Customer Information and Customer Service
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 Customer Information and Customer Service. Customer comments are accompanied by a summary of the current status of each issue.
Issue: Improved signage and wayfinding
“Improve signage at subway for "Elevators" (especially at Bloor-Yonge Station, need clearer signage). Transfer from Bloor-Danforth line to Yonge-University-Spadina line in particular. Also, colour strips would help.”
“Make signage to elevator at Bloor-Yonge more visible.”
“There should be signage in the stations pointing out where the elevators are located.”
The TTC, with advice from ACAT, is continuously working to improve the signage and wayfinding in subway stations. New and improved wayfinding signage is being installed as part of all Easier Access station accessibility improvement projects. TTC will also review the elevator signage at Bloor-Yonge and determine how it can be improved.
Issue: Strollers on elevators
“Policy regarding strollers vs wheelchairs on elevators. Can strollers use escalators? Can a publicity campaign be done on courtesy?”
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 parents with strollers to use elevators, where available. Space on elevators is first-come, first-served, like all of our transit vehicles and facilities. We do encourage all customers to show consideration for those whose needs may be greater than their own.
Issue: Customer information by phone
“Need a phone number where blind people can call to get route schedules while at stops. One phone number where you could enter a stop number and hear when the next vehicle is arriving.”
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 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. In the future, we plan to upgrade our information phone line to include Nextbus arrival times, subject to available funding.
Issue: General customer information
“Do all of the subways stations have DWA areas? Can an accessible car stop by the DWA area?”
“I'm finding that in order to get around at some of the stations I seem to get confused as I don't understand the maps if I don't know the subway station itself. Instead of maps, written directions such as proceed to elevator near etc. then take elevator up to?”
“The TTC has some YouTube videos, but they aren't captioned. I would like to see them captioned.”
All TTC stations have designated waiting areas (DWA’s) on subway platforms. An accessible seating area is always located inside the first door of the subway car that stops nearest the DWA.
ACAT and TTC staff are currently developing detailed written subway station descriptions which are expected to be available on the TTC website by the end of 2013. These descriptions will identify the location of each station entrance, stairway, escalator, and elevator, in order to assist users who are unfamiliar with the station.
All TTC YouTube videos with spoken words now include closed captions, and captions will be added to all future videos before the videos are published.
Issue: Travel training for customers
“I have never experienced or gone to try the TTC accessible subway as yet, but I need someone to train me and my friend with his wheelchair on how to use TTC subway and be safe.”
“Facilitating access for riders with cognitive disabilities or mental health needs.”
“Can TTC set up a facility or go to seniors' homes to show them how to plan their trip on the internet?”
TTC is in the process of developing travel training material that will be released for free to any interested organizations, such as seniors homes and rehabilitation centres, who wish to teach people how to use the TTC. We expect this material to be available early in 2014. TTC also participates in the People in Motion show where we direct people in mobility devices how to use the bus.
Issue: Better customer service
“Bus drivers need more lessons on customer services manners.”
“The second observation is if you can instruct the drivers of every bus or streetcar to be more gentle, be more courteous.”
“Operators get upset with me because I take too long to board the bus. Do operators receive sensitivity training?”
“Drivers should be advised to be patient.”
All TTC Operators (drivers) are regularly retrained on accessibility and sensitivity issues, including AODA Customer Service training. 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. ACAT has also piloted a program to talk with and answer questions one-on-one with Operators at divisions around the city during route sign up days. Additionally, TTC runs a quarterly mystery shopping program to audit the level of customer service provided by our Operators.
Issue: Support persons and reduced fares for people with disabilities
“I do not think my support workers should pay a fare, as they are supporting me.”
“Can we have longer transfers for the escorts so it doesn't get too expensive when booking?”
Effective January 1, 2014, a support person accompanying a person with a disability will not be required to pay a fare when travelling on the TTC. Upon payment of fare by or for the card holder, the Support Person Assistance Card permits one (1) support person to travel with the card holder on the TTC on a single fare. Please see the Support Person Assistance Card section for additional information.
Issue: PRESTO fare cards
“I asked the TTC not to create any new barriers against us, that the TTC not deploy the PRESTO smart card until all the equipment for using it and the card readers can be used by all people including people who can't see or read print.”
“Please get presto cards for both wheeltrans, TTC.”
TTC and Metrolinx are working closely with ACAT to ensure that the PRESTO fare card system is fully accessible when it launches on the TTC’s new streetcars and in several subway stations in 2014. The current PRESTO equipment installed at select TTC stations will be replaced as part of these efforts. PRESTO will eventually be rolled out across all TTC stations and vehicles, including Wheel-Trans.