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 Service Improvements. Customer comments are accompanied by a summary of the current status of each issue.

Issue: More elevators

“Make the conventional stations more accessible for Wheel-Trans users.”
“Elevators should be installed at all subway stations.”

Response:

The TTC has developed plans to retrofit all subway stations by 2025, with elevators and other accessibility features. Currently, 31 stations are accessible. This year, Pape Station will be made accessible and both Lawrence West and Dufferin Station will be accessible in 2014. Elevator construction is expected to begin at Coxwell and Woodbine Stations this year. Additional information is available by visiting the TTC Easier Access website.

The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension will open in 2016. All stations along this subway extension will be accessible with elevators and both up and down escalators between all station levels.

Issue: Elevator / escalator reliability

“Please ensure all subway elevators work consistently (do repairs at night). People with disabilities also require transport as much as everyone else.”
 “You order Wheel-Trans the day before, but you don't know the subway elevator isn't working until the morning, so you have to take a taxi. If you want people to take conventional service, you need to fix this problem.”

Response:

All elevators in the system must be maintained monthly as per CSA-B44 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators. We attempt to schedule these shut downs so that each elevator will be maintained for the same time period each month. Elevator mechanics are also requested to put the elevator back into service on request whenever possible and safe.

Sometimes elevators must be shut down for emergency maintenance. When this occurs, Transit Control is notified and promptly reports the shutdown to our general elevator maintenance contractor. Currently employees must report elevator and escalator outages to Transit Control as they become aware of them; however, real-time monitoring is under development.

Outage information is provided for customers in several ways:

  • The TTC “Lift Line” is available 24 hours per day by phone and provides information about elevators and escalators which are out-of-service. It is updated as soon as Transit Control is informed about outages.
  • Customers can sign up for “e-Alerts” to receive automated email notifications about elevators that are out-of-service or returned to service.
  • TTC also provides this information on the Service Alerts page on TTC.ca, through the official @TTCnotices Twitter account, and on the Platform Video and Station Information Screens in TTC subway stations.

Issue: More service, less crowded

“The TTC needs to expand East-West accessibility of regular service.”
 “Why are there no shuttle buses between subway station that have elevators and those that do not?”

Response:

East-west accessible services will be improved in downtown Toronto in late 2014 when the new accessible streetcars are introduced on the 505 Dundas route. All streetcar routes are expected to be fully accessible by 2019. The TTC does not currently have the resources to deploy shuttle buses linking accessible and inaccessible stations, or to supplement inaccessible streetcar routes; however, most inaccessible stations can be reached using our network of accessible buses.

Issue: Increased Wheel-Trans service

“More Wheel-Trans buses so that you can get rides both ways.”
“I cannot understand why the Wheel-Trans buses are underutilized. I have never seen more than 2 to 3 people on the buses.”
“Too many rides on waiting list.”

Response:

There are currently 201 Wheel-Trans buses in service along with approximately 150 accessible taxis and 700 sedan taxis. Each trip request that a customer makes is scheduled individually. Due to the high demand for service, approximately 2% of customer requests will not be accommodated on a daily basis. Unfortunately, that means that Wheel-Trans cannot guarantee that both rides of the customer's return trip request will be scheduled. Wheel-Trans has always attempted to maximize the use of buses, but there are other factors involved such as travel patterns, requested times, and maximum time allowed onboard. Customers can, however, book same day service to the closest accessible subway station with a minimum of four hours advance notice.