Customer Information and Customer Service
Customer Education on Accessibility
"TTC needs to educate the public on proper seat etiquette, getting up from seats, knapsacks hitting people, etc."
"Is TTC going to create an advertising campaign to teach the general public about TTC etiquette and letting people with mobility devices on first?"
"The 'Handbook for Accessible Travel' is out of date and requires revision."
"Please provide badges to people who are pregnant or have invisible disabilities: look to London."
We agree that more education for our customers is needed, and an etiquette campaign is planned for 2017 to raise specific behaviours such as these.
Regarding the Handbook for Accessible Travel, it will be revised to reflect the most current information, and a new version is expected to be made available in 2017.
With respect to badges, ACAT is currently advising TTC on means to allow customers to convey that they have invisible disabilities. We hope to have more information available in the near future.
Better Information At Stops
"It would be extremely useful to have the streetcar platform marked in a way that indicates an approximation as to where the ramp will be. Perhaps paint the area blue and add the wheelchair symbol."
"Place directional arrows on the streetcar platforms indicating which way to exit the platform. If the mobility vehicle turned in the incorrect direction, it is very difficult to turn the vehicle 180 degrees into the correct direction."
"TTC does great job with large crowds during rerouting but it'd be best to have ASL interpreters on site, at least at busiest spots."
"At the Union Station streetcar boarding area, there is a sign indicating the arrival times of 509 and 510 streetcars. It would be very beneficial if the new streetcar were identified on that sign. For example, if a new streetcar is arriving, place the letter "L" next to the number - 509L - 9 minutes. I would be able to better able to plan my trip if I know when the new streetcar is arriving at Union."
Thank you for the feedback; we will assess the possibility of making these changes in 2017.
It is not practical to have ASL interpreters readily available for subway closures or surface route diversions; however, starting in late 2017, Station Attendants will be introduced at subway stations. These staff will be equipped with tablets and able to type information to communicate if needed.
We will look into making streetcar accessibility information more readily available using passenger information displays.
Better Information On Vehicles
"I'm hard of hearing, and one of my biggest concerns is that on the TTC, especially the subway system, we have all kinds of announcements going on within the train. However, the LED screens that are in the new cars only say to listen to the announcements. I'm hoping you can appreciate the irony of a sign that says listen to the announcements."
"The communication announcements in the subway are very bad. We don't understand what is being said."
"Today I got on an Exhibition streetcar, but was not told I would have to get off and take a shuttle bus."
"The Priority Seating signs on TTC buses are at eye level are placed for someone sitting. They need to be at eye level for someone standing."
"Why did the TTC install new 'Doors will open on the left/right' audible announcements on the new Toronto Rocket trains? Some people sit facing the rear, so which side the doors open on differ."
"Door opening side announcements should be made earlier as I need the maximum amount of time to maneuver and ask people to move out of my way to get out of the train."
"When there is a problem on the subway, it would be nice if the communication department from the TTC could inform the bus drivers ahead of time so they can inform us, the passengers, that there's a problem with the subways so we can make quick decisions on how to take other routes to get to where we are going."
We are working toward being able to provide announcement text on passenger information displays wherever possible and are pursuing the technological changes required to do so. We do check subway cars when they are taken out of service so that nobody is left behind. We have also been working to improve the audibility of platform announcements by replacing speakers and simplifying messaging. We also hope to upgrade the public address system in the near future.
Supervisor staff have been reminded of informing to our operators the importance of the shuttle service and accommodation.
Each bus design is slightly different and only has so many places for Priority Seating decals; however, staff will assess opportunities to make changes going forward.
Door opening side announcements are provided so that seniors and others with limited mobility can prepare in advance to exit the train. "Left" and "right" directional information is provided in relation to the direction of travel of the train. This information is provided in audible format to meet our corporate commitment under the AODA to provide information in audible and visual formats. That said, we will be reviewing all on board announcements with customers to make sure that they are as effective as possible.
We are currently upgrading technology on buses to allow us to communicate service alert information to customers using bus and streetcar routes as appropriate.
Customer information by mail
"Is there a newsletter that sends out updates about consultations, developments, and other items?"
There is a newsletter for Wheel-Trans customers, however, due to budget constraints, we are unable to send hard copy newsletters to TTC conventional transit customers about items of general interest.
Better Information in Subway Stations
"Tell us well ahead if train/bus is going out of service, so riders can plan options before it is too late."
"It is a major problem when elevators and escalators stop functioning. Information is critical in these instances."
"When the subways are down, posters should be placed at subway stations quickly so that we can see them visibly."
We will soon be providing information about the destination of next subway train(s) on passenger information displays and pre-boarding announcements. All buses and streetcars are now equipped with external route announcement system in addition to the existing destination signs. Although unanticipated short turns can happen, we are attempting to minimize them and will provide as much notice as possible.
We are working on ensuring digital signs (Station Information Signs) are placed at as many station entrances as possible to provide service information before you pay your fare. Elevator status is now posted at the bottom of passenger information displays using a distinctive blue banner. We are implementing an information system that will relay elevator status in real time.
Better Information on the TTC Website
"Make it easier to navigate the TTC website (e.g. interactive subway map) so that I can easily locate where on the platform the elevator or escalator is located at the station I am getting off at (e.g. next to subway car number 3)."
We are in the process of a complete redesign of ttc.ca which uses a very old and limited content management tool. The new site should launch by the end of 2017. However, please note that elevator and escalator location information is currently available online for each accessible subway station. Find your station at Schedules and Maps, search for your station, and then click on the Station Description tab.
Better customer service
"Bus drivers should pick up passengers using wheelchairs first at the bus stop."
"Buses get filled while driver lets everyone else on first. No room to go in with walker/canes."
"If I want to board a 506 streetcar at any designated 506 streetcar stop, can I expect the operator to help me in boarding and alighting?"
"When I came to Canada in the 1960s, if more than one bus was at an intersection, the buses would wait for passengers to transfer. What's one minute to spare? Why do bus drivers leave when they see a passenger running for a bus and are right there?"
Operators will ask customers to allow customers using mobility devices to board the bus first. However, Operators will not ask customers already on the bus to get off the bus to provide room for a customer with a mobility device who wants to board. We are constantly working to address crowding issues through changes to the schedule which may include adding additional service to meet the demand. We recently communicated with all Operators and Supervisors on the use of accessible stops and deployment of the ramp. We will continue to reinforce the requirements and educate on the needs of customers using mobility devices.
Our policy and procedures allow for streetcar Operators discretion to assist where possible, however, the Operator may also have physical constraints which may not allow for assistance to be provided to the customer.
Bus Operators are trained to accommodate any customer who is intending to use the service. There may be some cases where an Operator does not see an intending customer but this should not be the norm. However, depending on the time of day or frequency of service, this practice may not be in the best interests of other users of the road.
Better training: bus / streetcar / subway
“Bus drivers on regular routes still stop too far from curb.”
“Buses need to give elderly, pregnant, and people with disabilities time to sit before they depart.”
“Bus drivers must use the ramp, I use a walker.”
“Some operators they don't tell other riders to give a seat to riders with disabilities.”
“Subway train employees should give more time to get on and off the trains because people using wheelchairs don't have enough time to exit or enter.”
Operators are trained to align both the front and rear doors with the curb when servicing a stop on the street or when parking on a platform at a station. Operators are trained to be aware of the risk to safety that results when a customer is forced to step too far from the bus to reach the curb or vice versa. They are also educated on the difficulty some customers experience when forced to step up or down too great a distance to enter or exit the vehicle. In situations when aligning with the curb is impossible (e.g., cars parked too close to the stops, snow banks, construction). Operators are instructed to proceed to the first available, safe location for boarding and alighting customers.
Operators are trained to ensure they maneuver their bus, whether braking, accelerating or turning, in a manner that keeps their customers safe. Operators are trained to wait for all customers who appear to be unsteady on their feet to be seated or standing firmly and holding a stanchion before putting the bus in motion. Bus Operators should be waiting for all customers using mobility devices to be in place and secured before moving the vehicle. If this is not the case, please report the bus number, date and time to TTC Customer Service and we will address the issue directly with the Operator.
An Operator may not deploy the ramp if they think that the customer can board without it. However, the ramp is available for any customer who needs it, and the Operator must deploy it, on request.
The blue seats are intended for customers with a disability, which could be visible or not. Operators will ask customers occupying the blue seats if they would be kind enough to make a seat available. However, a customer already occupying a blue seat is not obliged to vacate the seat. In fact, this customer may have a disability which is not visible and, therefore, they also may require a blue seat.
Subway Operators are trained to keep the doors open until all the exiting and boarding passengers, including customers using mobility devices, are clear of the doorways.
Better training: Wheel-Trans
“Some drivers need customer service training.”
“Another thing, you must, must, must, give your drivers more sensitivity training. Drivers must not refer to customers as “wheelchairs”.
We will continue to provide drivers with sensitivity and awareness training in 2016.
“Can you help people understand that elevators are of priority usage for mobility devices and the elderly.”
“I would like it, the way how you have put an enhanced emphasis on the seats and the courtesy area, if you could do something about the elevators, because people rush onto the elevators, run to get to them and go upstairs and leave people in wheelchairs and scooters down on the platform.”
“There should be some sort of signage for wheelchair priority access to use the elevators”
TTC policy is that elevators are available for use by all customers and are not reserved for people with disabilities. Space on elevators is first-come, first-served, like all of our transit vehicles and facilities. Unfortunately, there will be times when you have to wait for an elevator. We do, however, encourage all customers to show consideration for those whose needs may be greater than their own.
The provincial Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) regulates the operation of escalators in Ontario. The TSSA has identified that escalators are for “Passengers Only” and that strollers, walkers or carts of any kind are not permitted on escalators. Therefore, TTC encourages all customers travelling with wheeled devices to use elevators, where available.
Fares for people with disabilities
“Accessible should also consider the financial barriers that people with disabilities experience.”
“In most other major cities, individuals with disabilities are afforded the same discount as Seniors, because it makes for a more accessible public transit. Might the TTC consider doing the same?”
“Fare hike proposed is the opposite of what low income people can afford.”
“When you advantage a group like the children, you disadvantage somebody else, and you're disadvantaging the disabled and the seniors.”
“Lower post-secondary student Metropass prices. Children and high school students generally do not have to pay for their own education. Why are their fares cheaper?”
The TTC is working with the City of Toronto and various other city agencies on the Transit Fare Equity component of the overall Poverty Reduction Strategy. Recommendations to the Board on how best to deal with providing subsidized transit for Torontonians who are most in need will be made in early 2016.
Children riding free was a decision implemented by Toronto City Council to not only provide relief to families with children, but also as a way to promote transit to the next generation of riders.
“Kipling subway station: separate turnstile for people with disabilities that accepts only tokens. As a senior citizen I am entitled to a reduced fare on the TTC. However, when the token is the only form of payment being accepted, it unfairly requires full fare payments from those who can least afford it and, as mentioned, are fully entitled to ride TTC for a reduced fare.”
“Why can't the driver on the regular TTC service take the fare and deposit it in the fare box when a customer cannot reach the fare box?”
TTC recognizes the current constraints with automatic subway entrances where payment is only possible by token or pass. This issue will be resolved in 2016-17 when the current accessible entry devices at Kipling, Eglinton, and Scarborough Centre Stations (Easier Access Portal Unit), and the accessible entry doors at automatic entrances on Line 4 (Sheppard) are replaced with new PRESTO-enabled fare gates.
Operators of buses are permitted to deposit fares into the farebox for customers who cannot reach the fare box, on request.
Purchasing fares - PRESTO
“With PRESTO, if we have to buy a pass, we might not have a need for a lot of rides per month. Will the pass be usable any month as long as rides exist on it to use?”
“Getting into a subway to buy bus fare from a collectors booth. Can Wheel Trans provide Fare media to the drivers? PRESTO may make things easier.”
The PRESTO card can be used like tokens, except there won’t be a need to carry a pocket full of them anymore. The card will hold virtual tokens which will be subtracted from it when it's tapped against a PRESTO reader, enabling the user to take a ride. The tokens (or value) will remain on the card for as long as they're not used up.
Purchasing fares will be made easier with the implementation of PRESTO at all subway stations and on all surface vehicles by the end of 2016. Customers will be able to load their fare products onto the card at subway stations, online, by telephone, or at various third party stores.
Safety and Security
“I believe that the TTC could make some money if they see people smoking inside buses, also spilling and doing all kinds of nonsense inside the TTC property.”
“Hire more staff to watch and observe the stations for people entering illegally. I witnessed myself which TTC is losing a lot of its revenue by letting them get away with it.”
“I take Wheel-Trans partly because I had an accident on the TTC in 2010 and partly because I've been repeatedly assaulted on the regular transit, and the regular transit is not responding appropriately to assaults on people with disabilities.”
TTC Transit Enforcement Officers routinely patrol stations and enforce TTC By-Law #1, which includes smoking, illegal entry and disruptive behavior. We assign special patrols and details to areas when we receive complaints or notice an increase if criminal or By-Law violations. During the preceding year Officers spent 1526 hours conducting illegal entry details at stations that resulted in 1179 cautions, 377 Provincial charges, 12 arrests and 1 Criminal charge. Unfortunately the TTC does not get any monies paid as a result of fines laid by the Transit Enforcement Officers.
All Transit Enforcement Officers receive training in General Investigations as well as training on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act regulations, the Ontario Human Rights Code, as well as the TTC’s own Code of Conduct. If you feel a Transit Enforcement Officer has not appropriately responded to your complaint you may call the Transit Enforcement Unit Complaints Coordinator at 416-393-3111 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessibility Advisory Committees
“Hire people with disabilities to go around the system and point out areas for improvement.”
“Can you please post ACAT subcommittee minutes online.”
“Why not start a GTA ACAT?”
The TTC has an Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT) with a mandate to represent the needs and concerns of seniors and people with disabilities and provide advice to the TTC on accessible public transit. ACAT members frequently bring forward areas for improvement to TTC staff. While ACAT Subcommittee meetings are not public, a summary of these meetings is reported at the monthly ACAT meetings, which all members of the public are invited to attend.
Metrolinx has an Accessibility Advisory Committee which is responsible for advising on regional transit issues in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Please contact Metrolinx for more information.
“You need to make TTC cognitively accessible, ditch numbers from subway line names.”
"What is the TTC doing to make the system cognitively accessible?”
Along with numbers we use symbols, colour and plain language specifically to help people with cognitive limitations. In addition, new Wheel-Trans eligibility criteria will welcome customers with cognitive impairments to the paratransit system, if they are unable to be trained to use the conventional transit system. More information will be available in 2016.