The Governments of Canada and Ontario and the City of Toronto are improving front-line service for TTC Wheel-Trans customers through recent investments in 120 new accessible vehicles, 18 new Access Hubs and substantial upgrades to IT, telecommunications and booking systems.
Julie Dabrusin, MP for Toronto-Danforth, Mayor John Tory, TTC Chair Josh Colle and Raymond Dell’Aera, Chair of the TTC’s Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit, today celebrated the improvements during an event at the Wheel-Trans depot on Commissioners Street in Toronto.
The Government of Canada and the City of Toronto are jointly splitting the $41 million funding for these projects as part of the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF), a federal-provincial funding agreement between the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto to keep Torontonians moving through investments in the repair, modernization and expansion of the city’s transit and active transportation networks. In total, up to $1.8 billion is being invested in Toronto through the PTIF program, which was launched on August 23, 2016.
“Investing in public transit infrastructure is key to growing the middle class. I’m pleased to see these modern and comfortable access hubs and new buses rolling into Toronto to better serve current users, support future growth and contribute to building more inclusive communities,” said Julie Dabrusin, Member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
“With the support of our Federal and Provincial partners, we continue to make tremendous investments in Toronto’s transit and transportation infrastructure,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “I want to thank them for their commitment to working with us through the PTIF program and through investments like this one to improve the TTC. Together, we are making Toronto’s transit system faster, stronger, safer and more accessible to everyone in every part of our city.”
These projects are part of ongoing efforts to modernize the TTC and Wheel-Trans. In addition to being smaller and easier to manoeuvre on side streets, the new buses are also more fuel efficient and less expensive to operate than the older vehicles. The Access Hubs provide customers with a comfortable, well-lit and dry place to wait when transferring between Wheel-Trans and other TTC vehicles, and the new telecommunications systems will improve how customers book and contact the Wheel-Trans operations centre.
“I’m extremely proud of the accessibility improvements we are making not only to Wheel-Trans, but to the conventional TTC system as well,” said TTC Chair Josh Colle. “By 2025 all of our vehicles and stations will be fully accessible giving all Torontonians more options for getting around the city.”
Details of the investment are as follows:
New buses - $21.47 million:
- Purchase of 120 new low-floor, fuel-efficient buses. New buses are required to replace buses that have reached retirement age, ensure vehicle availability and reliability, meet new legislative requirements for emissions, stay current with bus technology advancements and ensure a level of fleet modernization.
Wheel-Trans Transformation - $19.55 million:
- Construction of 18 access hubs at 12 locations to provide customers with a more comfortable place to wait when transferring between Wheel-Trans and other TTC vehicles. They are dry and well-lit, spacious enough for multiple mobility devices, have automatic doors and provide generous seating. While many transfers will likely occur at stations or in other existing facilities, the need to provide a limited number of transfer points where no such facility currently exists has been identified.
- New information technology systems to provide improved abilities to manage customer information, customer relationships and ride reservations. The funds will also enable a new Scheduling and Dispatch system, including additional customer communication channels such as e-chat and mobile technologies.
The Public Transportation Infrastructure Fund has been allocated to municipalities based on ridership, and will provide funding for up to 50 per cent of eligible projects until March 31, 2020. In total, Toronto will receive up to $1.8 billion from PTIF.