Below is a summary of the accessibility issues and suggestions for improvement raised by customers at the 2014 Public Forum regarding Customer Information and Customer Service. These suggestions were submitted during the meeting, on comment forms, and in comments to TTC Customer Service. Customer comments are accompanied by a summary of the current status of each issue.

Priority seating

Comments:

“More publicity re: priority seating.”

“Suggest customer education on accessibility.”

“Educating the public that wheelchairs should board first on buses. Some incredible drivers are already doing this.”

Response:

TTC recently launched a new education campaign on Priority Seating which will be used indefinitely throughout the TTC system. The campaign includes advertising in every streetcar, bus and subway car as well as signage on subway platforms. The launch of this campaign also used our video display screens at platform level and ads in the Metro newspaper.

Drivers make every effort to accommodate customers using mobility devices but also need to ensure your safety. A customer courtesy campaign that includes this type of messaging will be considered in 2015.

Customer information by phone

Comment:

“TTC bus stop schedules should be accessible by text.”

Response:

TTC has implemented the NextBus system which allows customers to send a text message to receive real-time next vehicle information for any TTC stop. Simply text the stop number to 898882 (TXTTTC). The stop numbers can be found by viewing your route on the TTC website and will be posted on every TTC stop pole in the future. Next vehicle times can also be found at Nextbus.com External link opens in new window and many third parties have developed smartphone apps that utilize this data. Operator assisted telephone service is available by calling 416-393-4636 daily from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm.

General customer information

Comments:

“Printed bus schedules should be available for people who don't have computers.”

“Have a web site that shows the elevators at the subway stations that are out of service, in real time.”

Response:

Customers may request printed schedule information to be mailed to them by calling the customer information phone line at 416-393-4636 (INFO).

Elevator 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.

Better customer service

Comment:

“Need Chinese speaking for Wheel-Trans reservations and customer service. Need to hire multicultural customer services to provide the elderly their languages speaking”

Response:

If any customer indicates that they cannot communicate in English, all of our representatives are able to access a multi-lingual language line which provides an interpreter to assist our customers.

Better training: bus and streetcar and subway

Comments:

“Mandatory disability training for TTC staff including developmental disabilities (autism).”

“TTC bus drivers need to be more trained to help a person with disabilities.”

Response:

All TTC Operators (drivers) are regularly retrained on accessibility and sensitivity issues. This training was developed in conjunction with ACAT and reflects real-life situations and customer needs. ACAT members attend these recertification training sessions and are available to share their experiences with Operators and answer questions. Starting in 2015, ACAT will also now be attending retraining sessions for Wheel-Trans Operators.

In 2014, TTC updated its AODA Customer Service training course, and also worked with ACAT to update its Serving Customers with Disabilities booklet, which all frontline employees are trained on.

Better training: Wheel-Trans

Comments:

“Regarding rides with some cab drivers… the cab drivers company should be more careful to assign and train drivers for Wheel-Trans services customer base.”

“Some (mini van and taxi) drivers not polite and don’t help with seat belt. Some don’t even get out to open doors in taxi. Some vehicles dirty, smelly and few of them drive scary and aggressive.”

“Tell mini van drivers not to use their cell phones”

Response:

Wheel-Trans is addressing specific issues with the taxi contractors to take corrective action with the driver, where necessary. Vehicles must be cleaned weekly and we conduct street audits to ensure compliance. Contractors have been directed to provide re-fresher Training on Safety, Sensitivity and awareness and Policy and Procedures. All contractors and drivers have been reminded that cellphone usage is not allowed when driving. Customers who witness this type of situation should mark down the date, time, vehicle number and if possible, the license number, and immediately report it to Wheel-Trans.

Elevator use

Comments:

“Another problem is the elevators. I live at Kennedy, out by Kennedy Station, and people just use that elevator to go up and down when they could pretty well walk up the escalator or take the stairs. Is there any way the TTC could perhaps put some signs that would let them know that, you know, the elevators are for people with a disability?”

“Generally communicate elevators are for disabled use only and strollers.”

Response:

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. 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 customers with wheeled devices to use elevators, where available.

Fares for people with disabilities

Comments:

“Why should it be free for a personal assistance support person?”

“When are you going to have a special card for people with disability - ex. Reduced fare.”

“There should be a discount on passes, monthly passes, regular fares, etc! Some of us can't work or are financially restricted.”

Response:

In 2014, TTC introduced the Support Person Assistance Card, which allows one (1) support person to accompany a person with a disability, without paying a second fare. Elimination of fares for support persons is a requirement of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

TTC is currently working with the City of Toronto to develop a policy framework for Toronto Transit Fare Equity for consideration by City Council by the end of 2015. It is expected that this policy framework will clarify assumptions; define goals; and ultimately identify any funding requirements for sustaining transit discounts for low income residents.

Fare payment at automatic entrances

Comment:

“1950s paper tickets for seniors are archaic and only work at manned stations - unacceptable for seniors who must often cross busy roads to access manned stations.”

Response:

TTC recognizes the current constraints with automatic subway entrances where payment is only possible by token or pass. This issue will be resolved when the PRESTO system is fully implemented at all subway stations over the next two years, and the current tickets, tokens, and passes are phased out.