Toronto Transit Commission accessibility
Accessibility for people with disabilities on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) system is limited but improving. Most of the Toronto subway and RT was built before wheelchair access was a requirement under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. However, all subway stations built since 1996 are equipped with elevators, and elevators have been installed in 25 stations built before 1996, including one station that was expanded in 2002, Sheppard-Yonge). Thirty-one of Toronto's 69 subway and Scarborough RT stations are accessible (Spadina is only accessible on the Bloor–Danforth line). In December 2011, the TTC retired its last inaccessible buses, making all 170 bus routes accessible. The TTC's streetcar network is not accessible; however, the fleet is planned to be gradually replaced with modern, low-floor vehicles by 2020.
Subway and RT
With the retirement of the last H5 series subway cars in June 2013, all subway cars offer level boarding for customers with wheelchairs and other accessibility needs including flip-up benches at designated wheelchair locations in each car.
The T1 series subway cars were the first trains to have:
- wider doorways,
- no centre line vertical stanchion bars.
All trains offer automated audible-only station stop announcements recorded by a TTC employee, Susan Bigioni, the new Toronto Rocket subway cars have twice the accessible seating compared to the existing T1 and H6 subway cars. The Toronto Rockets are the first trains to feature a "six-car fixed" articulated configuration with open gangways, allowing riders to move freely from one end to the other unlike previous TTC train models. They also have visual displays (showing the next stop) and are the first trains to use a computer-generated announcer voice calling out each stop along electronic route maps to assist customers who are hearing impaired.
Accessible stations are equipped with elevators, wide fare gates, and accessible doors. The TTC provides a phone number, 416-539-LIFT, which provides a recorded message listing any elevators which are out of service.
- All five stations on the Sheppard line, opened in 2002, are fully accessible and equipped with elevators.
- 17 of the 32 stations on the Yonge–University–Spadina line are accessible. Downsview, opened in 1996, was equipped with elevators when it opened and was among the first accessible stations; however, there is no accessible turnstile for people with disabilities. An elevator is being installed at Lawrence West. St. Clair West station has an elevator at the Heath Street exit, but the station is not considered accessible as it does not connect with all services in the station.
- Two of the five stations on the Scarborough RT are fully accessible, while one station is half accessible.
Planned elevator installation
In a March 2013 report the TTC suggested that the original target of having all stations accessible by 2020 may not be met due to current budget limitations. A 2013 report outlined the overall installation plan of elevators for all remaining stations:
- Dufferin Station - construction in progress/part of larger station renovation
- Lawrence West Station - construction in progress
- Coxwell Station
- St Clair West
- Royal York
- St Patrick
- Spadina (Spadina Line)
- Lawrence East
- Castle Frank
- High Park
- Old Mill
Since December 16, 2011, all 170 bus routes have been accessible, using low-floor or lift-equipped buses. Not all stops along an accessible route are accessible (in particular, many subway stations where buses terminate are not accessible).
The TTC's low-floor buses are easily identified by blue lights located on both sides of the front route display, lift equipped high-floor buses have green indicators and buses without wheelchair accessibly options do not have any indicator lights.
The TTC provides Wheel-Trans, a door-to-door accessible transit service, to registered clients who are unable to use the conventional transit system. In some cases, Wheel-Trans buses connect customers from their homes to accessible subway stations allowing the rider to use the conventional system for a portion of their journey. The service was created in 1975 as the challenges for people with accessibility needs became more public, and at a time where the entire surface system ran high-floor (inaccessible) vehicles and subway stations did not have elevators.
The TTC streetcar system is not accessible, as its CLRV and ALRV streetcars are high-floor. However, it is planned that the streetcar fleet will be replaced with modern, 100% low-floor vehicles which will be wheelchair accessible. However, former TTC manager David Gunn has criticized the new streetcar order: "Oh, and they’re not accessible. The floor height is about a foot. You won’t be able to load a wheelchair on the street. There will be ramps, but the floor height is going to be about a foot. The ramps will be too steep."
Service animals are allowed on the TTC during all hours of operation, and must be kept under control at all times. All stations have yellow warning strips with bumps at the edge of the platforms, and most have tactile floor tiles that assist persons with visual impairments in locating elevators and other accessibility features. All buses and streetcars are equipped with automated visual and audible stop announcements, while the older subway trains uses audible-only automated stop announcements consisting of a human voice. The new Toronto Rocket subway trains, which entered revenue service in 2011, have an audible and visual stop announcement system (similar to the ones on streetcars and buses) using a robotic voice.
- "TTC All 170 TTC bus routes now accessible". Toronto Transit Commission. 2011-12-20. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "TTC Makes Dumbest Decision Ever - Former Head Warns". Theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved 2012-02-19.