Vehicle and Station Design
Below is a summary of the accessibility issues raised by customers during the meeting, on comment forms, and in comments to TTC Customer Service regarding Vehicle and Station Design. Customer comments are accompanied by a summary of the current status of each issue.
Issue: Ramp reliability and operator procedures
“Should drivers lower the ramp for seniors travelling with their groceries?”
“Regular buses with ramps should have to put ramp down for walkers - what is this nonsense that a ramp will be put down for wheelchairs only?”
“I was at a stop in the winter and the ramp would not come down.”
Anyone can ask the bus Operator to deploy the ramp, including passengers with mobility devices, walkers, canes, strollers, or buggies. Operators are trained to assist passengers in mobility devices on to the bus ahead of other passengers. We are aware of reliability issues with our bus ramps and we are working to resolve this problem. All Operators are now required to check that the ramp functions at the start of their day.
Issue: Conventional service vehicles design
“TTC accessible buses are too narrow from their doors and ramp because sometimes I get stuck during my drive …. Maybe new TTC accessible buses will improve a little bit more, space narrow for my power wheelchair, in future.”
The TTC has worked closely with vehicle manufacturers and ACAT to improve the accessibility of our buses. A major challenge of current low-floor bus designs is the restricted passageway space between the front wheel-wells. This area cannot be made wider. TTC always purchases the widest front doors available and ensures that all components at the front of the bus are arranged in such a way as to not impede the entrance area. The TTC’s new articulated buses have been designed to make the 90-degree turn at the front of the bus easier to navigate.
TTC and ACAT continue to communicate the limitations of low-floor buses to mobility device manufacturers to encourage them to design devices that we can accommodate. More information on the accessibility features of our buses and space limitations at mobility device locations is available on the TTC Easier Access website.
Issue: Priority seating
“Perhaps you should consider putting the designated seating for people who are going to sit with disabilities on the other side of the car away from where the wheelchairs go because I have got on and there's a person with disabilities sitting there and they have a hard time moving and that's the last person I want to ask to move because they need that seat. Why not have separate seating for wheelchair users and people seated?”
In Fall 2013, TTC will be standardizing the Priority Seating areas on our vehicles. This will include a Priority Seating area for customers with mobility devices (generally two sets of flip-up or flip-down seats per bus/subway car), and another Priority Seating area for customers with disabilities, seniors, and pregnant women. New highly visible information decals will be added to all Priority Seating areas.
Issue: Boarding subway trains
“Sometimes there is a difference in height between the subway cars and the platforms of two inches.”
“There are sometimes problems with the level of the train not lining up with the level of the platform. Three men had to lift me up in my chair and carry me on.”
“Subway - station floors and subway platforms not level - especially new trains - sometimes I can't get in.”
Issues have been identified with the vertical height difference between subway train floors, including that of the “Toronto Rocket” train and subway platforms. Normal track and wheel wear can affect floor heights of subway trains by up to 20 mm. The new Toronto Rocket trains could contribute up to 10 mm of the height variation primarily due to new (unworn) wheels, and height variances at some station platforms. TTC engineers are working on options to reduce the height difference between the trains and station platforms to correct this problem.
Issue: Escalator directions
“Where there are two escalators in the station, it would be good that one is used to go up and the other is used to bring the passengers down. Sometimes I have observed that at the subway stations, both escalators are working going up, which is rather inconvenient. Even if there is an elevator, it's always better to have one escalator going up and one going down.”
“Escalators should function at all subway stations - one going up and one going down to the train platforms at all times.”
TTC staff is reviewing the policies for escalator directions across all TTC subway stations, in order to balance the needs of all users, including parents with children, seniors, and customers with disabilities, with other considerations, such as rush hour pedestrian flows. Based on this review, TTC may make changes to the direction of some station escalators.
Issue: Wheel-Trans vehicle design
“Seats at the back of Wheel-Trans buses are too close to the wheel hump.”
“Wheel-Trans vehicles should have a phone for drivers to phone customers.”
The design of Wheel-Trans buses is in compliance with Provincial standards and was reviewed by ACAT. The design is intended to accommodate as many passengers with mobility devices as possible in the space. Wheel-Trans Operators have direct contact with Wheel-Trans Dispatch who can contact a customer if required in the event of an emergency or other unusual situation.
Issue: Contracted Wheel-Trans taxi design
“Improve accessible taxis - they need to have a step to rest feet and proper arm handles!”
“Wheel-Trans front seats should be for the people who need it most.”
“Dislike Wheel-Trans' taxis - not friendly for seniors. Should purchase Wheel-Trans vans, or more friendly vehicles for seniors.”
All accessible taxis are required to meet provincial standards. If there are physical limitations that prevent the use of accessible taxis please call Wheel-Trans Customer Service at 416-393-4111 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The front seat will be provided to the customer who has that note on file unless another customer with a similar note is picked up first, then it will be on a first come first serve basis. Customers who have difficulty entering/exiting a sedan taxi can ask to be restricted to buses and minivans only.