Passengers with disabilities will ask for additional accessibility at the TTC board meeting (Toronto, Canada)

Passengers with disabilities will ask for additional accessibility at the TTC board meeting

The new TTC Board is expected to address ongoing efforts to improve the accessibility of the transit system at its first meeting on Thursday. Advocates of people with disabilities, however, believe those efforts do not go far enough, nor fast enough.

“Honestly, I’m quite surprised,” said Franklyn McFadden, a transit user and accessibility advocate who depends on an electric
wheelchair.

McFadden, 32, will see how TTC’s new board of directors analyzes the purchase of 48 new minibus The new TTC Board is expected to address ongoing efforts to improve the accessibility of the transit system at its first meeting on Thursday. Advocates of people with disabilities, however, believe those efforts do not go far enough, nor fast enough.

“Honestly, I’m quite surprised,” said Franklyn McFadden, a transit user and accessibility advocate who depends on an electric wheelchair.

McFadden, 32, will see how TTC’s new board of directors analyzes the purchase of 48 new minibuses worth $ 9 million. With accessible vehicles for wheelchairs, the transit system will be extended.

“The new improvements do not go far enough, especially
because the new minibuses work like minivans,” McFadden told CBC Toronto.

Minibuses do not fit all wheelchairs, TTC admits

A TTC report indicates that sometimes buses can only accommodate one wheelchair at a time. The report estimates that there are up to 10 Wheel-Trans customers in Toronto, whose wheelchairs are so large that they do not fit in the new vehicles.

“As the population ages, it is likely that many more depend on mobility equipment that gets bigger and more cumbersome, and I do not think this minibus is appropriate for the TTC,” McFadden said.

According to the report, the TTC is trying to secure larger vehicles.

In a statement to CBC Toronto, the TTC said: “This choice of vehicles allows us to offer mobile equipment to customers, and if a customer has a specific need or needs a special service, our Wheel -Trans customer service team will be there to help him.”

40% of TTC stations are not suitable for wheelchair users.

At the first board meeting in 2019, members will also talk about upcoming stations to gain access to the elevator and improve accessibility: the Runnymede and Wilson stations. Both projects were approved in September 2018 for approximately $ 14 million.

Currently, 45 of the 75 stations of the system can be accessed and improvements are being made at five stations: Royal York, Dupont, Wellesley, Yorkdale and Chester, according to TTC.

TTC began in 1990 to make metro stations accessible. By 2025, all subway stations must be completed. This means that an average of three seasons per year will be completed, according to a TTC report.

But that means now that about 40 percent of transit stations are unreachable.

“We should be more ahead with the elevators than we are,” said lawyer Adam Cohoon, 38.

“It seems like we’re just staying below the deadline, but getting Wilson and Runnymede, two of the most complicated stations, is a good thing.”

In a statement to CBC Toronto, the TTC said: “Some of our stations need a major renovation, but we have a plan and are working hard to meet the [2025 deadline].”

System failures caused a transit rider to feel unwelcomed on TTC

Since many stations are still not accessible, Cohoon travels only a few times a year by metro and only in the center of the city center. He said that the crowding in the trains made them even less accessible because people in the electric wheelchairs do not fit.

“The regular system is saturated and we are occupying more space, it is one of the things that makes you wonder where you are really looking,” said Cohoon.

Shelagh Pizey-Allen, Executive Director of Transit Advocacy Group TTCriders, is concerned that the provincial government’s plans to adopt the Toronto metro system will also affect ongoing efforts to make it more accessible.

“The province’s plan to break TTC raises serious concerns about accessibility, from higher fares on the metro to the responsibility of maintaining the lift.”

Other concerns about accessibility Pizey-Allen will push the TTC board this year, including the suspension of transit fees and the addition of visual notifications for service updates.

“Deaf and hard of hearing people have contacted us about the fact that they cannot find out about delays, subway stops or emergencies that impede the transit of people,” he said.

She said that this service would be more necessary with the removal of the collection booths and the TTC staff in the field.

*Credits/Source:
Featured Image:
Lauren Pelley/CBC News
Story:
Yahoo News via CBC News

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