Services Pilot Program, Mobility Transfer Hubs, the new smaller more nimble vehicle, and the proposed Community Bus Routes.