UPDATE: We just returned from the forum. There were lots in attendance this evening with a wide variety of comments. Andy Byford spent an August day in a wheelchair to experience what it’s like to commute and found areas such as narrow lane ways, inconsistent signage, subway platform gaps and general public awareness of those with accessible needs as opportunities for the TTC.
Most comments made during the public forum were related to the daily lives of the individuals that rely heavily on the TTC. There were some comments regarding the contracted taxi drivers, which makes up 60% of the Wheel-Trans fleet, and their service quality. I wonder if the taxi companies and TTC mandate the taxi drivers to go through AODA customer services training.
We also received some questions that we brought up during the 1-on-1 sessions with different TTC staff:
Q: What is being done about mid-block stop for new streetcars?
A: TTC will be coordinating with the City for curb cuts for mid-block stops.
Q: What is the progress of the Wheel-Trans cancellation policy?
A: Currently testing 4-hour cancellation, will likely be 6-8hrs. No timeline to when the testing would be completed and new cancellation policy in place.
Q: Why are some Wheeltrans buses empty and won’t pick a passenger up?
A: It depends on the route schedule of the driver and if they have space in their schedule they can call schedulers to check if they can pick up the additional passenger
Q: Why are elevators not accessible to those with limited upper body strength?
A: Must follow regulatory elevator guidelines, will need to bring up this to the appropriate persons in TTC as there’s opportunity with two new stations coming and with over 50% of existing stations that needs to be made accessible.
Overall the forum is an excellent opportunity for customers to voice their opinions good and bad to the team at TTC. There’s definitely a growing number of seniors that require accessibility in the transit system and was well represented at the forum this evening. When the actions from the forum is released it will be shared here.
Transit is without a doubt an integral part of enabling the lives of all. For those with accessible needs transit is incredibly important and without the appropriate infrastructure and culture in place, the system would not enable those that rely on it heavily.
This Wednesday, September 17, TTC will be hosting the 2014 Public Forum on Accessible Transit. This forum will give opportunity for the general public to provide suggestions and insights to improve the accessibility of public transit in Toronto.
We will be there covering the forum. If you have any questions you would like us to bring up, leave a comment below!
Some of the feedback that they’ve incorporated from the 2013 forum include:
- Upgraded Wheel-Trans online booking system.
- Customers can now input and manage their list of addresses, without calling in.
- Hired seven new reservationists to reduce Wheel-Trans phone booking wait times.
- Improved our Operating procedures:
- Drivers required to check that the ramp functions before leaving the garage.
- Drivers equipped to deploy the ramp manually if the automated system fails mid-route.
- New information decals on all vehicles – installation in progress
- Customer information campaign – coming this Fall.
- Blue seats in Priority Seating areas – over next two years.
- Lowered new subway trains by ½”.
- Identified platform height issues at certain Line 1 stations (e.g. Eglinton).
- TTC is working with ACAT to develop and test solutions to this issue.
- Testing new signage at Bloor-Yonge, including improved elevator signage.
- New signage to be rolled out across subway system.
- Discussion of previous Public Forum concerns and progress made.
- Review of new service initiatives.
- Opportunity for the community to voice concerns or suggestions for accessible transit improvement.