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 29 stations built before 1996, including one station that was expanded in 2002, Sheppard-Yonge). Thirty-four 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. 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 4-5 year period.
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 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 along with arrows pointing to which side doors will open on at the next stop) and are the first trains to use a computer-generated announcer voice calling out each stop (For instance: "Next station is: Rosedale, Rosedale station" then "Arriving at: Rosedale, Rosedale station") along with electronic route maps to assist customers who are hearing impaired. As of summer 2015 the reconfigured audio announcement systems on some TR trains also announce the side doors will open on, "Doors will open on the left" and "Doors will open on the right" respectively.
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.
- 18 of the 32 stations on the Yonge–University line are accessible. Downsview, opened in 1996, was equipped with elevators when it opened and was among the first accessible stations. 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 2015 report the TTC reveals that the original 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. The installation plan for elevators in all remaining stations is as follows:
- no completions planned
- St. Clair West - construction in progress (Subway-to-bus/streetcar elevator only. Completion of street-to-bus/streetcar elevator is TBD)
- Ossington - construction in progress
- Coxwell - construction in progress
- Woodbine - construction in progress
- Royal York
- Spadina (University-Spadina line)
- Castle Frank
- High Park
- Old Mill
The remaining inaccessible Scarborough RT stations appear to have been removed from the plans, as the RT is expected to be replaced with a new line.
Since the retirement of the last GM New Look buses on December 16, 2011, all 170 bus routes have been accessible, using low-floor (such as Orion VII or lift-equipped buses (such as Orion V). 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 while lift equipped high-floor buses have green indicators.
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.
For over 150 years, the TTC's streetcar system was not accessible to people with disabilities. As a result of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, which requires all public transport services in Ontario to become 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, and have also been used sometimes on the 511 Bathurst line during special events at Exhibition Place. The new streetcars will be rolled out onto 11 other streetcar lines, replacing the CLRV and ALRV streetcars over the next 4-5 years. 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.
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. Buses and older TTC rail vehicles including, CLRVs, ALRVs, T1s and Scarborough RT cars use a recorded human voice, while newer Toronto Rocket trains and Flexity streetcars use a robotic, computer-generated voice.
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. The announcements will be made through a speaker located on the outside of the vehicle, near the front door when the doors are opened. Four buses at Wilson Garage which operate on routes 7 Bathurst and 11 Bayview have been equipped with this system.
- "TTC All 170 TTC bus routes now accessible". Toronto Transit Commission. 2011-12-20. Retrieved 2012-02-19.
- "Accessible Transit Services Plan - 2012 Status Report". TTC. Retrieved March 2015.
Table 1: Elevator and Easier Access Installations Completed To Date
- "Easier Access Program Schedule". Projects. TTC. Retrieved November 2015.
As of 2015, 19 stations are funded for construction, while 13 stations do not currently have full funding
- St Patrick Station Easier Access Project
- "TTC Makes Dumbest Decision Ever - Former Head Warns". Theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved 2012-02-19.