Vehicle and Station Design
Comment:“Emergency announcements in train and on platform for deaf people.”
Response:Emergency announcements are provided on platforms through the Platform Video Screens and over the public address system. TTC staff are also available to assist in emergency situations. An upgrade of the subway train communications system is expected to allow for emergency announcements to be sent directly to the display screens on subway trains in the coming years.
Ramps at Union Station
Comments:“The ramp out of Union is too steep for people using canes.”
“The new ramps are very long in some places. At union station one ramp has 5 switch backs. It is excessively long and requires several tight turns. I doubt a scooter can manoeuver it with ease. With a manual chair, I could never do it. Why such a long wheel with tight turns? Why force wheel chair users outdoors at Union Station (to the GO doors) when everyone else can take a short jaunt across to the train station.”
Response:The ramps at Union Station have slopes of 1:12 or less and meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code. Customers may also choose to use the elevators and escalators at Royal Bank Plaza on the north side of Front Street, or at Brookfield Place.
In addition, the completion of the Union Rail Station project will result in the removal of the existing stairs connecting the subway and rail stations and replacement with level access between the two stations. Once construction is complete, customers will no longer need to use the ramps between the subway and rail stations.
Subway station elevator design
Comments:“How about making all the elevators voice automated to better cater to individuals with different disabilities?”
“Can elevators be designed for customers without upper body strength?”
“Inconsistent signage on elevators.”
Response:Based on our research to date TTC has not been able to find such technology to voice automate elevators which would function reliably in a subway environment.
TTC is aware that some of our older elevators have signage and buttons that are inconsistent with current TTC wayfinding standards. The buttons and signage in and around these elevators will be upgraded in 2015 to be made consistent with our current standards.
Washrooms at subway stations
Comments:“Can TTC design single washrooms to accommodate people with support workers of the opposite sex (example-male customer with female support worker)?”
“Can additional washrooms be designed between interchange stations, i.e. Bloor and Finch, for customers with physical needs who may not be able to travel the full distance without a break?”
Response:Support workers of the opposite sex could be accommodated through the use of universal washrooms, which are now required as per the Ontario Building Code for new construction. TTC will add this requirement to our design standards, for terminal and interchange stations.
Incorporation of public washrooms at in-line stations cannot be accommodated given high retrofit costs due to limited space availability and required services (water, heating, climate control), cost of security and maintenance, etc.
Ramp reliability operator procedures
“Suggestion regarding ramps not deploying and drivers' concern about injury. Add handle like those on Wheel-Trans.”
“Driver says the ramp isn’t working.”
In response to comments raised at the 2013 Public Forum on Accessible Transit, TTC has implemented new measures to reduce ramp failures. Operators are now required to check that the ramp functions at the start of their day. In 2014, this has resulted in about 50% fewer complaints to TTC Customer Service regarding ramps not working. In addition, new hooks have been installed on all buses. The hook allows the Operator to assist the hydraulic motor when the ramp is unable to start its deployment due to dirt and ice. The purpose of the hook is not to deploy the ramp manually, rather it is to help the motor by breaking any seal created by debris around the edge of the ramp in the bus. If the ramp will not deploy with the assistance of the hook, it is malfunctioning and the defect will be reported and repaired. The Operator will immediately advise a Supervisor who will advise the next bus arriving that a customer with a mobility device is at the stop and was unable to board the earlier bus.
Conventional bus design
“It is difficult to board a bus using a mobility scooter. I strongly urge the creation of a "practice zone". This would be a stress-less environment where those in scooters can practice boarding and de-boarding vehicles safely.”
The space allocation for wheelchairs and scooters in the design of TTC buses is a result of Provincial and Federal legislation related to accessibility. All TTC buses are compliant with this legislation. It should be noted that these regulations are based on wheelchair dimensions and maneuverability, not scooters that vary in dimensions, shape and turn radius. Mobility device securement hardware is designed and positioned in our buses to maximize the use of available space for onboard parking. TTC does showcase its newest accessible bus each year at the annual People in Motion show, where customers can practice boarding and de-boarding. We are also looking into new travel training options as part of the Wheel-Trans 10-Year Strategy.
Conventional stop design
“At many bus stops, the magazine and newspaper boxes block the access for the bus ramp.”
“Can islands be constructed at key intersections along the streetcar network? This way, people can know which locations are accessible and can be traveled to and used.”
Magazine and newspaper boxes blocking bus stops is best handled by Public Realm of the City of Toronto. In practice, we commonly ask for the City to install railings specifically designed for these newspaper boxes and situated away from areas on the sidewalk/platform that would block bus door access. At locations where these newspaper boxes are blocking the ramp, please inform TTC customer service and 211 to address this issue.
TTC will review whether islands can be constructed at additional locations as opportunities arise through street redesign projects (e.g. Roncesvalles Avenue). However, due to narrow streets, it is unlikely that many new islands can be created. However, please note that all on-street streetcar stops will be made accessible through the implementation of curb ramps at these stops, even if there is no island.
Subway train design
“Designated handicapped seats are not as easily identifiable on Line 2 cars compared to the Line 1 cars where the signs are on the exterior of the trains.”
All subway trains have an Access symbol located on the exterior of the train at the door where the accessible seating area is located. Inside the train, the accessible seating area is shown by Priority Seating decals and blue seats.
Subway station design
“The bumpy area before people get on to the subway should be blue or a different colour where the door is going to be opening to.”
“In subway stations, I don't always know where the wheelchair door on the train will be, because there is no marking on the platform itself.”
“Has any thought been made for those persons with canes, walkers, hip, back injuries that would like to use the integrated services but the walk is troublesome. Realize moving sidewalks are in airports are expensive, but useful?”
“Designated Waiting Area (DWA) – there should be a light to push to indicate to the driver that someone with a disability needs additional time to get on.”
The yellow color and textured surface of the platform edge warning tiles were designed in consultation with the CNIB and carefully chosen to warn visually impaired customers of the presence of the platform edge. The use of any other colour could potentially be a safety hazard.
The accuracy of stopping trains on the platform currently prohibits adding any kind of marker on the floor, however once Automatic Train Control is implemented, the stopping accuracy will be much improved and we will be in a position to consider implementing ways to improve wayfinding to subway doors, to ease platform congestion and improve boarding and alighting.
Installing moving sidewalks would not be feasible in the vast majority of TTC stations, due to a number of structural and other technical issues. In the few locations where feasible, they would be very expensive and often cover only short distances, which would limit their benefits. Moving sidewalks in airports are installed to cover long walking distances. No plans are currently in place to install moving sidewalks in any of our subway stations. Note that a moving sidewalk used to service the long corridor in Spadina Station (between Line 1 and Line 2), but had to be removed due to serviceability and maintainability issues.
It is the responsibility of the subway operator/guard to observe the platform and ensure that sufficient time is given for customers to board the train. Having the train crew provide assistance to customers to board would cause significant impacts to train service. However, with the on-going implementation of PRESTO and the upcoming transition of Collectors to customer service agents, in the future a customer would be able to communicate from the DWA to an agent to ask for assistance.
Boarding subway trains
“Regarding the gap issues, what you did at one end in Eglinton station should be done at both ends in all stations.”
In 2015, TTC staff working with ACAT members to designed, tested, and implemented an improved platform edge at Eglinton Station in the vicinity of the elevator to reduce the “vertical gap” space at this station and improve safety for all customers. Staff are now reviewing to see which other stations can benefit from similar improvements to reduce vertical gap heights. Staff are also reviewing means to ease boarding for customers using mobility devices across the “horizontal gap”, or the space between trains and platforms; however, this is challenging given that a minimum of 2 inches of clear space must remain between trains and subway platforms to accommodate the side-to-side sway of trains as they pass through stations. Not all subway stations have gap issues, and for those stations that have issues, they can be either horizontal or vertical or both and cannot be treated the same way. The TTC is currently looking into gap issues with a view of prioritizing the most problematic locations and is investigating various material/options on how to deal with this matter.
Wheel-Trans vehicle design
“Put WT signs in back windows of vehicles to inform cyclists about people getting in/out of vehicles.”
“When you are on a Wheel-Trans bus, I think it might cut down on frustration to have a display that tells you who is getting off next, which is the route, and that might solve a lot of questions as, why is he passing my street? When is the next stop? When am I getting off? Why are they getting off first?”
Thank you for your comments. We are redesigning the Wheel-Trans vehicle appearance and working with the City to find a holistic solution to co-exist with bicycle lanes.
We appreciate your suggestions and this will be reviewed with future processes and vehicle designs.
“Finch terminal station - during homecoming rush hour why is escalator coming down (with no one on it) and not up - narrow stairways are always jammed.”
Finch Station has four escalators between the subway platform and fares concourse levels. Two of the escalators operate in the up direction at all times, and two in the down direction. Where escalators operate in the down direction, TTC aims to keep escalators operating in the down direction at all times, even during the PM rush hour, to accommodate people with mobility impairments who have difficulty using stairs, but who may not require an elevator.
Contracted Wheel-Trans accessible taxi design
“I think for the Wheel-Trans mini vans should be a little bigger so Wheel-Trans customers should have a choice rather than taking all buses because I cannot fit on the mini van and sometimes when I need to get there I don't have a choice.”
Your comment will be reviewed in future vehicle consideration at the next taxi contract talks.
Contracted Wheel-Trans sedan taxi design
Comments:“Every time they send me a bus, I'm the only one on it or one other person, and yet you get jammed three people, often two or all three needing the front seat. And some of these cabs, these modern ones, are smaller cars. Why isn't Wheel-Trans requiring the cab companies if they are going to service Wheel-Trans that they use full-sized cars.”
“Taxi can’t hold 2 walkers. Please do not schedule pick up of more than 1 person with walkers for those vehicle.”
“Sitting in taxis - front seat sitting preferred in order to stretch my legs. Back seat is too crowded.”
Response:Wheel-Trans is reviewing the capacity on all of our vehicles to meet service. Wheel-Trans also assists the Metro Licensing & Standards Division of the City regarding vehicles on the approved List for Service. Unfortunately, Wheel-Trans cannot dictate which vehicles drivers purchase as they may have other requirements.
The capacity on a sedan taxi is currently set at three and can only have two regular folding walkers in their trunk at a time; however, this will be reviewed. Customers requiring the front seat must request it at time of booking, but this cannot be guaranteed as we have multiple customers that may have the same request.