Vehicle and Station Design
Below is a summary of the accessibility issues and suggestions for improvement raised by customers at the 2017 Public Forum regarding Vehicle and Station Design. 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.
Conventional bus design
- “Change the bus right front wheel well three or four inches trim down. The glass at the bottom of the front door of the bus should be taken out and changed to steel.”
- “The securement devices on buses should be made flush and pulled out, not sticking out.”
- “The second wheelchair space on the TTC bus is much longer than the first one and it is easier to get into. They should be the same.”
- “The big bus jolts too much with pain for me.”
- “Bus ramps should have more gradual edge on it, more slanted.”
Unfortunately, the suspension components under the wheelhouse prevent any further modification of this area. The glass in the lower front door allows the driver to see the bottom of the door opening outside and is required for safety reasons.
The securement system has been compressed as much as possible as a result of earlier reviews with ACAT. There is no room behind the wheelhouse wall to embed the retractors further. That said, the TTCs bus suppliers continue to refine bus designs and make improvements for future bus orders.
With respect to mobility device position size, we agree, and on newer buses this space has been equalized between the two positions.
Suspension performance in city buses is very similar between brands. Air springs are used to soften the ride. TTC is currently working with our bus suppliers to improve the ride quality for future bus orders.
TTC will take the comment regarding ramp edges under advisement for future study and discussion with our bus suppliers.
Conventional stop design
- “As a blind person, my concern is about these streetcar platforms in the centre of the road. Spadina, for instance. I couldn't see myself crossing from the sidewalk to the middle of that road.”
It is recommended that customers with vision loss who are new to travelling on public transit take advantage of orientation and mobility training offered by organizations such as CNIB. Accessible pedestrian signals are in place at platforms on St Clair Avenue West and will be included at other intersections with streetcar platforms when the signals at each intersection are upgraded.
- “On St Clair West, the streetcar doors do not allow enough time to board and off load. They close on me. I would like to know if the timing on the doors can be adjusted to allow more time for people with disabilities traveling with a mobility device.”
Thank you for your feedback. TTC is reviewing the low floor streetcar door closing time and procedures to ensure safety for our customers.
Subway train design
- “Accessible entrances on new subway trains have a low ceiling. There should be signage outside those doors near the accessible icon. Being very tall is also a disability.”
The low ceiling design of the new subway trains is similar to the previous generation of subway trains and accommodates over 95% of the population comfortably. The low ceiling area is required for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Unfortunately, this system cannot be located on the outside of the train as trains are already the maximum size permitted by the tunnels.
Regarding the placement of the accessible decal, the main goal in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is to indicate where are the locations of accessible seating areas (as opposed to notifying the low ceiling area). This is consistent across all TTC transit vehicles.
Subway station design
- “Put blue tactile markers on subway platforms to delineate a designated entrance for customers with mobility devices. This way they know where to wait to board the subway and they can board first.”
- “All subway stations should have a washroom.”
At this time, the accuracy of stopping trains on the platform currently prohibits adding any kind of marker on the floor. However once Automatic Train Control (ATC) is implemented on Line 1 (Yonge-University) in a few years, 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. TTC has currently no approved budget to incorporate ATC Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) and Line 4 (Sheppard).
Incorporation of public washrooms at existing 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.
Boarding subway trains
- “Fix the gap between subway trains and the platform”
- “At Dundas Station the gap between the train and the southbound platform is very wide and my wheel has fallen between the gap on several occasions. Could we install a deplorable ramp onto one of the train cars to help assist with this issue?”
In response to ACAT and customer feedback, the TTC Board approved a strategy at their November 13, 2017 meeting which is expected to resolve, to the extent possible, the gap between trains and platforms at subway stations. As a first step, work to improve platforms at priority stations to reduce the gap, including Dundas, is planned for 2018. This work will ensure that customers can independently use the subway and will support the Family of Services strategy.
Deployable ramps have been reviewed but are not suitable in a frequent rapid transit service environment like the TTC subway, and do not support independent subway use by people using mobility devices.
Wheel-Trans vehicle design
- “Most of the current Wheel-Trans vehicles have very rough suspension and some operators feel obliged to drive as quickly as possible, even when turning, which makes it painful for people with disabilities like osteoporosis, arthritis, OI, and muscle weakness. Will the new mini-buses have better suspension and gentler rides?”
- “Use buses that don't shake and bounce on bumps.”
- “How long will the ramps be on the new mini-buses? 12:1 ratio? or 10:1? I’m concerned if they're too steep as it's hard on our chairs and hard on us.”
- “Carry oxygen tanks on Wheel-Trans.”
- “Introduce large buses not smaller buses. I'm told my scooter will not fit on new bus. New technology and design are making scooters larger. A two passenger scooter would not fit”
- “The new vans are high to step up into and should have been assessed by larger population. No ramp for walkers.”
- “Taxis are often difficult to get into due to lack of room for stiff legs.”
Thank you for your comments. We can report that the new Wheel-Trans buses feature a leaf spring suspension system, which is an improvement on the previous air system. They also feature a unibody frame that will provide a more stable and sound ride.
The side ramp on the new ProMaster bus is 4.2:1 at street level, and the rear ramp is 4.8:1 at street level. Provincial law requires that the ramp be a minimum of 4:1. The 12:1 ratio is for buildings only as vehicles do not have access to enough sidewalk to safely allow for a ramp as long as the 12:1 ratio.
Customers presently do travel with oxygen tanks on Wheel-Trans. These must be secured and for personal medical use.
Wheel-Trans will be looking at a variety of different sized vehicles to accommodate customers with various types of disabilities. All approved and designated personal/medical mobility devices must be safe and must be able to be secured by the operator for them to be allowed on Wheel-Trans buses.
The vehicles are approved by the City of Toronto and authorized for Wheel-Trans use. We encourage our customers to try the new vehicles as we are confident the other new features will be enjoyable. We are required by our Board to only contract our services to licensed taxi cabs within the City of Toronto. A request can be made to limit travel on sedan vehicles however there may be less availability to travel on a given day if a vehicle type is excluded.