Toronto Transit Commission accessibility

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Accessibility for people with disabilities on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) system is incomplete but improving. Most of the Toronto subway and RT was built before wheelchair access was a requirement under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA). However, all subway stations built since 1996 are equipped with elevators, and elevators have been installed in 30 stations built before 1996, including one station that was expanded in 2002, Sheppard-Yonge). Thirty-six of Toronto's 69 subway and Scarborough RT stations are accessible (Spadina is only accessible on the Bloor–Danforth line). In 2014, the TTC began introducing new low-floor vehicles on its streetcar network which will replace the vehicles in the current fleet over a four-to-five year period. In December 2015, the TTC retired its first lift-equipped accessible buses, which it was introduced in 1996, making all 170 bus routes 100% low-floor accessible.[1]

Subway and RT[edit]

Vehicles[edit]

Sample active route map on display with the interior mockup of the new Toronto Rocket subway car

All subway cars, the T1, and Toronto Rocket, offer level boarding for customers with wheelchairs and other accessibility needs. They have priority seating identified in blue, and flip-up benches at designated wheelchair locations in each car. The location of these can be found by an exterior accessible icon beside the door, or on the Toronto Rockets, an additional exterior blue light beside the door.

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, the Toronto Rocket subway cars have twice the accessible seating compared to the T1 subway cars. The Toronto Rockets have visual displays (showing the next stop along with arrows pointing to which side doors will open on at the next stop) and electronic route maps to assist customers who are hearing-impaired and also verbally announce the side doors will open on at the next stop.

Stations[edit]

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.
  • 19 of the 32 stations on the Yonge–University line are accessible.[2] St. Clair West station became accessible in 2016 when the elevators from the bus/streetcar platforms to the subway platform were completed, but an elevator from bus/streetcar to street level is still under construction.
  • Two of the five stations on the Scarborough RT are fully accessible, while one station is half accessible.

Planned elevator installation[edit]

In a 2015 report the TTC stated that its target of having all stations accessible by 2020 will not be met, and that it cannot make all subway stations accessible by 2025 unless full funding is made available by governments. In March 2017, TTC CEO Andy Byford reaffirmed the agency's commitment to meeting the 2025 goal, pointing out that at one point in its plan, seventeen stations will be under construction simultaneously.[4] The completion plan for elevators in remaining stations is as follows:[5]

  • 2017: Coxwell, St. Clair West (Street to bus/streetcar) and Woodbine - construction in progress
  • 2018: Dupont[6] and St. Patrick[7] - construction in progress
  • 2019: Royal York,[8] Runnymede,[9] Yorkdale, Wellesley
  • 2020: Bay, King, Runnymede, Wilson
  • 2021: Chester, Lansdowne,[10] Keele, Sherbourne
  • 2022: College, Donlands, Spadina (University-Spadina line)
  • 2023: Castle Frank, Christie, Greenwood, Lawrence, Summerhill
  • 2024: Museum, Old Mill, Rosedale
  • 2025: Glencairn, Islington, Warden

The remaining inaccessible Scarborough RT stations appear to have been removed from the plans, as the RT is expected to be replaced with an extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line.

Buses[edit]

Blue indicator lights on both sides of the route sign indicate the bus is low-floor and wheelchair friendly

Since the retirement of the last lift-equipped Orion Vs on December 4, 2015, all 170 bus routes have been 100% low-floor accessible,[1] using low-floor buses (Nova Bus LF Series and Orion VII). 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 identified by blue lights located on both sides of the front route display.

Wheel-Trans[edit]

Wheel-Trans bus

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.

Streetcars[edit]

As a result of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, which requires all public transport services in Ontario to become accessible by 2025, the TTC began to make its streetcar system wheelchair accessible on August 31, 2014, when the first two new low-floor Flexity Outlook streetcars entered service on 510 Spadina line. The new streetcars have also been used on 509 Harbourfront line since March 29, 2015 as well as the new 514 Cherry streetcar line when it launched on June 19, 2016. The new streetcars will be rolled out onto 11 other streetcar lines (as more arrive and enter service), replacing the CLRV and ALRV streetcars by 2024. 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."[11]

With the January 3, 2016 service changes, route 510 Spadina will be normally served only by the wheelchair-accessible Flexity streetcars.[12] By March 2017, the 509 Harbourfront streetcar line was fully converted to all Flexity streetcar operation as well.[citation needed]

Visual impairments[edit]

Service animals are allowed on the TTC during all hours of operation.

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 vehicles are equipped with automated audible stop announcements. Surface vehicles and Toronto Rocket trains also have visual LED stop displays.

In 2015, the TTC announced tests of a new External Route Announcement (ERA) system for buses (similar to the system already in place on the commission's Flexity streetcars), that will indicate the route, direction, destination or next major stop as a pre-boarding announcement.[13] The announcements will be made through a speaker located on the outside of the vehicle, near the front door when the doors are opened. All TTC vehicles will be equipped with this system by the end of 2016 in compliance with ODA requirements.

References[edit]

External links[edit]