Access - Winter 2016
Message from Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans
Listen to an audio version of the Message from Eve Wiggins, Head of Wheel-Trans (MP3, 6.7 MB)
Season’s greetings! It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us once again. At Wheel-Trans we’ve been working feverishly on implementing various pieces of the 10-Year Strategy.
As we shared previously, on January 1, 2017, we will be expanding our eligibility criteria to include sensory, mental health and cognitive disabilities – this in addition to continuing to provide service to customers with physical disabilities. We are also adding a new category of eligibility – conditional. This category applies to customers with a disability where environmental or physical barriers limit their ability to use conventional transportation services on a consistent basis. There will be no change to our two existing categories – unconditional (permanent) and temporary.
We have completed the new application form and will make it available to new customers soon on our website. Currently, our focus is on new customers only. There will be no immediate changes to your service or eligibility for existing Wheel-Trans customers.
In addition to the changes to eligibility and the application process, we are also updating the appeals/assessment process.
More information on this can be found later on in this newsletter.
I know that some of our customers have expressed concern about the Family of Services model. We will be moving very slowly with the implementation of Family of Services. In fact, we have no plans to implement any changes until after the snow is finished for the season. In spring 2017 we will be launching a pilot project with customer volunteers who are comfortable using both specialized and conventional services to help us to build what the permanent program should look like in the future. We are looking to our customers to tell us what adjustments need to be made in the conventional system to make Family of Services something you’d be inclined to use on a regular basis or whenever you can.
All of the changes to our service will be made slowly and all of our customers will be supported through this transformation. Please remember that this is a 10-year strategy – change is not going to happen overnight.
On behalf of the TTC, I’d like to wish all our customers and your loved ones happy holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. I look forward to our progress together in 2017.
Community Bus Service
Listen to an audio version of Community Bus Service (MP3, 1.7 MB)
All Community Buses serve local bus stops along the route, but they can also be flagged down at any point along the route.
403 South Don Mills
The 403 South Don Mills Community Bus route provides accessible service in the South Don Mills area. It operates between Don Mills Shopping Centre, Flemingdon Park Shopping Centre and East York Town Centre, generally in a north-south direction.
The 403 (Don Mills Centre-East York Centre) branch operates from approximately 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 pm, from Monday to Friday only.
Aislin O'Hara: Project Lead - W-T Customer Service
Listen to an audio version of Wheel-Trans Employee: Aislin O'Hara (MP3, 6.7 MB)
I am very excited to have joined the team here at Wheel-Trans and have been fortunate enough to meet many of you over the past few months. I joined Wheel-Trans as the Project Lead for Wheel-Trans Customer Service on September 26, 2016. Previously, I worked in a similar position at the specialized transit agency in Peel region, TransHelp.
My role here at Wheel-Trans focuses on two of the 13 initiatives of the 10-year strategy: Eligibility and Customer Relations. As you are aware, eligibility changes are coming January 1, 2017 and it is part of my role to prepare Wheel-Trans for these changes and to ensure compliance with the AODA and Human Rights Code. I am also responsible for exploring all the ways we interact with our customers to ensure the best possible customer experience is achieved.
Outside of the office I spend most of my time playing with my 10-year-old daschund, Badger. I also enjoy exploring the city and trying new places to eat with my friends and family.
A message from ACAT
Listen to an audio version of the Message from ACAT (MP3, 4.5 MB)
Best wishes from ACAT. We had a very busy year working towards our goal to have a fully accessible transit system for all.
The following are some of the issues that ACAT members were involved with in 2016:
- The committee started the year assisting the TTC with the implementation of the new Wheel Trans 10-Year Strategy plan. This plan was developed in order to comply with the AODA requirements to expand the Wheel Trans eligibility criteria to include all people with disabilities. More information on the 10-Year Strategy.
- Members continue to participate in the training of bus and streetcar operators and collectors to ensure their understanding in accommodating riders with disabilities and seniors.
- Some members have been involved with the Transit Fare Equity group which focuses on getting a fair fare system for low income riders.
- The committee is actively advocating for sustained funding to assist in accessibility initiatives projects and to accelerate the Easier Access Program to meet the 2025 AODA requirement.
- Members worked on amending ACAT’s Terms of Reference to strengthen its’ role in providing advice to the TTC.
There is much advocacy and work behind the scenes that ACAT members are doing to ensure accessibility and inclusion.
In closing on behalf of all ACAT members, I would like to wish all Wheel-Trans riders a happy and safe holiday season.
Eric Gottlieb: Wheel-Trans Dispatcher
Listen to an audio version of Wheel-Trans Employee: Eric Gottlieb (MP3, 3.4 MB)
As a Wheel-Trans dispatcher my responsibilities include scheduling service adjustments, working on the priority line to assist customers who are stranded or have missed their ride and to generally make travelling easier for everyone at Wheel-Trans. I also work with emergency services and transit control on a daily basis. I've been a Wheel-Trans dispatcher for approximately 8 years, but previously I was a TTC streetcar driver. What I like most about my job is that I'm able to help move operators and customers around the city by finding the most efficient solution for stranded customers.
I try my best to attend public forums as often as possible so that I have a chance to meet riders that I have assisted. One of the greatest things about working at Wheel-Trans is the team effort from my co-workers in dispatch and service support to help move our customers. Outside of the office, I enjoy going to dinner with my family, going to concerts in the city and seeing stand-up comics. I'm also a big fan of both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Holiday Service: Important Changes to Your Regular Service
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Regularly scheduled trips
Many facilities and programs close over the holiday season, so we will be cancelling all regularly scheduled trips (trips that automatically reoccur every week) for the period of December 18, 2016 – January 2, 2017 on your behalf. Regular trips for dialysis won’t be cancelled.
You can still make travel arrangements during this period, but you’ll need to book all the trips you require. If you know in advance that you’ll need your regularly scheduled trips during the above mentioned period, please let us know beginning December 11 by visiting the Wheel-Trans Booking Portal or by calling the Reservation Office at (416) 393-4222.
Service to transfer points
Some transfer points will have service changes over the holiday period, as the local business ours change. For your safety, our service to these three transfer points will reflect the local business hours, as listed below:
Midland and Steeles Tim Hortons
4228 Midland Avenue:
- December 24: Tim Hortons closes at 3 p.m. Last pick-up and drop-off at 2 p.m.
- December 25: Tim Hortons is closed.
- December 26: Tim Hortons opens at 6 a.m.
- December 31: Tim Hortons closes at 6 p.m. Last pick-up and drop-off at 4 p.m.
- January 1: Tim Hortons opens at 8 a.m.
Shops on Steeles and the Tim Hortons on Don Mills and Steeles
2890 and 2900 Steeles Avenue East:
- December 24: Last pick-up and drop-off at 6 p.m.
- December 25: Tim Hortons is closed.
- December 26: Tim Hortons opens at 6 a.m.
- December 31: Last pick-up and drop-off at 3 p.m.
- January 1: Tim Hortons opens at 8 a.m. (the mall is closed).
Centre Point Mall
6464 Yonge Street:
- December 24: Last pick-up and drop-off at 5 p.m.
- December 25: Centre Point Mall is closed.
- December 26: Centre Point Mall opens at 9:30 a.m.
- December 31: Last pick-up and drop-off at 5 p.m.
- January 1: Centre Point Mall will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Service to major malls
In order to deal with congested parking lots at shopping malls, beginning Sunday December 11, we’ll provide service to the following malls only to the entrances listed below:
- Yorkdale Shopping Centre: Shoppers Drug Mart entrance
- Scarborough Town Centre: TD Bank entrance Fairview Mall: Shoppers Drug Mart entrance
- Cloverdale Mall: Dollarama entrance
- Sherway Gardens: Shoppers Drug Mart entrance
Service to all other malls will remain unchanged. Please remember you're responsible for carrying your parcels, bags and boxes. Be safe, and have a happy holiday season!
Get ready to tap, PRESTO is coming to Wheel-Trans
Listen to an audio version of Get ready to tap, PRESTO is coming to Wheel-Trans (MP3, 9.7 MB)
The PRESTO electronic fare payment system continues to rollout across the TTC, and is just a few days away from being available on all Wheel-Trans vehicles and accessible taxis. The contracted sedan taxis (approximately 2,200 vehicles) will be on the PRESTO system sometime in 2017. The exact timing is still being worked out.
Currently, all streetcars, more than 1600 TTC buses, at least one entrance at 58 subway stations and all streetcars have PRESTO card readers. By the end of this year, PRESTO will be available at, at least one entrance of every subway station, and on all TTC buses. However, the PRESTO rollout will continue well into 2017. The remaining subway station entrances that do not yet have PRESTO will have the new accessible paddle-style fare gates installed, and the TTC will begin to phase out tickets, tokens and passes, in preparation for its full adoption of PRESTO. While the TTC’s transition to PRESTO continues over the next year, you will still be able to use tickets, tokens and passes.
Concession cards will also be introduced for students and children. Senior concessions are available now. In addition, the number of locations to buy, load and set a concession on a PRESTO card will also be increased throughout 2017, and self-service machines will be installed at each subway station entrance.
While 2016 is a momentous year at the TTC for the implementation of PRESTO, customers will continue to hear more about the PRESTO rollout on the TTC in 2017.
PRESTO is right for you now if you are an adult customer who:
- Primarily pays with tokens or cash; and
- Rides a route or uses a subway station entrance that has PRESTO
PRESTO cards can be purchased:
- Online: prestocard.ca
- Telephone: 1-877-378-6123 (follow options 7-1-1 for TTY) or 1-800-855-0511
- In person: At Gateway Newstands in various TTC subway stations, as well as at the TTC’s Customer Service Centre, 1900 Yonge Street. Visit Our PRESTO pages to see the Gateway Newstands locations and learn more about PRESTO on the TTC.
More information about PRESTO on Wheel-Trans is available on all Wheel-Trans buses and from the drivers of the accessible taxis.
Appeals/Assessment Process Changes
Listen to an audio version of Appeals/Assessment process changes (MP3, 6.3 MB)
New customers that are interested in applying to Wheel-Trans, will need to follow a new application process. Rather than new applicants having to phone in to schedule an in person interview – they can complete an application to share information from their perspective and from a health care provider of their choice about their abilities to use both the conventional and specialized transit system. This will allow applicants to share with Wheel-Trans confidentially what barriers they face when travelling on TTC conventional services. Upon receipt applications will be reviewed and graded:
- Incomplete/ missing info – sent back to applicant
- Ineligible – applicant is advised
- Eligible (temp/conditional/unconditional)
- Request for functional assessment to learn more about the applicant and their abilities with regards to travelling on transit.
The functional assessment is scheduled by the Customer Service Representative (CSR) by phoning the client.
- Assessments will be specific based on the disability/barrier that the applicant is facing when travelling on conventional transit.
- Confidential assessment results are sent back to Wheel-Trans.
- Wheel-Trans notifies applicant in writing of results (which may include a welcome package if determined to be eligible)
The Appeals Panel consists of three members (one healthcare professional, one transit specialist and one community member with a disability).
- Applicants will be requested to complete an appeals form
- A CSR will then contact the customer via phone to schedule appeal interview. The applicant must attend in person and can bring up to two representatives with them
- Interview is completed and confidential results are sent back to Wheel-Trans
- Appeals panel decisions are final
- Applicants can reapply after 1 year or sooner if they have a significant change in their health/ability to take conventional transit
Avoid Busy Phone Lines
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Instead of calling us, visit the Self-Booking Website or the Rideline (416) 397-8000 to get information, and book or cancel your trips.
Listen to an audio version of Coxwell Station (MP3, 2.9 MB)
Work started in fall 2014 to make Coxwell Station accessible to all customers, regardless of their level of mobility. A barrier-free path will be provided to all levels of the station including installation of:
- Two elevators to access eastbound and westbound platforms
- Two accessible fare gates
- Three automatic sliding doors
- Improved signage including wayfinding
- CCTV – Security cameras Station Improvements
- Re-paved bus loop
- Enhanced lighting with new light standards in bus loop
- Replaced fence around bus loop perimeter and walkway
- Landscaped design adjacent to the bus loop
- Improved walkway between Danforth and Strathmore including the recently announced community art project. The station is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.
Winter Safety Tips: Clear your ice and snow
Listen to an audio version of Winter Safety Tips: Clear your ice and snow (MP3, 4.8 MB)
For your safety and the safety of our drivers, please make sure all ramps, driveways, and sidewalks are clear of ice and snow. If you require assistance with snow removal from your private property, phone 311 and the City will direct you to a local agency that may provide this service.
Here are some more great tips to help keep you safe this winter:
- Ice grippers for extra traction on slippery surfaces can be added to the rubber tips on the end of canes.
- Shoes and boots with deep treads will help provide extra traction.
- Service will likely be delayed when it snows or is unusually cold, so be sure to dress accordingly.
- Make sure that your mobility device is in good repair and wheels are properly inflated with lots of tread.
Wheel-Trans service during inclement weather
If by 3 p.m. the day before you are booked for Wheel-Trans service, the weather forecast calls for a snowfall of eight cm or more, we encourage customers to cancel non-essential rides. If it snows on the day of service, go to Wheel-Trans Booking Portal or call the RideLine at 416-397-8000 for further updates and instruction. Rides cancelled during a snow advisory won't be included in the Late Cancellation/No-Show Policy.
Due to the possibility of busy roads and inclement weather, please allow an additional 30 minutes travel time when booking your rides.