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Metrolinx Accessibility Plan 2012

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and its related regulations apply to a broad range of activities undertaken by Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), and its three operating divisions. This annual plan, and the upcoming multi-year accessibility plan, will provide an overview of the broad range of activities underway throughout the organization to address the needs of people with disabilities, both as initiatives to improve service to customers who have disabilities, and to achieve compliance with the specific items addressed in the AODA regulations.

Metrolinx is largely compliant with the AODA regulatory clauses applicable prior to, and including, January 2013. Areas requiring further attention include:

  • Completion of a corporate accessibility policy and accessible purchasing policy by the end of 2012
  • Establishing a method and resulting plan to introduce accessibility on the remaining bus routes
  • Ensuring accessibility of new materials on the many, constantly updated websites associated with the various Metrolinx activities
  • Completing the retrofit of six remaining rail stations and many bus stops and terminals.

Metrolinx is also in a good position to be compliant with the regulatory clauses coming into effect in future years, in most cases well in advance of the compliance date. With design of the Air Rail Link (ARL) and Rapid Transit vehicles and facilities taking place from the ground up, accessibility considerations can be applied early, so that they are well integrated with overall development.

With a continuation of the commitment to this area that has been displayed in the past, the services that Metrolinx provides will present an effective option for independent travel by people with disabilities in the GTHA.

2. Introduction

Currently, people with disabilities, including physical disabilities, cognitive impairment, developmental or learning disabilities and others, make up 14 per cent of the Ontario population, and this number is projected to rise with the aging of our population, according to the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services. These disabilities include disabilities that make it difficult to use conventional transit.

In 2005, the AODA was passed with the purpose of:

"...developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025."

Metrolinx, a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario under the responsibility of the Minister of Transportation, was established under the Metrolinx Act in 2006 as the regional transportation authority for the GTHA. Its mandate is to provide leadership in the coordination, planning, financing, project delivery, and development of an integrated multi-modal transportation network, working closely with the Province and municipal partners including local transit agencies. Metrolinx has three operating divisions: GO Transit, Air Rail Link, and PRESTO.

Exhibit 1: Metrolinx and its Operating Divisions

 

In addition to the AODA and its predecessor, the 2001 Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA), Metrolinx is currently subject to two legal regulations under the 2005 AODA – Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (Ontario Regulation 429/07) and Integrated Accessibility Standards (Ontario Regulation 191/11). These regulations came into effect on January 1, 2008 and June 3, 2011 respectively. A third regulation, which is a built environment accessibility standard focusing on accessible building and infrastructure requirements, is still under development.

The legislation and its regulations establish standards addressing various aspects of customer service, employment and transportation services. They also require that Metrolinx consult with people with disabilities and others to prepare and publish both an annual accessibility plan (for the ODA) and a multi-year accessibility plan (for the AODA) to demonstrate how we will ensure compliance with the AODA. The multi-year plan must be updated annually and revisited at least every five years. Similar to some municipal transit agencies, Metrolinx attempts to set an example of excellence and adopt standards that exceed minimum AODA requirements.

This 2012 annual accessibility plan addresses the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to people with disabilities across the organization’s activities, including its policies, programs, practices and services, and address activities for calendar years 2011 to 2013. It will be followed by an enhanced multi-year plan, providing additional content required by the AODA.

As legally required, this annual accessibility plan will be published by September 30, 2012 in compliance with the ODA, and the multi-year reporting requirement will be met through the multi-year plan in time for the January 1, 2013 AODA deadline. A final copy of both plans will be posted on the Metrolinx and GO Transit public websites and will be available in alternate accessible formats upon request.

The document provides an overview of Metrolinx accessibility activities and related consultation in sections 3 and 4, and applicability of the clauses in the regulations to Metrolinx activities in section 5. Descriptions of the organization’s accessibility initiatives, including compliance status with the regulations, are covered in sections 6 and 7 of this document.

3. Metrolinx Accessibility Overview

As the regional transportation authority for the GTHA, Metrolinx provides leadership in the coordination, planning, financing, project delivery, and development of an integrated multi-modal transportation network, working closely with the Province and municipal partners. Conventional transit services in this area are delivered by eight municipal transit service providers and one regional carrier (GO Transit). Paratransit is provided by nine municipal service providers.

Planning for universal access is one of 10 key strategies in The Big Move, the region’s transportation plan approved by the Metrolinx Board in 2008. Priority actions that are identified in the plan to support universal access include:

  • creating a regional body to advise Metrolinx on matters related to universal access; and
  • developing a region-wide strategy and local implementation strategies to improve specialized transit coordination and delivery.

In its activities, Metrolinx aims to provide the same level of service for all people in an integrated environment, to the greatest degree possible. It currently has the following corporate accessibility policy statement in place which will be reviewed in time for the multi-year accessibility plan to be released at the end of 2012:

"Metrolinx is committed to ensuring that its services and operations are accessible to all Ontarians, in accordance with provincial requirements. To meet these commitments, Metrolinx will incorporate enhanced accessibility in all additions and improvements to the services and operations it provides."

Metrolinx, including its three operating divisions, GO Transit, ARL, and PRESTO, is committed to ensuring that services and activities are accessible to people with disabilities, well in advance of the regulatory deadline of 2025. Excellence in customer service is a Metrolinx priority. This means that while some of the organization’s initiatives may be required by obligations under AODA regulations, accessibility over and above these obligations is often pursued in the interests of improving our customers’ experience.

3.1 Metrolinx Corporate Functions

Metrolinx corporate activities relevant to this plan include the following.

  • Implementation of rapid transit projects in the GTHA
  • Activities to improve regional integration of transportation services for people with disabilities
  • Employment services on behalf of the corporation, including its operating divisions

3.1.1 Rapid Transit

Metrolinx is currently delivering regional rapid transit systems in close partnership with local/regional municipalities. These projects include the VIVA Rapidways in York Region, the Mississauga 403 Bus Transitway, and the Metrolinx projects in Toronto (Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT, Sheppard East LRT, Scarborough RT, and Finch West LRT).

In these projects, a Master Agreement defines the relationship, roles and responsibilities of Metrolinx and the municipality for the delivery of these rapid transit initiatives. Metrolinx owns those rapid transit projects it funds and works with the partner municipalities to deliver and operate the projects.

Roles can range from being responsible for the day-to-day project management of design, construction and/or operation of the service, to an advisory role, where expertise and experience is drawn upon for design and procurement input. Different projects can have different arrangements. In all cases, Metrolinx uses the extent of its influence to ensure that accessibility requirements are met and that the design, implementation and operation of the resulting projects meets the needs of customers with disabilities.

Bus Rapid Transit

Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit

The Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is being designed and constructed in conjunction with the City of Mississauga. The facility will be a fully dedicated, bus only road covering an 18 km, 12 station span. The BRT will be used to provide high speed bus services by MiWay (Mississauga Transit) and GO Transit.

GO Transit is responsible for implementing the western segment (BRT West) along Highway 403 from Winston Churchill Boulevard to Erin Mills Parkway, while Mississauga is responsible for the eastern segment (BRT East) from the City Centre to Renforth Drive, just south of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. The progress made on the various sections of this project follows.

  • Mississauga is well into construction for Section 1 of the BRT East (Hurontario to Dixie) and expects to open this section in fall 2013.
  • Sections 2 and 3 of the BRT East (Dixie Road to Renforth Station) are anticipated to open in 2014.
  • GO Transit’s segment, the BRT West, will open in late 2014.

Exhibit 2: Mississauga BRT route and station locations

 

Metrolinx will also build a series of bus only connections between the Mississauga BRT East and the surrounding road network (Eglinton Avenue, Renforth Drive and Commerce Boulevard), allowing buses to avoid the busy intersection along Eglinton Avenue near Renforth Drive. This project will enhance service between the BRT and the GO and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) networks in Toronto, and is expected to be complete in 2015.

All elements of this project being delivered by Metrolinx will adhere to the GO Transit Design Requirements Manual and so will be accessible. Those partners delivering on other elements of the project will be responsible for complying with applicable legislated accessibility requirements through their own processes.

VivaNext Bus Rapid Transit

The VivaNext BRT is a bus rapid transit system being undertaken in conjunction with York Region that is designed support intensified growth along Highway 7 and Yonge St, and connect the region’s four urban growth Centres: Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Newmarket and Unionville. Yonge Street corridors. The network will also connect with other regional transit links.

Exhibit 3: VIVAnext BRT Network

 

The York Region Rapid Transit Corp. (YRRTC) is delivering the infrastructure in accordance with York Region accessibility standards. The Region will operate and provide the necessary vehicle fleet. York Region’s Accessibility Advisory Committee (YRAAC) has conducted an accessibility review of the new YRT/VivaNext buses for future accessibility enhancements.

The details at VivaNext stations complement the existing VivaNext technologies, including off-board fare collection, Global Positioning System (GPS)-based operational tracking, real-time information, electronic customer information displays, and the PRESTO fare system. Safety and accessibility features include but are not limited to the following:

  • A textured surface near platform edge
  • Near level boarding from the platform to the bus
  • A public address system for updating riders
  • An emergency call button

Exhibit 4: Typical VivaNext Station

 

Light Rail Transit (LRT)

The four Metrolinx LRT projects in Toronto include the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, the Finch West LRT, the Sheppard East LRT and the Scarborough RT. These projects are fully funded by Metrolinx and being undertaken in collaboration with the City of Toronto.

On June 29, 2012 the Ontario Minister of Transportation announced that the province has approved Toronto City Council’s transit plan and has set the following construction timelines for the Metrolinx LRT projects in Toronto.

  • The Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT from the Jane/Black Creek Area to Kennedy Station: work is already underway and will be completed by 2020.
  • The Scarborough RT replacement and extension to Sheppard Avenue: work will begin in 2014 and be completed by 2020.
  • The Finch West LRT from the Toronto-York-Spadina Subway extension to Humber College: work will begin in 2015 and be completed by 2020.
  • The Sheppard East LRT from Don Mills station to east of Morningside Avenue: work will begin in 2017 and be completed by 2021.

Exhibit 5: Metrolinx Light Rail Transit Projects

 

The station platforms, whether underground, on-street, or on elevated sections such as those found on Scarborough RT, will be accessible. The Metrolinx Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) are currently being designed and will be manufactured by Bombardier in Thunder Bay.

Exhibit 6: Metrolinx Light Rail Vehicle

 

Accessibility is a primary design consideration as the Metrolinx designs are advanced and finalized; consultation with communities and the various accessibility organizations is considered essential to ensure that the accessibility needs are satisfied.

3.1.2 Regional Integration

Metrolinx undertakes selected initiatives to support change in the region that will support the objectives outlined in The Big Move. Current activities that promote improved accessibility at a regional level include the following (as discussed in various subsequent sections of this document).

  • Collaborative purchase of accessible vehicles by service providers throughout the province
  • Development of guidelines for mobility hubs, ensuring that accessibility is highlighted as a consideration when designing these important activity centres
  • Development of a generic travel training program to be used as a basis for programs by transit agencies in the region
  • Implementation of improvements by specialized service providers to reduce barriers to cross-boundary travel on specialized transit

3.1.3 Employment

Metrolinx provides equal employment opportunities without discrimination in the job competition process and adheres to the Ontario Human Rights Code. It also provides accessible workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities on a case-by-case basis through individual physical demand and ergonomic assessments, building and modifying work areas, and/or modified work duties.

We aim to improve methods of assisting both employees and customers with disabilities in a way that maintains their dignity and promotes self-reliance.

3.2 GO Transit

As an operating division of Metrolinx, GO Transit operates trains and buses that serve more than seven million residents in an 11,000-square-kilometre area. This area extends from Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo in the west to Newcastle and Peterborough in the east, and from Orangeville, Barrie and Beaverton in the north, to Niagara Falls in the south. GO connects with every municipal transit system in the GTHA and other areas served, including the TTC.

GO Transit operates seven train lines and 47 bus routes. Accessible rail service was introduced to customers using wheeled mobility aids (WMAs) in 1995, starting with 10 accessible stations. Currently, 56 out of 62 (or 90 per cent) of GO Transit’s rail stations are designated as accessible. The accessible stations served seasonally by GO at St. Catharines and Niagara Falls stations are owned and operated by VIA and are not included in these totals. Accessible bus service was introduced on three selected routes in 2000; currently, 31 of the 47 bus routes are designated as accessible. Work to make the remaining rail stations and bus routes accessible is described below.

GO Transit provides equipment, station features, policies and staff training that enable people with mobility-related disabilities use GO Transit services on a self-serve basis, either independently or with the assistance of a travelling companion. This self-serve approach is designed to allow passengers with disabilities to use the system at their own convenience with independence and dignity. This approach is consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code, ODA, and AODA.

GO Transit monitors passenger feedback and conducts periodic reviews of existing accessible services and facilities. Any required improvements are implemented as quickly as resources allow. Enhancements are programmed to continue the retrofit of existing facilities to reduce obstacles and meet Metrolinx’ current accessibility standards.

An estimated 50 GO Transit passengers using WMAs travel each weekday on GO Train services system wide and approximately 20 trips per weekday occur on GO’s existing accessible bus routes.

According to a recent survey in December 2011 of over 10,700 users of the rail system, 6 per cent of customers who responded indicated that they considered themselves to be disabled in the following ways: mobility (3 per cent), hearing impairment (1 per cent), visual impairment (1per cent), and other impairments (1per cent) such as migraines or a form of mental illness. Less than 1per cent of respondents use wheel chairs and/or indicated that they had learning difficulties.

Another broad indicator of GO Transit use by people with a disability is the utilization of designated accessible parking spaces at GO Transit stations. As of the end of 2011, there were 712 designated barrier free parking spaces at GO Transit’s 122 parking lots, situated in prime locations with closest proximity to the station. They have an average occupancy rate of approximately 50 per cent.

3.3 Air Rail Link (ARL)

The ARL is a distinct operating division of Metrolinx responsible for delivering and operating an express rail service between Canada’s two busiest transportation hubs, Toronto Pearson International Airport and Union Station.

The ARL is a critical first step in executing one of the The Big Move regional transportation plan objectives to establish “high-order transit connectivity to the Pearson Airport district from all directions, including a multi-purpose, fast transit link to downtown Toronto.”

The service is expected to be open in spring 2015 in time for the Toronto Pan/Parapan American games in July 2015.

Exhibit 7: ARL Route and Stations

 

The 25km ARL service will have four stops, each with its own station: Pearson Airport Terminal 1, Weston, Bloor, and Union. The complete trip will take 25 minutes. Trains will leave every 15 minutes and each train will carry up to 180 passengers in its three cars. The four stations will be built to the GO Transit Design Requirements Manual at a minimum, and will be accessible.

The ARL is designed to be accessible for all potential users, and compliant with the AODA through the use of GO Transit standards where applicable. An accessibility plan is being prepared to include key accessibility policies applicable to ARL vehicles, stations, technology and emergency operations. The ARL operating division is being supported by GO Transit for planning, vehicle and station design and construction and will adhere to relevant GO Transit standards in these areas.

Exhibit 8: ARL Train Rendering

 

All ARL stations will feature high-level platforms for level boarding, and be equipped with a variety of easier access features.

The ARL service will employ 18 high-speed diesel multiple-units (DMUs) in train sets of three DMUs. These are scheduled for delivery in 2014. While still under design and not coming into public use until 2015, vehicles, stations and other infrastructure will comply with Canadian Standards Association “Accessible design for the Built Environment” and the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other standards. Each vehicle will be equipped with two designated seating areas to accommodate passengers using WMAs. They will also have accessible luggage racks, with the middle vehicle having a fully accessible washroom. Electronic signage will comply with new AODA standards as will the next station information (display and voice). Stations are designed to enable level boarding with the vehicle.

In keeping with its elevated brand and commitment to superior customer service, and given that the vehicle is being designed from the ground up the ARL will meet or exceed accessibility requirements to provide a high level of accessible convenience.

3.4 PRESTO

The PRESTO operating division of Metrolinx operates the PRESTO electronic fare system which allows transit users to pay for travel on participating transit systems with a single reloadable smart card. The PRESTO fare system acts as a central service that provides transit e-fare and information management systems that improves client service while enabling revenue collection and efficient operations for Ontario transit agencies.

Exhibit 9: PRESTO card at TTC turnstile

 

The operating division is committed to enhancing accessibility of the system for customers with disabilities, so that fare payment is accessible and inclusive for all Ontarians and visitors to the province.

PRESTO is an essential component of The Big Move regional transportation plan, in meeting the plan objective of implementing “an integrated transit fare system”. It is currently in use on transit systems throughout the GTHA, including 14 TTC stations, and will be rolled out in Ottawa on OC Transpo in early 2013.

Since its start in 2010, approximately 250,000 PRESTO cards have been issued, with OC Transpo anticipated to add another 200,000 in the spring of 2013. By 2016, as PRESTO will be fully rolled out in Ottawa and on the TTC, it is anticipated that the number of cards will surpass 2 million. As of January 2012, approximately 2 million rides with PRESTO occur each month.

4. Consultation, Public Outreach, and Internal Organization

Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee

The Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) was formed in 2009, with an initial focus on the implementation of The Big Move; implementation of the AODA; and initiatives to enhance cross-boundary service and accessible regional transportation.

The Metrolinx AAC is composed of individuals with expertise and experience related to accessible transportation, with representation from across the region. Members include both consumers and providers of specialized and accessible conventional transit services, and also include senior citizens and people with a range of disabilities. Metrolinx staff act as a resource to the AAC.

The Metrolinx AAC provides input on policy, planning, and multi-agency accessibility matters.

GO Transit Accessibility Advisory Committee

The GO Transit AAC was formed in 1991 to provide guidance to GO accessibility initiatives, and provides input into GO Transit aspects of the Metrolinx accessibility plan.

This external advisory committee includes people with various disabilities from locations across GO Transit’s service area. The committee representatives have extensive experience and involvement with public and private sector advisory boards and participate in standards and guidelines development committees. The committee also includes representatives from parallel transit services (regional/municipal transit carriers for people with disabilities), as well as participants from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO), the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and the Canadian Hearing Society.

The committee has provided valuable direction through its review of and comment on the components of GO Transit’s rail and bus accessibility program. The program encompasses facilities, equipment, service design, policy-related issues, staff training and passenger information guides. The committee’s input has been extremely useful in verifying the practicality and approach to planned accessibility measures on GO’s services.

PRESTO Accessibility Users’ Group

Since 2009, PRESTO has held accessibility consultation sessions to gain input on PRESTO accessibility features. The sessions have involved members from various AACs, including Metrolinx and GO. The members have had an opportunity to interact with, and comment on different proof-of-concept PRESTO devices. A number of recommendations from the consultation sessions have been, or will be, incorporated into the PRESTO system. As the PRESTO TTC project moves forward, a framework for accessibility consultation will be developed in partnership with the TTC.

Governance Review

In the coming year, the governance structure of these Accessibility Advisory Committees will be re-examined to ensure that the structure provides effective input to the activities of all of Metrolinx’s current organizational units, and makes effective use of the time and effort contributed by AAC members.

Metrolinx Internal Accessibility Coordinating Committee

The Metrolinx Internal Coordinating Committee has overseen the development of facility and service accessibility improvements and the detailed development of the Annual Accessibility Plan. This committee has included staff representatives from various divisions/departments across Metrolinx.

The role of the Internal Coordinating Committee has been to identify transit accessibility opportunities, plan and recommend a feasible range of measures, solutions and policies.

As Metrolinx re-examines the overall governance structure, new internal committees are being created to oversee accessibility initiatives, including a Directors’ Oversight Committee and associated working groups. The working groups include staff representatives and will provide subject matter expertise and promote a consistent approach to accessibility in all the Metrolinx divisions (GO, PRESTO and ARL) within the following topic areas:

  • Communications and Consultation
  • Corporate Policies, Procedures and Training
  • Equipment / Vehicles
  • Fare Collection and Systems
  • Infrastructure Services/Operations

The Metrolinx Customer Experience Management Committee and Senior Management Team provide corporate oversight for Metrolinx accessibility initiatives.

Outreach

Metrolinx held a series of Annual Public Accessibility Meetings across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) for the first time in September of 2012 in order to gain input into the Multi-year Accessibility Plan document. The meetings were held in the western (Oakville), northern (Richmond Hill), southern (Toronto), and eastern (Pickering) parts of the GTHA.

Metrolinx works with various organizations representing people with disabilities, such as the CNIB, Canadian Hearing Society, Ontario March of Dimes, among others. Metrolinx regularly seeks advice from these groups on specific matters. In addition advisory groups and project steering committees include representation of appropriate user groups.

Metrolinx also participates in a number of accessibility related public outreach events to connect with people with disabilities and better understand their needs. In 2012, this effort included hosting booths at the “Connections For People with Disabilities” resource fair in Mississauga and the “People in Motion” tradeshow in Toronto, which is Canada's premier event for people with disabilities, seniors with special needs and professionals working in related areas.

5. Internal Metrolinx AODA Accountabilities Chart

The AODA was passed in 2005. The resulting Accessibility Standard for Customer Service in 2007 and Integrated Accessibility Standards in 2011 include standards on information and communications, employment and transportation. The individual clauses of the regulation become effective on specified dates ranging from January 1, 2010, to January 1, 2021. Many of the clauses of the regulation apply to more than one of Metrolinx’s operating divisions and will need to be considered as part of the parallel design processes in each.

In order to clarify the applicability of the AODA-related regulation clauses to each of Metrolinx’s operating divisions, the chart which follows summarizes the regulatory clauses that must be addressed by each of the Metrolinx operating divisions, and references page numbers in this report for further information on each.

Exhibit 10: Internal Metrolinx AODA Accountabilities

Reg. Clause Number Accessibility Requirements Regulatory Compliance Date Corporate Requirement GO, ARL, Rapid Transit Service Requirement PRESTO Requirement Page # In This report
ACCESSIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARD
3 Establishment of policies, practices and procedures Jan. 1 2010 Corporate     31
4 Use of service animals and support persons Jan. 1 2010   Service   30
5 Notice of temporary disruptions Jan. 1 2010   Service PRESTO 30
6 Training for staff, etc. Jan. 1 2010 Corporate     30
7 Feedback process for providers of goods or services Jan. 1 2010 Corporate     30
8 Notice of availability of documents Jan. 1 2010 Corporate     30
9 Format of documents Jan. 1 2010 Corporate Service PRESTO 30
INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD
3 Establishment of accessibility policies Jan. 1 2013 Corporate     31
4 Accessibility plans Jan. 1 2013 Corporate     30
5 Procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities Jan. 1 2013 Corporate     32
6 Self-service kiosks Jan. 1 2014   Service PRESTO 33
7 Training Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     37
11 Feedback Jan. 1 2014 Corporate   PRESTO 38
12 Accessible formats and communication supports Jan. 1 2015 Corporate   PRESTO 40
13 Emergency procedure, plans or public safety information Jan. 1 2012       43
14 Accessible websites and web content:
- new content
Jan. 1 2014 Corporate Service PRESTO 44
- existing content Jan. 1 2021 Corporate Service PRESTO 44
21 Schedule Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     47
22 Recruitment, general Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     47
23 Recruitment, assessment or selection process Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     48
24 Notice to successful applicants Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     48
25 Informing employees of supports Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     48
26 Accessible formats and communication supports for employees Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     49
27 Workplace emergency response information Jan. 1 2012 Corporate     49
28 Documented individual accommodation plans Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     49
29 Return to work process Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     50
30 Performance management Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     50
31 Career development and advancement Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     51
32 Redeployment Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     51
34 Availability of information on accessibility equipment etc. Jan. 1 2012   Service PRESTO 52
35 Non-functioning accessibility equipment July 1 2011   Service   53
36 Accessibility training Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     54
37 Emergency preparedness and response policies Jan. 1 2012   Service   55
38 Fares, support persons Jan. 1 2014   Service PRESTO 57
39 Transition, existing contracts July 1 2011   Service   58
40 Transition, existing vehicles July 1 2011   Service   58
41 Accessibility plans, conventional transportation services Jan. 1 2013 Corporate     59
43 Accessibility plans, conventional and specialized transportation services Jan. 1 2013 Corporate     60
44 General responsibilities Jan. 1 2012   Service   61
45 Alternative accessible method of transportation Jan. 1 2013   Service   62
46 Fares July 1 2011   Service   65
47 Transit stops Jan. 1 2012   Service   66
48 Storage of mobility aids etc. July 1 2011   Service   67
49 Courtesy seating Jan. 1 2012   Service   68
50 Service disruptions Jan. 1 2013   Service   70
51 Pre-boarding announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011   Service   71
- electronic Jan. 1 2017   Service   71
52 On-board announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011   Service   72
- electronic Jan. 1 2017   Service   72
53 Requirements re grab bars, etc. Jan. 1 2013   Service   73
54 Floors and carpeted surfaces Jan. 1 2013   Service   74
55 Allocated mobility aid spaces Jan. 1 2013   Service   75
56 Stop-requests and emergency response controls Jan. 1 2013   Service   79
57 Lighting features Jan. 1 2013   Service   80
58 Signage Jan. 1 2013   Service   81
59 Lifting devices, etc. Jan. 1 2013   Service   82
60 Steps Jan. 1 2013   Service   85
61 Indicators and alarms Jan. 1 2013   Service   86
62 Accessibility, rail cars Jan. 1 2013   Service   87
6. Metrolinx Accessibility Initiatives Status Chart

The chart which follows in this section of the report provides a comprehensive listing of regulations applying to Metrolinx under the AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service and Integrated Accessibility Standards regulations.

The compliance status of each regulatory initiative is provided in the chart, as well as its regulatory compliance date. A page reference is also provided to indicate where, in the next section of this document (section 7), each initiative is elaborated upon.

Compliance across all of Metrolinx’s various operating divisions must be achieved in order for Metrolinx to be deemed compliant as a whole for any particular regulatory requirement.

Exhibit 11: AODA Reg Clause Compliance Status

Reg. Clause Number Accessibility Requirements Regulatory Compliance Date Metrolinx Regulatory Compliance Status Page # In This report
ACCESSIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARD REGULATION
3 Establishment of policies, practices and procedures Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 30
4 Use of service animals and support persons Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 30
5 Notice of temporary disruptions Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 30
6 Training for staff, etc. Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 31
7 Feedback process for providers of goods or services Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 31
8 Notice of availability of documents Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 31
9 Format of documents Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 31
INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD REGULATION
> Part I General
3 Establishment of accessibility policies Jan. 1 2013 In Progress 31
4 Accessibility plans Jan. 1 2013 In Progress 32
5 Procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities Jan. 1 2013 In Progress 32
6 Self-service kiosks Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 33
7 Training Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 37
> Part II Information and Communications Standards
11 Feedback Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 38
12 Accessible formats and communication supports Jan. 1 2015 In Progress 40
13 Emergency procedure, plans or public safety information Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 43
14 Accessible websites and web content:
- new content
Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 44
- existing content Jan. 1 2021 In Progress 44
> Part III Employment Standards
21 Schedule Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 47
22 Recruitment, general Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 47
23 Recruitment, assessment or selection process Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 48
24 Notice to successful applicants Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 48
25 Informing employees of supports Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 48
26 Accessible formats and communication supports for employees Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 49
27 Workplace emergency response information Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 49
28 Documented individual accommodation plans Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 49
29 Return to work process Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 50
30 Performance management Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 50
31 Career development and advancement Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 51
32 Redeployment Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 51
> Part IV Transportation Standards
34 Availability of information on accessibility equipment etc. Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 52
35 Non-functioning accessibility equipment July 1 2011 Requirements Met 53
36 Accessibility training Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 54
37 Emergency preparedness and response policies Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 55
38 Fares, support persons Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 57
39 Transition, existing contracts July 1 2011 Requirements Met 58
40 Transition, existing vehicles July 1 2011 Requirements Met 58
41 Accessibility plans, conventional transportation services Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 60
43 Accessibility plans, conventional and specialized transportation services Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 60
44 General responsibilities Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 61
45 Alternative accessible method of transportation Jan. 1 2013 In Progress 62
46 Fares July 1 2011 Requirements Met 65
47 Transit stops Jan. 1 2012 In Progress 66
48 Storage of mobility aids etc. July 1 2011 Requirements Met 67
49 Courtesy seating Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 68
50 Service disruptions Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 70
51 Pre-boarding announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011 Requirements Met 71
- electronic Jan. 1 2017 In Progress 71
52 On-board announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011 Requirements Met 72
- electronic Jan. 1 2017 In Progress 72
53 Requirements re grab bars, etc. Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 73
54 Floors and carpeted surfaces Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 74
55 Allocated mobility aid spaces Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 75
56 Stop-requests and emergency response controls Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 79
57 Lighting features Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 80
58 Signage Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 81
59 Lifting devices, etc. Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 82
60 Steps Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 85
61 Indicators and alarms Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 86
62 Accessibility, rail cars Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 87
7. Metrolinx Compliance and Accessibility Initiatives

This section of the report elaborates on the initiatives listed in the Metrolinx Accessibility Status Chart provided in section 6 of the report in the same order that they are listed in that chart.

7.1 Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation

7.1.1 Clauses 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9

The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service regulation of the AODA outlines what designated public sector and other organizations in Ontario must do to make the provision of their goods and services more accessible to people with disabilities. The compliance deadline for this legislation was January 1st, 2010 and Metrolinx was, and continues to be, fully compliant with this regulation. In broad terms, the regulation requires the following compliance activities be undertaken.

  • Organizations are required to establish policies, practices and procedures governing the provision of goods or services to people with disabilities.
  • Organizations must provide access for service animals and support people.
  • Organizations are required to provide the public with notice when there are temporary disruptions to the facilities that people with disabilities use in order to benefit from their goods and services.
  • Organizations must provide training for employees, volunteers, agents and others who deal with members of the public or third parties on the organization’s behalf.
  • Organizations are required to establish a process for receiving and responding to feedback or complaints received regarding the manner in which they provides goods and services to people with disabilities.
  • Organizations with at least 20 employees are required to notify the people to whom they provide goods and services that the documents required by the regulation are available upon request.
  • Where an organization is required to provide a document to a person with a disability, it must be provided in a format that takes into account the person’s disability.

Metrolinx’s Accessible Customer Service Policy in compliance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service regulation is publically available on the GO Transit website at http://www.gotransit.com/public/en/aboutus/accessibleCSpolicy.aspx.

Hardcopies and accessible format versions of this document are also available upon request.

7.2 Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation

7.2.1 Part I General

The compliance dates for the various Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation clauses vary by clause and the category of the organization in question. Some of the compliance dates are the same for all organizations, while others have a staggered implementation – typically with the public sector leading and the private sector following. Metrolinx is categorized as a “Large Designated Public Sector Organization” for the purposes of this regulation.

Clause 3 - Establishment of accessibility policies

Requirement: that Metrolinx develop, implement and maintain policies governing how it achieves or will achieve accessibility through meeting its regulatory requirements.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: To meet this requirement, the organization is committed to developing the appropriate policies by January 1st, 2013.

Clause 4 - Accessibility plans

Requirement: that, Metrolinx establishes, implement, maintain and document a multi-year accessibility plan, which outlines its strategy to prevent and remove barriers and meet its regulatory requirements. Metrolinx is also required to post the plan to its website, provide it in an accessible format upon request, and review and update it at least once every five years. It must furthermore consult with people with disabilities as it establishes, reviews and updates its plans.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx will fulfill its obligations through the production and publication of its multi-year accessibility plan and its consultations with people with disabilities during the plan compilation and drafting process.

In addition to regularly consulting its accessibility advisory committee, in September of 2012, Metrolinx held four public meetings on what Metrolinx has done, and plans to do, to meet the requirements of the Integrated Accessibility Standards. One public meeting was held in each of the regions of Halton, York, Durham and the City of Toronto, to spread them out within the GTHA for participant convenience.

Clause 5 - Procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities

Requirement: that Metrolinx incorporate accessibility criteria and features when procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities, except where it is not practicable to do so. Where it has not done so, it must provide an explanation upon request.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is committed to putting the appropriate policies and procedures in place to meet the compliance date of January 1, 2013. The organization will draw upon practices established by the Government of Ontario, which was obligated to comply with these requirements by January 1, 2012.

Clause 6 - Self-service kiosks

Requirement: that Metrolinx incorporate accessibility features when designing, procuring or acquiring self-service kiosks.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is currently compliant with this requirement and is committed to ensuring that all new kiosks introduced by any operating division are designed with accessibility in mind.

GO Transit Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs)

In 2010, Metrolinx approved and installed 120 new ticket vending machines (TVMs). The new devices offer a significantly improved customer experience in allowing riders to purchase full trips on rail and bus service across the GO Transit service area.

In the fall of 2011, a session was held that provided a volunteer subset of the Accessibility Advisory Committee the opportunity to interact with the TVMs and provide valuable input to the design. TVMs will be implemented after the successful completion of internal trials. The majority of these new TVMs will be installed across GO Transit properties by the end of 2013 with at least one device per rail station as well as at key GO Bus locations.

These devices will also be equipped with some of the most comprehensive accessibility features available in the industry including the following.

  • Text to speech reading in French and English through an audio jack. This audio jack is identified by a bilingual French and English Braille label
  • Mid-frequency sound cues for those with hearing loss
  • 4-corner touch screen with an audio aid
  • Tilted Screen
  • Bright screen for better usability in outdoor lighting
  • Tactile PIN pad
  • User Interface with buttons in consistent locations screen to screen
  • Customer use without the need for tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist
  • Cabinet designed to be held onto or leaned upon with no sharp edges or corners
  • No obstructions around the screen
  • Screen viewable in standing and sitting positions
  • Can be operated from a wheelchair from the side or head-on
  • Receipt tray for use with limited motor control

The new ticket vending machines will offer a significantly improved customer experience allowing riders to purchase complete trips on GO buses and trains across the GO Transit service area.

Sample device renderings below indicate TVM compliance with both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards for optimal height.

Exhibit 12: GO TVM Accessibility and Audio Jack Location

 

The TVM welcome screen, illustrated below features a low-vision mode selection button in the bottom right corner that is referred to in the instructions conveyed through the audio jack.

Exhibit 13: GO TVM Welcome Screen Featuring Low Vision Mode Selection

 

The TVM low-vision screen shown below uses four-corner touch navigation.

Exhibit 14: TVM Screen Using Four-Corner Touch Navigation

 

ARL Self-Service Kiosk

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL service will employ the PRESTO self-service kiosk.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, the self-serve kiosks have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date.

PRESTO Self-Service Equipment

PRESTO Fare Payment Equipment

PRESTO’s first-generation devices are currently in use at GO Transit and other participating transit providers. PRESTO continues to make enhancements and develop next-generation functionality and capabilities using customer and accessibility organization feedback. PRESTO Next Generation devices and functionality are expected to be in place in the GTHA in 2015. Future enhancements will allow for increased efficiency and flexibility and for early adoption of new generally-accepted payment technologies (such as open and mobile payments).

PRESTO Self-Service Kiosk

The PRESTO Self-Service Kiosk (SSK) is a “proof of concept” device that will be used to solicit customer feedback and input into the design of future SSK devices as it relates to functionality and accessible requirements. The PRESTO Project Team installed the device in the GO Transit Concourse at Union Rail Station in September 2011. Accessibility consultants have provided feedback on accessibility features to ensure the device both meets AODA standards and will provide accessible equivalent functional service for people with disabilities. Evaluation of the SSK will continue throughout 2012.

The audio jack is located on the left side of the device, just below the touch screen. Tactile detection is provided for a customer with vision loss to locate the jack. When a customer plugs into the audio jack they hear a looped message in English and French that instructs them to touch audio button in the lower left section of the screen. The script for the audio support is currently under development. The audio will provide clear instructions to direct someone with vision loss to place their card in the card interface slot and to use the card history and e-Purse load features of the SSK.

The screen is 15 inches in diameter and reacts to human touch when making a selection. Each screen provides the same two buttons on the bottom left and bottom right to enable the customer to return to the previous screen, “back” or cancel the transaction, “cancel.” The buttons used to select different options, such as monetary value are large and located in easily identifiable places to enable someone who has vision loss to follow the audio instructions and select the correct button. A customer who utilizes the audio support will also be able to blank out the screen to ensure privacy during a transaction.

PRESTO Open Payment "Proof of Concept"

The PRESTO Open Payment project, as part of the development of next-generation functionality, will allow customers to tap on and pay for transit with their credit card as an alternative to the PRESTO card. The project will begin with a proof of concept phase to determine the design and functionality of the PRESTO system to accept “open payment” financial cards along with PRESTO cards. A handful of TTC subway stations were chosen for this trial and PRESTO began assessing accessibility, along with other criteria, during a six month trial in the summer of 2012.

Clause 7 - Training

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure that all employees and others who deliver services on behalf of the organization, receive training on the Integrated Accessibility Standard requirements and on the Human Rights Code as it pertains to people with disabilities. The organization must also keep a record of the training provided, including the dates it occurred and the number of individuals that were trained.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is currently in progress of complying with this requirement and is committed to becoming fully compliant by the end of 2013, before the compliance date. It currently provides mandatory AODA Accessible Customer Service Standard training to all new employees and records are maintained.

7.2.2 Part II Information and Communications Standards

Clause 11 - Feedback

Requirement: that Metrolinx shall ensure that its processes for receiving and responding to feedback are accessible to people with disabilities. Accessible formats and communications supports are to be provided upon request to this end.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Feedback receipt and response processes are currently available upon request in a range of accessible formats and Metrolinx is compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit makes every effort to have travellers feel that it is easy to use its service – from finding route and schedule information, to getting to the station or stop, purchasing tickets, finding their train or bus, travelling, and disembarking at their destination. GO Transit employees strive to ensure that every aspect of their business makes it easier for the customer, from building better facilities to accessible stations, and from timely communications to on-time service. To this end, GO Transit has made TTY (teletype/teleprinter) services available for people with hearing loss at its Union and Milton stations (locations selected based on customer demand).

GO Transit has furthermore put in place a Customer Information Tracking (CIT) system, which keeps track of comments received from the general public (commendations as well as complaints and suggestions) through website comment form, telephone, letter and email. The system captures all comments and flags those that are accessibility related.

When feedback is received by the current CIT system, it is reviewed and replied to by Customer Service Representatives who are certified in sensitivity training, are dedicated to providing exceptional customer service to customers. This information provides opportunities for continuous improvement across GO Transit as gaps are incorporated into project plans.

Any noteworthy items of interest are raised at accessibility advisory committee meetings and annual accessibility public meetings, as well as being woven into the organization’s accessibility plan.

During the year 2011, GO Transit received 61 comments identified as accessibility-related. The majority of comments were related to elevators being out of service, which inhibited access to and from trains. These comments were individually investigated and followed up on by Customer Service Representatives.

In response to concerns about elevator availability flagged by customers, GO Transit has reviewed elevator maintenance procedures to reduce the number of elevator outages affecting customers.

Metrolinx monitors its elevator performance and has seen improvement in elevator in-service time over the last three years (June to June) as indicated in the table below.

Exhibit 15: Elevator In-Service Time, 2008-2011

Year (June to June) Elevator In-Service Time
2008 to 2009 96.78%
2009 to 2010 98.30%
2010 to 2011 99.23%

 

GO has also put in place procedures to assist customers who require the use of an elevator in case an elevator is out of service.

Air Rail Link

When launched, the ARL will have in place a process similar to that of GO Transit, capable of receiving and responding effectively to feedback from people with disabilities. Accessible formats and communications supports will be provided upon request.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, the methods for providing customer feedback have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date by the appropriate organization or local transit agency delivering the service in question.

PRESTO

PRESTO has in place a separate customer service group capable of receiving and responding to feedback. The customer service group is equipped with TTY service, and materials are available in an accessible PDF format upon request.

Clause 12 - Accessible formats and communication supports

Requirement: that Metrolinx, upon request, provide or arrange for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports for people with disabilities.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2015

Compliance Status Commentary: Although not all information is currently available upon request in a range of accessible formats (PDF files, for example, are not always screen-reader friendly), Metrolinx is committed to putting in place this capability by the compliance deadline. This will include the provision of pieces of information currently available only as PDF files, such as maps and timetables, into a range of accessible formats upon request.

GO Transit

GO Transit has three customer information systems and an accessibility user guide, which will provide greater customer service and enhance accessibility. These four initiatives are elaborated upon below.

GO Transit Public Information System (PINS)

The Union Station PINS computer-controlled electronic signs provide customers with departure information for their next GO Bus or GO Train trip. A few new signs will be installed at the completion of the renovations currently underway to revitalize Union Station. The PINS information is also available on mobile devices and is audible when used with screen reader technology. In addition, manual PA announcements are made for any unscheduled service adjustments displayed on the signs.

Exhibit 16: PINS Display at Union Station

 

New e-Signage

New e-signage is now being launched at GO Transit rail stations other than Union Station. Called the Station Service Status System (or “S4”), the e-signage will give passengers real-time rail departure information for each station. The pilot project was rolled out at Pickering, Aldershot and Burlington stations in May of 2012. This was followed by a system-wide launch that provided rail service status information at all corridors, online and on customers’ mobile devices in June of 2012.

The S4 rail service status information generated will be consumed by other applications that can provide audible rail service status information for customers with hearing loss.

Exhibit 17: e-Signage Rail Service Status Display

 

Computer Aided Dispatch/Automatic Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL)

The CAD/AVL system will track GO Bus locations and use this information to provide real-time GO Bus service status information. This will enable live information to be available to GO Transit customers through the GO Transit website, smart phones and electronic signage at bus terminals and rail stations in both visible and audible forms (by spring 2014).

Air Rail Link

Upon launch in 2015, the ARL team will ensure compliance with this requirement.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, the customer communications methods have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date.

Accessibility User Guide

Although not specifically required under this regulation, GO Transit produced an in-depth accessibility user guide and a pamphlet in 2010 highlighting GO Transit’s accessible services. This guide and pamphlet will be updated by 2014 with new information and to reflect current accessibility features, new corporate brand standards, and will be provided in a variety of accessible formats.

Exhibit 18: Accessibility User Guide

 

 

Clause 13 - Emergency procedure, plans or public safety information

Requirement: that if Metrolinx prepares emergency procedures, plans or public safety information and makes them available to the public, it must provide the information in an accessible format or with appropriate communication supports as soon as practicable upon request.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2012

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx met this requirement by the compliance date.

GO Transit

GO Transit met this compliance requirement by the deadline and provides emergency procedures, plans, and public safety information upon request in accessible formats. GO has also provided its emergency evacuation procedures on its website in an accessible HTML format.

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL team will ensure compliance with this requirement.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, the emergency procedures, plans, and public safety information have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date by the appropriate organization or local transit agency delivering the service.

Clause 14 - Accessible websites and web content

Requirement: that Metrolinx eventually make its internet websites conform to World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA as applied to all navigation, structure and content.

Regulatory Compliance Date:
January 1, 2014 (new website content to WCAG 2.0 Level A)
January 1, 2021 (existing website content to WCAG 2.0 Level AA)

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is committed to ensuring that its websites are accessible to the widest possible audience. Web projects initiated from 2012 onwards conform to WCAG Level 2.0 at Level AA (better than the required Level A). For legacy web pages, the goal is to ensure full compliance by 2013 (in advance of the 2021 compliance date).

WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance requirements have been incorporated in Metrolinx’s Web Authoring guidelines as well as Web design and development practices.

The list below highlights the compliance of Metrolinx’s various existing websites with WCAG 2.0 Level AA.

  • Metrolinx Intranet (will be remediated for compliance in 2013)
  • Metrolinx Website (meets requirements for navigation and structure; content will be remediated for compliance by 2013)
  • GO Transit Website (meets requirements for navigation and structure; content will be remediated for compliance by 2013)
  • PRESTO Website (partially meets requirements; will be compliant by the end of 2012)
  • Air Rail Link Website (will meet requirements when launched)
  • Smart Commute Website (partially meets requirements – a compliant redesign is planned for 2013)

GO Transit

In addition to the GO Transit Website, the following two items exist (or are under development) which are not addressed by the WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.

  • GO Transit Mobile Website (anticipated launch at end of 2012)
  • GO Transit Mobile Application

In the summer of 2012, a series of changes to the GO Transit mobile application for iPhone introduced high-contrast visibility, an innovative text-to-speech feature to allow the filtering of stations verbally, without touching the screen, and voiceover hints to help understand every application action (i.e. “double tap to open”). Similar changes for Android and Blackberry will be rolled out by spring of 2013. These changes derive from accessibility guidelines published by the individual manufacturers (iPhone, Blackberry, and Android).

The iPhone GO Transit mobile application pages, shown below, have updated icons for better contrast, service update icon added which links to mobile enabled page, an enhanced quick tips icon, buttons added to enable or disable station filters and increased font size.

Exhibit 19: Sample iPhone Mobile App Pages

 

By the end of 2012, a version of the Metrolinx and GO Transit websites will be provided to mobile users with formatting tailored to the specific device of the user in a bandwidth-friendly and accessible fashion. The mobile websites will incorporate features to assist people with sensory and manual dexterity disabilities as well as compatibility with assistive technologies such as “VoiceOver”.

Air Rail Link

When the ARL service is launched, it will have its own website which will be compliant with WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.

Rapid Transit Implementation

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, the related websites have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date by the appropriate organization or local transit agency delivering the service.

PRESTO

The PRESTO operating division is currently partially compliant with WCAG 2.0 AA standards, and will be fully compliant by the end of 2012. PRESTO is pursuing the highest available compliance for its website by 2014, and currently features an accessibility section of its website with American Sign Language videos.

The PRESTO mobile application, although not addressed by the WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards, will also meet the various accessibility guidelines published by the individual manufacturers (iPhone, Blackberry, and Android).

7.2.3 Part III Employment Standards

Metrolinx has a history of hiring and accommodating employees who are best qualified, including people with disabilities. Accommodation of these employees has been provided on a case by case basis, without the support of formal policies. In complying with the AODA regulations, we will review and formalize current practice to ensure that all aspects of human resources processes are accessible to people with special needs.

Clause 21 – Schedule

Requirement: that Metrolinx meet all of the requirements in this part of the AODA regulations (PART III) by January 1, 2014 unless otherwise indicated.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014 (unless otherwise indicated in the regulations)

Compliance Status Commentary: Although not all of the requirements in this section have been fully formalized through policies and procedures, many of them are already being implemented in practice. Metrolinx anticipates being fully compliant with formalized policies and processes according to this required schedule.

Clause 22 - Recruitment, general

Requirement: that Metrolinx notify its employees and the public about the availability of accommodation for applicants with disabilities in its recruitment processes.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx intends to have standard operating processes and policies regarding recruitment and work accommodation of candidates and employees in place, with appropriate notification of employees and the public, by November 2013, before the compliance date. Currently, all Metrolinx job ads contain a statement notifying applicants about the availability of accommodation.

Clause 23 - Recruitment, assessment or selection process

Requirement: that Metrolinx notify job applicants chosen for a selection process that accessibility accommodations are available upon request. If the applicant requests accommodation, Metrolinx shall consult with them to meet their accessibility needs.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Although this is currently done in practice at Metrolinx, the organization intends to fully comply through putting formalized policies and processes in place by November 2013.

Clause 24 - Notice to successful applicants

Requirement: Clause 24 of the IAS regulation of the AODA requires that Metrolinx notify successful applicants of its policies for accommodating employees with disabilities when making offers of employment.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx meets this requirement as it has a process in place to accommodate employees with disabilities when self-disclosed.

Clause 25 - Informing employees of supports

Requirement: that Metrolinx inform its employees of its policies used to support employees with disabilities and convey updates to this information whenever they occur.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx meets this requirement as it has a process in place to inform employees of its policies used to support employees with disabilities and convey updates whenever they occur.

Clause 26 - Accessible formats and communication supports for employees

Requirement: Clause 26 of the IAS regulation of the AODA requires that, where an employee with a disability requests it, Metrolinx shall consult with the employee to provide the accessible formats and communication supports required for their job, as well as general employee workplace information.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is committed to meeting this requirement well before the compliance date. Some content areas which Metrolinx is still working to make more accessible include online forms, surveys, timetables and maps, which are sometimes displayed in PDF or other formats (which are not optimal for screen reading software for people with vision loss).

Clause 27 - Workplace emergency response information

Requirement: that Metrolinx provide individualized workplace emergency response information to employees with disabilities as soon as Metrolinx is aware that the employee’s disability makes this necessary.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2012

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx was, and continues to be, compliant with this requirement by the compliance date. An updated policy and process for orienting new employees to the workplace was developed and implemented.

Clause 28 - Documented individual accommodation plans

Requirement: that Metrolinx develop and have in place a written process (covering specified elements) for the development of documented individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with this requirement and has a written process in place for the development of documented individual accommodation plans for employees with disabilities.

Clause 29 - Return to work process

Requirement: that Metrolinx develop and have in place a return to work process for its employees who have been absent from work due to a disability and require disability-related accommodations in order to return to work.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with this requirement as it has a return to work process in place which outlines the steps the employer will take to facilitate the return to work of employees who were absent as a result of their disability, making use of individual accommodation plans.

Clause 30 - Performance management

Requirement: that Metrolinx take into account the accessibility needs of its employees with disabilities, as well as any individual accommodation plans, when using its performance management process.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with this requirement. In addition to being incorporated into policy, the organization’s “People Leaders Guide” for performance management instructs that managers be mindful of the accessibility needs, and/or individual accommodation plans, of employees with disabilities when creating goals and assessing achievements and competencies throughout the performance management cycle. It is also covered in Metrolinx’s performance management training program.

Clause 31 - Career development and advancement

Requirement: that Metrolinx take into account the accessibility needs of its employees with disabilities, as well as any individual accommodation plans, when providing career development and advancement to its employees with disabilities.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with this requirement. It undertakes it in practice and the requirement has been incorporated into policy and internal training design.

Clause 32 - Redeployment

Requirement: that Metrolinx, if it undertakes the redeployment or reassignment of employees as an alternative to layoffs, take into account the accessibility needs of its employees with disabilities, as well as any individual accommodation plans, when redeploying employees with disabilities.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with this requirement.

Regarding non-union employees, Metrolinx has undertaken a review of all of its termination-related policies and has incorporated the requirement of considering accessibility needs, as well as any accommodation plans, regarding employees with disabilities in regards to any redeployment plans.

For unionized employees, redeployment subsequent to notice of layoff is regulated by collective agreements rather than by policies. As a result, no policies are in place, and no policies are required. Redeployment is currently subject to requirements of the Human Rights Code and other employment-related legislation, which are deemed to be incorporated in collective agreements. No actions required as result of the AODA for unionized employees.

7.2.4 Part IV Transportation Standards

Clause 34 - Availability of information on accessibility equipment etc.

Requirement: Clause 34 of the IAS regulation of the AODA requires that Metrolinx make available to the public current information on accessibility equipment and features of their vehicles, routes and services and that it provide this information in accessible formats upon request.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2012

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx met this requirement by the regulatory deadline of January 1, 2012.

GO Transit

Through its GO Transit website, Metrolinx provides accessibility information on:

  • Accessible features at GO stations and terminals
  • Accessible GO Train services
  • Accessible GO Bus services
  • Priority seating areas; and
  • Planning your trip

Exhibit 20: GO Accessibility Equipment Web Page

 

Information is also provided in a “Service Updates” section on any accessible services, such as elevators, escalators and stations that are temporarily unavailable due to construction or repair work.

The website information is presented in a versatile HTML format which is screen-reader software friendly for those with vision loss. Alternative accessible formats of this information are also provided upon request.

Air Rail Link

When it has been launched, the ARL website will be compliant with this requirement in a similar fashion to GO Transit.

PRESTO

PRESTO provides information on its website on accessibility activities through the “PRESTO Accessibility Framework”, posted as an accessible PDF file, and an American Sign Language video. Additional information on the accessibility features of PRESTO equipment is being added to the website by the end of 2012.

Exhibit 21: PRESTO ASL Video web page

 

Alternate accessible formats are also made available upon request.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, many aspects have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date by the appropriate organization or local transit agency delivering the service.

Clause 35 - Non-functioning accessibility equipment

Requirement: that if the accessibility equipment on a vehicle is not functioning and equivalent service cannot be provided, Metrolinx shall take reasonable steps to accommodate people with disabilities who would otherwise use the equipment. The non-functioning equipment is also required to be repaired as soon as possible.

Regulatory Compliance Date: July 1, 2011

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx was compliant with this requirement by the compliance date.

GO Transit

GO Transit became compliant with this requirement by the compliance date. As an example, it has put in place procedures to assist customers with disabilities if an elevator is out of service. Similarly, if a bus breaks down another accessible bus is used to replace it. In some cases an accessible taxi may be provided to prevent excessive inconvenience to customers.

Air Rail Link

When it has been launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement in a similar fashion to GO Transit.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, many aspects have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date by the appropriate organization or local transit agency delivering the service.

Clause 36 - Accessibility training

Requirement: that Metrolinx conduct and keep a record of employee and volunteer accessibility training on the safe use of accessibility equipment and features and what to do in case of an emergency or when the equipment or features are not functioning.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is already compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit is already compliant with this requirement and provides training for all employees including its bus drivers, route supervisors, station attendants, Transit Safety Officers, customer attendants and customer contact staff (i.e. telephone information guides and supervisors). An initial accessibility training program is conducted, and then accessibility refresher training is carried out on a three year cycle.

The training for front line vehicle-related staff covers a review of accessible features, policies and procedures, such as the operation of the lifts on all types of lift-equipped buses, sensitivity awareness, and the securement of customers and their WMAs.

Metrolinx employees who are responsible for or have an impact on any policies or programs that may affect customers with disabilities are furthermore required to take a Ministry endorsed customer service program online.

Air Rail Link

ARL services will be delivered through the organizational departments and contracts currently responsible for GO Transit services and will therefore be provided with an appropriate version of the training GO Transit employees receive.

Rapid Transit Implementation

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, the responsibilities for training have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date by the appropriate organization or local transit agency delivering the service.

Clause 37 - Emergency preparedness and response policies

Requirement: Clause 37 of the IAS regulation of the AODA requires that Metrolinx establish, implement, maintain and document emergency preparedness and response policies that provide for the safety of people with disabilities. It must also make them publicly available in accessible formats as requested.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2012

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx has been compliant with this requirement since the compliance date.

GO Transit

GO Transit provides information on its website on using the passenger assistance alarm and emergency procedures for evacuating customers (including people with disabilities) from trains, buses, facilities, terminals and stations. This information is also posted in relevant locations on vehicles and at stations. This information is available in accessible formats as requested.

Exhibit 22: GO Transit On-Vehicle Emergency Information

 

Air Rail Link

When the ARL will is launched until 2015, the ARL will be compliant with, this requirement in a similar fashion to GO Transit.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, emergency response procedures have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date by the appropriate organization or local transit agency delivering the service.

Clause 38 - Fares, support persons

Requirement: that Metrolinx not charge a fare to a support person who is accompanying a person with a disability where the person with a disability has need for a support person (and is able to demonstrate this).

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2014

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is already compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit provides “Party Tickets” for customers who require a companion to travel on the service as described on the accessibility webpage of the GO Transit website. Once using a ticket endorsed as a “Party Ticket”, the passenger must be accompanied by the support person at all times while travelling.

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement in a similar fashion to GO Transit.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, the operational arrangements have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date by the appropriate organization or local transit agency delivering the service.

PRESTO

PRESTO, working with its partner transit agencies, will ensure that e-fare system will support fare payment by people travelling with a support person by the January 2014 compliance date.

Clause 39 - Transition, existing contracts

Requirement: that where Metrolinx had existing contractual obligations to purchase vehicles that do not meet the accessibility requirements of clauses 53 to 62, as of June 30, 2011, it may honour those existing contracts.

Regulatory Compliance Date: June 30, 2011

Compliance Status Commentary: Since 1989, each train has included an accessible coach. Starting in 2001, a newer model of the accessible coach was introduced with an accessible washroom. All buses ordered since 1999 have been accessible. As of June 30, 2011, Metrolinx had no existing contractual obligations for non-accessible vehicles.

Clause 40 - Transition, existing vehicles

Requirement: that Metrolinx is not obligated to retrofit vehicles that are in its fleet as of July 1, 2011, in order to ensure that they met the accessibility requirements of clauses 53 to 62. Going forward from that point, if Metrolinx does modify a portion of a vehicle to which these clauses apply, it must meet these requirements (unless it will impair the structural integrity of the vehicle).

Regulatory Compliance Date: July 1, 2011

Compliance Status Commentary: All of Metrolinx’s buses and rail coaches as of July 1, 2011 were accessible and compliant with clauses 53 to 62 and did not require any further retrofit for that purpose.

GO Transit

Beyond the requirements of this regulation, GO Transit is increasing the proportion of low-floor buses in its fleet as the number of vehicles grows. Currently, GO Transit has a bus fleet of 436 buses, which comprises 414 lift-equipped, single-level highway coaches (36 of these were added in 2012) and 22 low floor double-decker buses.

Exhibit 23: GO Transit Highway Coach and Double-Decker

 

The low floor double-decker buses provide faster and more convenient boarding for customers who use WMAs and have a higher overall capacity per vehicle, but are too tall for operation in some parts of GO Transit’s service area. In order to benefit from the accessibility advantages of these vehicles, additional double-deckers will be purchased so that they provide an increasing portion of the service where possible and appropriate over the coming years.

The chart below shows the growing role of low floor vehicles in GO Transit’s bus fleet.

Exhibit 24: Double-Deckers in GO Transit Bus Fleet

Year Accessible Highway Coaches (Lift Equipped) Accessible Low Floor Double-Decker Buses (Ramp Equipped) Total Percentage of Fleet That is Double-Decker Buses
2012 (as of July) 414 (96 with Braun lifts and 318 with Ricon Lifts) 22 436 5%
2013 20 25 441 11%
2014 0 25 466 15%
2015 0 25 491 20%

 

Clause 41 - Accessibility plans, conventional transportation services

Requirement: that Metrolinx identify the process for managing, evaluating and taking action on customer feedback in its accessibility plan. It must also hold at least one public meeting involving people with disabilities to ensure that they have an opportunity to participate in a review of and provide feedback on the accessibility plan.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: As discussed in the section of this plan pertaining to clause 4 (Accessibility Plans) and clause 11 (Feedback), Metrolinx is already compliant with these requirements.

In addition to regularly consulting its accessibility advisory committee, in September of 2012 Metrolinx held four public meetings on accessibility. The public meetings were held across the GTHA in the regions of Halton, York, Durham and the City of Toronto. Input received through comments at these public meetings will be summarized and then incorporated into Metrolinx’s Multi-year Accessibility Plan to be released at the end of 2012.

Clause 43 - Accessibility plans, conventional transportation services

Requirement: that Metrolinx describe its procedures for dealing with accessibility equipment failures on its vehicles.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx has already met this requirement.

GO Transit

Every effort is made to notify passengers immediately of any accessibility-related facilities, such as elevators, escalators and stations, which are temporarily unavailable due to malfunction, construction or repair work, in the “Service Updates” section of the GO Transit website. Those with a particular interest in this information can subscribe to On the GO alerts to receive status updates through email or text. This service assists passengers finding out before they start their trip, so that they can adjust their travel accordingly.

Exhibit 25: GO Train Ramp in Use

 

GO Transit has put in place procedures to assist customers who are unable to use stairs if they require an elevator that is out of service. For example, Customer Care Coordinators at Union Station may escort the customer to an alternate elevator.

If a bus, train or piece of accessibility-related equipment breaks down the GO Transit Passenger Charter empowers supervisors and station attendants to respond to the specific customer requirements of each situation where a passenger with a disability is unable to board a vehicle due to any number of factors. In some cases they may issue a taxi voucher to provide alternative transportation to the customer’s destination.

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement. The level boarding arrangement that will be used does not require any operational equipment. Access to the trains will be provided through the appropriate GO Transit station, or the Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, many aspects have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date by the appropriate organization or local transit agency delivering the service.

Clause 44 - General responsibilities

Requirement: that Metrolinx deploy lifting devices, ramps or portable bridge plates and provide assistance upon the request of a person with a disability, while allowing them adequate time to safely board the vehicle. It also requires the provision of assistance with the safe securing and storage of mobility assistive devices and allowing people with disabilities to travel with medical aids such as portable oxygen supplies.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2012

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit’s rail operation has been compliant with these requirements since introducing accessible rail service in 1995.

GO Transit’s bus service has been compliant since 2009 when the fleet became entirely accessible.

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will use a level boarding system similar to a subway. This system is passive and does not require any equipment to operate for boarding. The ARL will be compliant with this requirement.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

The LRT line will use level boarding when it begins service in 2020. This system is passive and does not require any equipment to operate for boarding. The LRT will be compliant with this requirement.

Clause 45 - Alternative accessible method of transportation

Requirement: that Metrolinx provide an alternative accessible method of transportation to any person with a disability who is unable to use conventional transportation services because of their disability. This requirement does not apply in those jurisdictions where a specialized transportation service provider already operates.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx GO rail service is compliant, and GO Bus service is still in progress of becoming compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit provides accessible service wherever possible, throughout the rail network, and on a majority of bus routes. Nevertheless, it still has bus routes that are not designated as accessible either because they serve major terminals that are not accessible, or because they are scheduled for convenient train meets.

GO Transit operates a total of 47 bus routes (varying slightly by season). Of these, 66 per cent (or 31 of them) are identified as accessible as shown in the map below.

Exhibit 26: Accessibility of GO Transit Bus Routes

 

Train meet bus routes

Bus services that connect with trains are scheduled to provide quick and convenient transfers for customers connecting with the trains. The wheelchair lift in operation on GO Transit Highway Coaches generally requires 15 minutes for a passenger using a WMA to board or 10 minutes to alight. In order for GO Buses that connect to train services to provide accessible service they must be scheduled to arrive 25 minutes prior to train departure times to allow enough time for a passenger using a WMA to board and alight from the bus and still connect with the train. In order to retain the attractiveness of service, some popular train-meet services that provide convenient train meet connections (7 minutes) have not been rescheduled to provide accessible service.

Work is underway to identify ways of expanding accessible service while maintaining convenient connections to and from trains. Each train-meet service that is not currently accessible is being reviewed to identify the best approach for future accessibility as part of a plan to provide accessible bus service throughout the network in future. The double-decker buses in the GO Bus fleet provide slightly faster loading and secure times for passengers using WMAs since they are low-floor buses, and use accessible ramps which are deployed from the front door, rather than wheelchair lifts. Where the 80-seat capacity provided on GO Transit’s double-decker buses is appropriate, they may provide one method of increasing accessible bus services. This and other methods will be considered to address the remaining routes.

Inaccessible bus terminals

Several bus terminals used by many GO Bus routes and customers are not accessible. Since these locations are used by most of the customers on certain services, those routes are not considered accessible. Retrofit of these terminals has been complicated by the fact that GO Transit serves them as a tenant, and does not own the facility. However, as discussed elsewhere in this accessibility plan, work is in progress to make York Mills terminal accessible by the fall of 2012, Yorkdale by the end of 2013, and relocate Scarborough Town Centre operations to an accessible temporary terminal in 2014. The routes that serve these terminals will become accessible at those times.

There will be four new accessible bus routes as of the end of 2012. These are existing routes 30 and 51, and new routes, 67 and 11. GO Transit is working towards the goal of making all GO Bus routes accessible by the Spring of 2015, in advance of the July 2015 Toronto Pan Am and Para Pan Am Games.

Air Rail Link

The ARL will provide accessible service when it opens in 2015. Wheel Trans service is also available between all points served by the ARL.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

The LRT lines will provide accessible service when service begins starting in 2020.

Clause 46 - Fares

Requirement: that Metrolinx not charge a higher fare to a person with a disability than the fare charged to a person without a disability (but it may charge a lesser fare). It is also required that alternative fare payment options be made available to those who cannot use a fare payment option because of their disability.

Regulatory Compliance Date: July 1, 2011.

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is already compliant with these requirements as all GO Transit customers, including those with disabilities, pay the same fares.

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

When they are launched starting in 2020, LRT services will be compliant with this requirement.

Clause 47 - Transit stops

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure that people with disabilities are able to board or exit buses and streetcars at the closest available safe location, if the official stop is not accessible. It should also give consideration to the preferences of the person with a disability in determining where to stop, and should report any temporarily inaccessible transit stops to the proper authority as soon as possible.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2012.

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx bus and rail services are compliant with this requirement. GO bus services are still in progress of becoming compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

If a GO Train station in not accessible, the closest available safe location is the closest accessible GO Train station.

Many GO Transit bus stops (particularly those in rural settings) are not accessible for GO’s highway coach lifts. Addressing this issue is complicated by the fact that the vast majority of stops are owned by municipalities and not Metrolinx. GO Transit is preparing a plan to work with third-party owners and address the remaining non-accessible bus stops, including establishing priorities for remediation to most quickly meet customer needs.

In the meantime, customers are being kept advised of accessible route information and any temporary disruptions so they can more effectively plan their trip. GO Transit bus drivers negotiate alternative stop locations with customers on a case-by-case basis when an accessible stop is not available. It is not practical or safe to offer accessible service at locations where the appropriate infrastructure does not exist (e.g. sidewalks, adequately-sized bus pads, corresponding accessible stop in the opposite direction etc.). Accordingly, there may be situations where a customer cannot board or exit the bus close to their desired destination.

Air Rail Link

The ARL stops at specific stations with level boarding. Alternative stopping locations will not be required or available, and this clause does not apply.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

The LRT will stop at pre-defined accessible stops and locations. If a stop is not available, the nearest safe stopping location will be the adjacent station or stop.

Clause 48 - Storage of mobility aids etc.

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure that safe storage is provided, where possible, for mobility aids and mobility assistive devices in the passenger compartments of its vehicles within reach of the person who uses it (and at no extra cost). Where it is not possible to store the devices in the passenger compartment, they should be stored in the baggage compartment (wherever one exists) of the same vehicle as the passenger.

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx has been compliant with this requirement since the compliance date.

Regulatory Compliance Date: July 1, 2011

GO Transit

GO Transit has been compliant with these requirements since before the compliance date. All buses are equipped with priority and courtesy seating and designated areas for people travelling with WMAs. Passengers with mobility devices may sit in these areas and or place their devices in the baggage or passenger compartments.

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement as it is being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the ARL service. Each DMU vehicle will have two areas designated for passengers using WMAs. Nearby seating allow passengers to transfer if they wish.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

Each vehicle will have 4 locations designated for passengers using WMAs.

Clause 49 - Courtesy seating

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure and communicate the provision of clearly marked courtesy seating for people with disabilities on its vehicles. It must be located close to the vehicle entrance door and signed to indicate that passengers without disability must vacate it for those with disabilities.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2012

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx exceeds this requirement and has been compliant since before the compliance date.

GO Transit

In addition to offering “priority” seating to people with disabilities to satisfy this requirement, GO Transit also offers “courtesy” seating for other people who would benefit from it. As articulated on its website, GO Transit has placed new and more visible priority seating decals by the accessible seating areas on GO Trains and GO Buses to make sure passengers with a disability are given a seat.

On GO Trains, priority seating is located on the lower level of the accessible railcar – the fifth railcar from the locomotive end of the train.

On GO Buses, priority seating is located in the first few rows near the bus driver on highway buses and near the stairs on double-decker buses.

Courtesy Seating is intended to provide preferred seating for other people who will benefit from having a seat including the following.

  • seniors
  • expectant mothers
  • adults traveling with infants or small children
  • any other passenger who may benefit from a seat

Passengers are reminded through periodic communications campaigns to respect the purpose of priority and courtesy seating and to vacate it for those who need it if they happen to be sitting in one of these designated seats.

Exhibit 27: GO Transit Priority and Courtesy Seating Signage

 

To increase customer awareness regarding the existence of priority seating on highway coaches, the phrase “Please vacate on request” has been stitched into the upper portion of the seat backrests using high contrast colours. A yellow light overhead was also placed above each of the two priority seating areas to draw further attention to priority seating. These features are displayed in the images below.

Exhibit 28: Identification of Priority Seating on GO Buses

 

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement in a similar fashion to GO Transit.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

In each vehicle numerous seats, which are easily accessible and near to a passenger door, will be clearly identified as priority seating. Specific locations are currently under review.

Clause 50 - Service disruptions

Requirement: that, where a route or scheduled service is temporarily changed and the change is known in advance of the commencement of the trip, Metrolinx should ensure that accessible arrangements are made to ensure people with disabilities reach their route destination. These arrangements should furthermore be communicated in a manner that takes into account the person’s disability.

Regulatory Compliance Date: July 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is already compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit complies with this requirement by offering alternate accessible routes or accessible transportation modes to passengers when scheduled service is temporarily changed. It communicates the availability of these alternatives through a variety of channels including email distributions, websites and the mainstream media and offers the information in accessible formats upon request.

Air Rail Link

If the ARL as a rail service is replaced with alternate service on a temporary planned basis, the alternative service will be accessible, and will be compliant with this requirement.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

As the first LRT line will not be in service until 2020, many aspects have not yet been defined. This requirement will be considered and addressed at a later date by the appropriate organization or local transit agency delivering the service.

Clause 51 - Pre-boarding announcements

Requirement: Clause 51 of the IAS regulation of the AODA requires that Metrolinx provide, on request, pre-boarding verbal announcements of the route, direction, and destination or next major stop by July 1, 2011. It also requires that Metrolinx provide electronic pre-boarding announcements on its vehicles and that they meet the requirements set out in clause 58 by January 1, 2017.

Regulatory Compliance Date: July 1, 2011 (verbal); January 1, 2017 (electronic)

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with the verbal requirement, but is not yet compliant with the electronic requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit has been compliant with the first requirement since the July 1, 2011 regulatory deadline and is committed to ensuring its compliance with the second requirement by the January 1, 2017 regulatory compliance date. GO Transit bus drivers announce all stops. Customer Service Ambassadors aboard trains also announce the route destination, connection information, and the next station stop.

Automated pre-boarding announcements are included in the scope of the CAD/AVL system outlined in the discussion of clause 12 (Accessible formats and communication supports), ensuring compliance with the second requirement by the January 1, 2017 deadline. Customers will be provided audio/visual next stop information on board all buses (by spring 2014), as well as audio/visual next stop information on board all trains (by fall 2014).

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with both the verbal and electronic portions of this requirement, through automated announcements incorporated into public address systems and electronic displays that are part of the station design.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

Both audible announcements and visible electronic displays for pre-boarding announcements are included in the design of the LRVs.

Clause 52 - On-board announcements

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure the provision of audible verbal announcements of all destination points or available route stops on its vehicles by July 1, 2011. It also requires that, by January 1, 2017, all destination points or available route stops are announced through electronic means and are legibly and visually displayed through electronic means, and that visual displays meet the requirements set out in clause 58.

Regulatory Compliance Date: July 1, 2011 (verbal); January 1, 2017 (electronic)

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with the verbal requirement, but is not yet compliant with the electronic requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit bus drivers and train crews make announcements prior to every stop. GO has been compliant with the first requirement since the July 1, 2011. Automated on-board next stop announcements are included in the scope of the CAD/AVL system outlined in the discussion of clause 12 (Accessible formats and communication supports), ensuring compliance with the second requirement by the January 1, 2017 deadline. Customers will be provided automated audio/visual next stop information on board all buses by 2014, as well as automated audio/visual next stop information on board all trains 2014.

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with both the verbal and electronic portions of this requirement, through automated announcements incorporated into public address systems and screens that are part of the vehicle design.

Vehicles will have large print instructions and a public address system to make audio announcements via the interior and/or exterior speakers, with an automatic announcement system to inform passengers of the approaching station, current station and other pertinent audio or visual information.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

Electronic passenger information displays an audible PA messages that will automatically announce the next stop are included in the LRV design.

Clause 53 - Requirements regarding grab bars

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure that all of its vehicles that are manufactured on or after January 1, 2013 are equipped with grab bars, handholds, handrails or stanchions. The clause also requires that they are to be provided at appropriate specified locations and that they meet specified criteria such as being high colour-contrasted with a slip resistant surface etc. Despite the January 1, 2013 deadline, any contracts for vehicles entered into on or after July 1, 2011 were required to meet these requirements.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013 (July1, 2011 for any contracts entered into)

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is already compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit has been compliant with these requirements since July 1, 2011. In addition, GO has retrofitted older vehicles wherever necessary and possible.

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement as it is being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the ARL service.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

The Metrolinx LRV grab bars are compliant with this clause.

Clause 54 - Floors and carpeted surfaces

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure its vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 2013 have floors that produce minimal glare and are slip resistant, and that any carpeted surfaces have a low, firm and level pile or loop and are securely fastened. Despite the January 1, 2013 deadline, any contracts for vehicles entered into on or after July 1, 2011 were required to meet these requirements.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013 (July 1, 2011 for any contracts entered into)

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx has been compliant with these requirements since July 1, 2011 and has retrofitted older vehicles wherever necessary.

GO Transit

Anti-skid, minimal glare flooring and reflective step nosing is in use inside GO Transit buses. In GO Transit railcars, the use of colour contrasting High Performance Photoluminescent (HPPL) aisle strips on the floors has recently been implemented. These features are shown below.

Exhibit 29: GO Double-Decker Bus and Photoluminescent Strips in Rail Coach Flooring

 

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement as slip-resistant flooring is being provided in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the ARL service.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

The vehicles are being designed with floor coverings that comply with this clause.

Clause 55 - Allocated mobility aid spaces

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure its vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 2013 have two or more allocated mobility aid spaces, equipped as appropriate with securement devices.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is already compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit accessible railcars provide eight allocated WMA spaces, equipped with optional securement devices. GO Transit buses provide two allocated WMA spaces, equipped with securement devices. GO Transit has been compliant with these requirements since the bus fleet became accessible in 2009.

GO Bus Track Covers

Exhibit 30: GO Highway Coach Seat Track Cover

 

Track covers are used on the floor of GO Transit’s highway coaches in the priority seating area to prevent dirt and debris from collecting inside the tracks that are used to move priority seats to clear the WMA securement area.

A track cover replacement program was completed in 2011 to replace the previous track covers, which needed to be removed manually with a screwdriver, with slide-on track covers fastened to the priority seating frame.

The new track covers as shown in the illustration are automatically pulled out of the track as the seats are moved to access the WMA securement area and are similarly repositioned into the tracks when the seats are moved back into their standard position.

GO Highway Coach Removal of Seats for Wheelchair

Exhibit 31: Decal Showing Highway Coach Lift Dimension and Weight Capacity

 

In order to facilitate boarding and save time, two sets of sliding seats were removed on GO Transit’s highway coaches for the Hamilton routes where there is a high demand for service by customers using WMAs. The new configuration can accommodate one manual wheelchair while permanently removing 4 seats, and is being evaluated as a possible permanent feature.

Quick Secure WMA Securement System

In an effort to reduce boarding and exiting times for passengers using WMAs, as an initiative over and above this regulation, GO Transit worked with wheelchair and passenger securement manufacturers to explore alternatives to the existing seven-point securement system. The current coach suppliers determined that an alternative was not possible due to the limitations of the bus chassis structure design and so this initiative was discontinued.

GO Bus external lift decal

To inform passengers of the dimensions and weight capacity of the lifts on GO Transit highway coaches, this information is posted on the side door of the lift, and in the GO Accessibility Guide for Customers (available at gotransit.com and in hard copy). Although not required by this regulation, GO Transit implemented this as a good customer service measure.

Air Rail Link

Once it has been launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement as it is being addressed in the design of the diesel multiple unit (DMU) vehicle that will be used for the ARL service.

Each DMU interior is fully level and will feature two designated seating areas to accommodate passengers using WMAs and space for service animals. The passenger seats closest to the WMA locations will have adequate access to allow a passenger to transfer between a WMA and the seats, and will accommodate companion seating as shown in the image below. Vehicles will satisfy Canadian regulations specifying that wheelchair spaces must have “a minimum clear floor area of 750mm by 1200mm.

Exhibit 32: ARL DMU Floor Plan Showing WMA Locations

 

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

In the four Toronto LRT projects, the WMA space will be provided according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at 30” x 48” (760mm x 1220mm), and each LRV is able to accommodate four wheelchairs as shown below. Signage will be posted to identify the wheelchair or mobility aid seating locations. Flip and perch seats are located to provide more space within the wheelchair area.

Numerous stakeholder reviews were conducted on the TTC’s earlier version of this low floor vehicle, which are largely applicable to the Metrolinx designs. Metrolinx has also conducted a review of a “mock up” of the vehicle with the TTC Advisory Committee on Accessible Transit (ACAT), and the GO Transit and Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committees. Issues raised at these meetings are being investigated and addressed as design progresses. Additional design issues will be presented to these groups for review as appropriate before the designs are finalized.

Exhibit 33: Detail of LRV Floor Plan showing WMA Locations

 

Clause 56 - Stop-requests and emergency response controls

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure its vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 2013 are equipped with accessible stop-requests and emergency response controls that are located appropriately throughout it vehicles, including within reach of allocated mobility aid spaces and courtesy (and priority) seating.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit rail cars are equipped with yellow emergency alarms strips to summon assistance, located within reach of mobility aid spaces in the accessible car and priority seating. GO Buses are equipped with stop request strips located within reach of mobility aid spaces.

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement as alarm strip locations are is being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the ARL service.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

Intercom and stop request push buttons in the LRV will be located within ergonomic reach of passengers using WMAs as shown below.

Exhibit 34: LRV Intercom and Stop Request Button Locations

 

Clause 57 - Lighting features

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure its vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 2013 are equipped with lights above or beside each passenger access door that are consistently lit when the door is open and illuminates lifting devices and ramps etc.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

Two bright lights light up the side of GO Transit buses during the boarding process to enhance safety and accessibility for passengers. In addition, new interior lighting has been added to GO Transit railcars to provide glare free illumination, along with brighter external step lights.

Exhibit 35: Examples of GO Bus and Train Lighting

 

Air Rail Link

When it is launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement as lighting requirements are being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the ARL service.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

The LRV vehicle design is providing lighting systems compliant with this requirement.

Clause 58 - Signage

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure its vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 2013 clearly display the route or direction of the vehicle or its destination or next major stop, visible from the boarding point.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is already compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit buses are equipped with destination displays on both the front and side of the bus. While existing GO Transit rail coaches do not display any destination information that can be viewed from the boarding point, any new vehicles manufactured after January 1, 2013 will meet this requirement.

Air Rail Link

Once it has been launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement as destination displays are being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the ARL service.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

The LRV design includes both signage and audible pre-boarding announcements compliant with this clause.

Clause 59 - Lifting devices etc.

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure its vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 2013 are equipped with lifting devices, ramps or portable bridge plates and meet certain specifications such as having a slip resistant surface and raised edges for safety.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is already compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

Exhibit 36: GO Train Boarding Ramp

 

Exhibit 37: GO Double-Decker Boarding Ramp

 

All GO Transit buses and trains are compliant with this requirement. A bus lift and a manually positioned bridge plate for an accessible bi-level railcar are shown in the illustrations below.

Exhibit 38: GO Highway Coach Lift

 

GO Transit’s bus fleet consists of highway coaches and double-decker buses. The entire fleet is equipped with a kneeling feature at the entrance door which lowers the first step to 9 inches high, providing an easy access to the bus.

All low floor double-decker buses are furthermore equipped with a hydraulic folding ramp, to facilitate the boarding and exiting process for people using WMAs.

Highway coaches are equipped with an exterior hydraulic lift, which raises the customer to the level of the interior floor for entry to the coach through doors at window height.

At an accessible rail station, the accessible railcar is positioned adjacent to a mini-platform to enable level boarding with the use of the manually positioned platform bridge plate across the gap. A Customer Service Ambassador (CSA) is also stationed in this coach to assist.

GO Transit bus lift improvements

Starting in 2010, all GO highway coaches started being equipped with the Braun lift, which allows the lift to be deployed on any surface condition. As an initiative over and above this regulation, the new Braun lifts were installed on 58 of the fleet’s highway coaches in 2011 and 2012, with the same features as the old Ricon lifts, in addition to a longer (one piece) roll stop, hand rails and integrated side enclosures. They will also perform with greater reliability, and will be installed on future highway coach bus purchases.

Air Rail Link

Once it has been launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement as it is being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the ARL service.

The vehicle floor will be level, without interior steps or ramps to change elevation, and will provide level boarding with high-level station platforms. Platform sliding doors will also be installed to work in synchronization with the doors on the vehicles for better climate control and safety.

The spacing between the ARL vehicles and the platform is an important consideration, both for accessibility and to allow passengers to roll their luggage on and off the train. The 250mm (10 inch) gap between the platform and vehicle poses a significant risk for customers and does not comply with AODA standards. In order to address this gap, a brightly-coloured, skid-resistant surfaced, vehicle-mounted platform extension has been included in the design which will reduce the gap to approximately 70mm (3 inches).

The vehicle will have an accommodating 51 inch width open doorway with illuminated pushbuttons on the inside and outside of the vehicle to permit passengers to open the doors at Bloor and Weston GO stations under certain operating conditions. The door pushbuttons and surrounding bezels will be colour-coded with raised lettering to permit sensing by a person with vision loss. A bright visual door closing warning light will flash, accompanied by an audible warning, on both sides of the doorway. The visual indicators will be located on the side of the door frame, and can be seen inside and outside the vehicle regardless of door position.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

In the vehicle to be used for the four Toronto LRT projects, level boarding provides easy vehicle access from the station platform. The emergency door release handle location is compliant with Canadian Standards Association standard B651, which determines a maximum height, reach height and side distance and the door open buttons will be within reach of all passengers.

The design of the LRVs and related platform provide a level-boarding interface throughout the system, and lifting devices are not required or provided.

Exhibit 39: LRV Door Release and Level Boarding

 

Clause 60 – Steps

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure that any of its vehicles that are equipped with steps have, by January 1, 2013: the step edges marked by a high-contrast colour strip, slip resistant surfaces, and uniform, closed riser heights and tread depths.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is already compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

Exhibit 40: GO Rail Coach Improved Step Lighting

 

GO Transit’s highway coaches have steps. The image to the right shows the entrance of an accessible GO Transit highway coach with steps that feature extra lighting, high-contrast reflective step nosing, handrail supports and uniform, closed riser heights and tread depths.

GO Transit’s double-decker buses also have steps leading to the upper level, while its bi-level railcars have steps between the lower, mezzanine, and upper levels. Improved interior step lights have been added to all bi-level railcars.

Air Rail Link

Once it has been launched in 2015, the ARL will be compliant with this requirement as it is being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the ARL service.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

Step contrast and lighting are being addressed in the design of the LRVs, which will be compliant when they go into service.

Clause 61 - Indicators and alarms

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure that where vehicles have a ramp (that is not operated manually), lifting device or a kneeling function, by January 1, 2013, each of them is equipped with a visual warning lamp and audible warning alarm, which operates when the device is in motion.

Regulatory Compliance Date: January 1, 2013

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is already fully compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

All lifts installed on GO Transit buses include a visual and audible warning alarm, meeting the requirements of this clause.

In addition, GO Transit has installed, on its railcars, an audible door closing alarm, flashing warning lights and a door recycling function for added safety.

Air Rail Link

The ARL will provide level boarding without use of a lift or kneeling device. This clause does not apply.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

The LRV is being designed with level boarding without use of a lift or kneeling device. This clause does not apply.

Clause 62 - Accessibility, rail cars

Requirement: that Metrolinx ensure, for light rail, commuter rail or inter-city rail, that at least one rail car per train is accessible to people with disabilities who use mobility aids. The regulatory deadline for this was July 1, 2011 and Metrolinx has been compliant since this date.

The clause also requires that, where washrooms are provided on rail cars, there is at least one mobility aid accessible washroom on the mobility aid accessible rail car. The regulatory deadline for this requirement is January 1, 2013 for rail cars manufactured on or after January 1, 2013. Despite this January 1, 2013 deadline, any contract to purchase rail cars on or after July1, 2011 was obligated to already be compliant with these requirements.

Regulatory Compliance Date: July 1, 2011 (for any contracts entered into by this date); January 1, 2013 (for rail cars manufactured on or after this date)

Compliance Status Commentary: Metrolinx is compliant with these requirements.

GO Transit

All GO Trains have included one accessible rail car since 1995. The fifth coach from the locomotive on a GO Train is always a fully wheelchair-accessible coach and can accommodate up to eight mobility devices. Each accessible car is equipped with mobility aid accessible washroom.

Accessible Washrooms

Exhibit 41: Details of GO Rail Coach Accessible Washroom

 

The standard GO Train accessible washroom is now equipped with easier to reach, low level emergency alarm strips, a new out of service sign, and an enhanced door lock handle with easier to see High Performance Photoluminescent (HPPL) signage.

Exhibit 42: New GO Train Hand Dryer

 

GO Transit’s latest accessible coach has now been equipped with an automatic recessed mounted hand dryer in the washroom. This feature is anticipated to be beneficial to people with disabilities that affect manual dexterity. The hand dryer has an infrared sensor that activates the dryer when hands are placed in the sensor zone. The circuitry will have a self-adjusting time-out and fail-safe shut off protection controlled by a microprocessor that detects and rejects false signals and automatically self-calibrates to provide uniform sensitivity.

Automatic End Doors

In addition, to enhance accessibility, GO Transit has installed automatic end doors in its railcars with motion detection and a touch door switch, as well as exterior door push buttons.

Exhibit 43: Improved GO Train Door Openers

 

Air Rail Link

The ARL will be compliant with this requirement as every rail car in every train will be accessible.

Rapid Transit Implementation Group

The LRVs will be compliant with this requirement, as every rail car in every train will be accessible.

On-Board Decals

Although not required under regulations of the AODA, in the interests of more clearly communicating information to customers, Metrolinx’s GO Transit operating division initiated an on-board decal initiative for its railcar fleet, intended to effectively reduce and simplify decals in train coaches, making them easier to read and understand, and using pictograms to replace words where possible. In addition, decals will be bilingual.

Upon completion of the initial decal signage concepts package, a full mock-up of an accessible car was completed in April 2010. Members of the GO Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Customer Service Advisory Committee were invited together with GO Management and relevant stakeholders within the organization for an opportunity to view and comment on the proposed new signage.

In general, the new designs were well received with constructive comments and suggestions from all parties. All of the signs were thoroughly assessed and where practical, suitable design changes were carried out.

The process began February 2011, and is anticipated to be completed by spring 2013. Approximately 80 signs and decals are under review to make them compliant with the standards of the AODA, the French Languages Services Act and the American Public Transportation Association. Two of the signs being reviewed are shown in the images to the right.

Exhibit 44: Enhanced Rail Car Signage Decals

 

 

7.2.5 Infrastructure Initiatives (Non-Regulatory)

GO Transit Design Requirements Manual (DRM)

The following list of easier access features are incorporated into all GO Transit train stations and bus terminals through the DRM as a standard design practice to ensure full accessibility. The DRM standards are also being referred to by Metrolinx for certain non-GO Transit projects, such as the ARL and BRT stations that Metrolinx is in charge of delivering. All new Metrolinx rail and bus stations where Metrolinx has construction responsibility) will be built in accordance with the Design Requirements Manual (DRM), even though it was originally developed for GO Transit.

  1. Delineated pedestrian crosswalks and pavement markings
  2. Designated accessible parking spaces and loading areas
  3. Sidewalks with curb cuts to accommodate barrier-free access
  4. Benches in stations and designated shelters on train and bus platforms and park and ride and kiss and ride areas
  5. Stairways with accessible features, such as colour contrasted, non-slip stair nosing, handrails and detectable tactile flooring in advance of stairs
  6. Power door operators and door guards throughout all accessible designated interior routes
  7. Accessible washrooms
  8. Floor grilles compatible with the use of canes and crutches and grating located away from the main pedestrian traffic flow
  9. Barrier-free ticket sales counters and accessible ticket booths
  10. Increased illumination near passenger loading and waiting areas
  11. Accessible bus bays and platform areas
  12. Signage for station way-finding
  13. Public Address system
  14. Elevators with accessible features, where the station or facility requires an elevator
  15. Elevated accessible rail platform (mini-platform)

Existing Accessible GO Stations

Bus Terminals

GO Transit buses serve 18 bus terminals of which 5 (or 28 percent) feature wheelchair accessible bus service. Eight of these bus terminals are owned and/or leased by GO Transit (as of July 2012), while the remaining ten are owned by municipalities or other jurisdictions.

Approximately 90 per cent of all GO owned bus locations are accessible (including bus terminals, bus loops at rail stations, and bus stops). Work is progressing to make any non-accessible locations accessible.

For example, four major bus terminals that are owned by GO Transit are accessible or are in progress to be accessible (Finch at Yonge is accessible, Yorkdale and York Mills are in progress and Scarborough Town Centre is in future plans).

The chart in the appendices section 9.3 of this document shows the eight GO Transit owned and/or leased bus terminals and their easier access design features.

Train Stations

By the end of 2013, it is anticipated that 56 out of 62 (or 90 percent) of all GO Train stations will be designated as accessible. The map below illustrates this. GO Transit additionally provides seasonal accessible service to St. Catharines and Niagara Falls stations which are owned and operated by VIA.

Exhibit 45: Accessibility of GO Rail Stations

 

The accessible rail stations added to the GO Transit network in the past year were the following.

Clarkson Station – Lakeshore West Line

The project to install a new tunnel and elevators at Clarkson was completed in early 2012, making the station accessible.

Kitchener Station – Kitchener Line

Before introducing GO rail service to Kitchener in January 2012, the Kitchener station platform was upgraded to accommodate accessible GO service.

Guelph Station – Kitchener Line

The Guelph station is accessible and it was open to GO passengers in January 2012.

Malton Station – Kitchener Line

Elevators and other improvements to make the station accessible were included in work at the Malton station which was completed in January 2011.

Allandale Waterfront Station – Barrie Line

This new accessible Barrie GO was completed in early 2012.

Existing Non-Accessible GO Stations

Bus Facilities

The 13 of 18 (or 72 percent) of bus terminals served by GO Transit buses that do not feature wheelchair accessible bus service are owned by several municipalities and other jurisdictions as well as GO Transit. GO Transit is steadily moving towards making its own stations accessible and actively works with other owners to ensure that this is done at other locations wherever feasible.

The GO Transit operating division is furthermore working to upgrade existing bus stops and customer access locations to a higher level of standardized amenity, accessibility and safety. This will increase the number of accessible stops and also enhance comfort at bus stops and customer access locations that are already accessible, through the addition of new concrete pads, better customer information, and the construction of new shelters where warranted. The initiative is called the Customer Access Location Project (CAL).

GO Transit owns a limited number of the stops and terminals that it serves. A program to retrofit these facilities, including bus loops at rail stations, park and ride lots, and major bus terminals is underway. See appendix section 9.3 of this document for a description of the accessibility features of the eight GO Transit owned and/or leased bus terminals.

On-Street Bus Stop Upgrades

Under the Customer Access Locations project, GO Transit is upgrading on street stops to meet accessibility requirements and improve passenger amenities. GO also serves many bus stops and terminals that are owned and maintained by municipal jurisdictions or private partners. GO is working with the local municipalities or other partners to implement the CAL at these locations.

York Mills GO Transit Bus Terminal

The York Mills GO Transit bus terminal accessibility project will include the following improvements to be completed by the fall of 2012.

  • The bus platform will be modified so that bus wheelchair lifts can be deployed.
  • Improvements will be made to access points, installing automatic door operators and a new elevator.
  • Non-accessible doors will be replaced with accessible ones of appropriate width for wheelchair access.
  • Improvements to lighting, including replacement of defective/inoperative units will be made.
  • The existing partition wall between the passenger waiting area and platforms two and three will be demolished.

Yorkdale Bus Terminal

At the Yorkdale Bus Terminal, GO Transit is currently installing a new lift from the mall to the bus terminal to improve access to the terminal. It is also improving pedestrian access from street level to the bus terminal. These improvements will be completed in 2013.

Scarborough Town Centre GO Transit Bus Terminal

The redesign and construction of this terminal by the TTC will include accessibility, and will begin in 2014, when the Scarborough RT will be closed to be replaced by LRT technology. During the renovations, GO Transit and other buses will be relocated temporarily to a temporary, accessible location.

Train Stations

Currently, six GO Transit train stations are not accessible – they are Eglinton, Mimico, Long Branch, Kipling, Bloor and Georgetown.

These stations are not accessible for a variety of reasons ranging from space limitations for accommodating elevators, to coordination of investment in accessibility with other more extensive station infrastructure improvements. Five stations are anticipated to become accessible by the end of 2016. A more specific timeline for Kipling will be provided once the timing of a significant station expansion/redesign is confirmed.

The chart below indicates which rail lines these stations are located on and when they are anticipated to be made accessible.

Exhibit 46: Schedule for Accessibility of Remaining Inaccessible GO Stations

  2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
Lakeshore West Line
Long Branch Station   To Be Made Accessible    
Mimico Station     To Be Made Accessible  
Lakeshore East Line
Eglinton Station   To Be Made Accessible    
Milton Line
Kipling Station (Timing Uncertain)        
Kitchener Line
Georgetown Station       To Be Made Accessible
Bloor Station   To Be Made Accessible    

 

Planned Improvements to Accessible GO Stations

Improving the accessibility of GO Transit rail and bus stations can include the following.

  • Making station buildings and shelters barrier free (automating exterior doors, and increasing the doorway sizes of interior doors etc.).
  • Enhancing signage for easy way-finding.
  • Adding accessible parking spaces and drop-off areas.
  • Enhancing circulation around the station.

In 2012, improvements of this type were included in projects at Bronte, Dixie, Aurora, Mount Joy, and Centennial stations.

In the upcoming years, the following accessibility-related initiatives at rail and bus stations are planned (see chart below), pending funding availability and final approvals by Metrolinx.

Exhibit 47: Planned GO Facility Accessibility Improvements

Location GO Station Improvements
Station Building Parking Platform
Ajax   2013 2013
Appleby 2013   2014
Erindale 2013 2013  
Oakville   2013  
Pickering   2013  
Unionville   2013 2013
Weston 2014   2013
Yorkdale Bus     2013

 

Union Station Revitalization

Two significant projects are underway to revitalize Union Station. The City of Toronto, owner of the station building, is undertaking a project with three objectives: to improve the quality and capacity of pedestrian movement in and around the station; to restore heritage elements; and to transform Union Station into a major destination for shopping, dining and visiting. GO Transit, a major occupant, is having substantial input into this project. GO Transit owns, and is renovating, the train shed and platforms. All improvements will be completed by 2016.

Accessibility improvements in the station building and concourses will include directional signage, being designed with more uniform design using the guidelines given by CNIB’s “Clearing our Path”. The improved signage, combined with a simpler and more open layout of the facility, will simplify navigation through the terminal.

The ticket sales in the concourse booths are being designed in accordance with the guidelines given by CNIB’s “Clearing our Path”, and with input from the Canadian Hearing Society.

Work on the platforms and train shed a new roof and glass atrium allowing natural light to stream over the passenger platforms and railway tracks. Tracks are being modified and a new platform added to increase capacity.

Improvements that will directly improve accessibility include installing new elevators so that there are two elevators accessing each platform. Detectable warning tiles are being added to all platform edges, and at the tops and landings of all stairs in accordance with CNIB’s “Clearing our Path”. In addition to the natural light provided by the new atrium, the overall lighting in the shed will be improved. A new Public Address system will be installed, which will improve the audibility of all announcements. New Passenger Information Signs are being installed at track level to show what train is boarding, as well as any service update announcements.

Other GO Station Accessibility Improvements

Designated Waiting Area (DWA)

The new standard elevated mini-platform and associated DWA features are being implemented in current GO Station infrastructure projects.

The DWA at GO rail stations, located at the mini-platform, will provide additional features at this location, and will allow passengers to contact GO staff for assistance. The DWA designation offers improved visibility of the features at the station mini-platform.

Rail Platform Edge Detectable Tiles – Pilot Project

In winter of 2012, a pilot project is planned to evaluate a standardized rail platform edge detectable tile feature. This project will alert passengers to potential hazards by helping them to recognize unprotected platform edges. The detectable tiles will identify potential hazards using changes in colour and texture and should not present a tripping hazard.

The pilot will be evaluated for detectability by customers with disabilities, including review and input by advisory committee members, feasibility of installation on both existing platforms and new construction, as well as safety, maintenance and durability.

Accessible Park and Ride / Carpool Lots

GO Transit makes use of a number of park and ride lots which it has initiated and carpool lots largely owned by municipalities or the Ministry of Transportation. Currently there are 34 in total. The accessibility features of these Park and Ride / Carpool Lots are as follows.

  • Bus platforms have 3m x 6m space to accommodate lift deployment.
  • Barrier free path from bus platform to accessible parking spots.
  • Curb cuts.
  • Shelter, when present, has power operated doors and barrier free turning radius.

Approximately 10 new Park and Ride / Carpool Lots are currently under construction or have just been completed and all will be accessible when complete.

Static Signage

GO Transit’s Static Signage Catalogue specifies Clearview ADA fonts for all signage. Clearview ADA has been designed and tested to maximize legibility on signage. GO Transit’s Design Requirements Manual (DRM) is furthermore being applied on an ongoing basis for identifying and way-finding signage along accessible routes. All signage associated with new work is compliant with the current signage catalogue.

Air Rail Link

The ARL will have four stations, including a dedicated area at Union Station, platforms at the Bloor and Weston GO stations, and a terminal station at Pearson International Airport Terminal 1. The Union and Terminal 1 stations will feature glass platform doors and enclosed lounge, station platform and mezzanine areas for customer comfort and safety. Bloor and West stations will share facilities with GO Transit and use GO accessibility standards. These two stations will have large canopies, bright lighting, wide walkways, and snowmelt systems for passenger safety. A brightly coloured tactile strip will indicate the platform edge. All stations have barrier-free access via ramps and elevators, accompanied by wide walkways.

The ARL signage will use CNIB approved fonts, a high contrast colour palette, and international symbols to the greatest extent possible.

Rapid Transit Implementation

Design work on six of the underground stations on the Eglinton Crosstown Line is well underway. Public consultation sessions took place for each one in the winter and spring months of 2012, with sessions open to all members of the public. These stations designs have also been presented to the TTC ACAT. As further progress on the designs on these and other stations along the line is made, additional public consultation will take place. Future consultation will take place for the other three LRT lines as the designs are advanced.

7.2.6 Regional Integration Improvements (Non-Regulatory)

Transit Procurement Initiative (TPI)

Since 2007, Metrolinx has facilitated the procurement of close to 500 accessible transit buses for 23 communities and transit operators across Ontario. The bulk of the purchases were for 12-metre low-floor conventional transit vehicles (428 vehicles). Since 2009, 32 low-floor 9 metre conventional transit vehicles were procured to meet the needs of smaller communities and offer proximity services.

In 2010, TPI issued two separate procurements for 8-metre specialized vehicles (high-floor and low-floor). The outcome was the acquisition of 29 low-floor and 18 high-floor vehicles by 12 operators across the province.

Currently TPI’s bus procurements call for deliverables to comply with the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 with respect to people with disabilities. The technical specifications also demands that the vehicle proposed be compliant with Ontario Regulation 629 as modified by Ontario Regulation 184/96, s.2.

Vehicles procured under TPI incorporate features designed to improve accessibility and comfort for people with disabilities and seniors. For example, an option for an air ride suspension was available in the last 8-m high-floor contract. Overall TPI results in procurement and unit cost savings as well as improved product quality.

Exhibit 48: Conventional and Paratransit Vehicles Procured Under TPI

 

Mobility Hubs

As outlined in Strategy #7 of Metrolinx’s Regional Transportation Plan, The Big Move, key transit stations across the GTHA will become mobility hubs, where transportation modes, including rapid transit, local transit service, cycling and accessible pedestrian networks come together seamlessly.

Mobility hubs are focal points for major destinations such as offices, hospitals, educational facilities and government services. They offer amenities to travellers such as heated waiting areas, traveller information centres, cafés or restaurants, and services like daycares, grocery stores or post offices.

Metrolinx has developed Mobility Hub Guidelines, which are intended to shape planning and development at mobility hubs in the GTHA. The guidelines focus on creating successful mobility hubs, and address topics such as transit station design, station circulation and access, transit passenger information and way-finding, land use and urban design surrounding rapid transit stations, and funding and implementation.

The users of these guidelines will include Metrolinx employees, municipal land use and transportation planners, transit operators, real estate developers and other professionals in the fields of land use and transportation.

Accessibility and barrier-free design is an important part of the scope of the guidelines, and the Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee was consulted in their development. The guidelines directly treat accessibility not only as a crucial component of transit station design, but also in transfers between modes, and overall movement of people throughout mobility hubs.

Examples of accessibility related guidelines and approaches in the Mobility Hub Guidelines include:

  • Build and retrofit the pedestrian environment to meet or exceed accessibility guidelines and standards
  • Create understandable and accessible transit stations through consistency and clarity in station entrances and interfaces, spaces, layout and visual cues connected by barrier-free movement spaces
  • Provide accessible way-finding features throughout transit stations to assist people with disabilities
  • Create clear, direct and short transfers between transit modes and routes, including accessible, conventional and specialized transit
  • Consider the provision of facilities for specialized transit services to assist in the coordination of inter-regional travel for people with disabilities

Four prominent mobility hubs which Metrolinx is involved with designing are Union Station, Bloor Station, Kipling Station and Kennedy Station.

Generic Travel Training

This project involves the development of a Generic Travel Training Program for the GTHA and beyond. It is not a requirement of the AODA regulations, but rather is being developed in the interests of providing excellent customer service, and has arisen from strong interest from municipal and non-profit stakeholders. The completed program will be made available to municipal transit agencies, for them to custom tailor it with their own specific local information. It may then be delivered directly by the transit agency or through partnerships with community organizations.

Travel training programs are used by transit service providers and other agencies to prepare people to safely and comfortably use accessible conventional transit services on their own. They assist people who are new to accessible conventional transit services, but are able to use conventional transit with little to no assistance, to achieve a greater level of independence, and are able to travel more spontaneously, than when using specialized services. This program is intended to increase the availability of travel training by reducing the effort required for transit agencies to develop a program for their community.

The program has been developed with the guidance of a steering committee including representatives of the accessibility community and service providers. The Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee has also been involved in the development of the program. The program will be made available on-line in fall 2012 to interested transit agencies, and supported to encourage ongoing collaboration and evolution of the materials.

Regional Cross-Boundary Specialized Transit

The regional cross-boundary specialized transit project will address identified barriers to cross-boundary travel on specialized transit services, will produce a practical plan of action, and will begin implementation where feasible. With the assistance of a consultant, the process will include extensive involvement of transit service providers and the Metrolinx and GO Accessibility Advisory Committees. This project will also work to develop improved coordination between the existing specialized transit services and accessible conventional services where appropriate, throughout the GTHA.

One of the Priority Actions from Strategy #8 (Plan for Universal Access) from The Big Move is to “develop a region-wide strategy and local implementation strategies to improve specialized transit coordination and delivery.”

Several earlier studies, including a 2009 Metrolinx document titled “Service Coordination for Specialized Transit in the GTHA – Status Report”, have investigated the challenges to cross-boundary travel on specialized transit services. These documents provide an overview of current specialized transit services, and identified barriers to cross-boundary travel, such as differences in booking arrangements, eligibility criteria, transfer locations and inconsistent policies as difficulties facing the cross-boundary traveller.

The primary objectives of this project include the following.

  • Address the challenges affecting cross-boundary travel on specialized transit services, beginning with some of the key issues identified in the Status Report and in The Big Move, such as: complex booking requirements for cross-boundary trips; inconsistent eligibility criteria; and the suitability of transfer locations.
  • Identify ways to use accessible conventional services, including GO Transit’s inter-regional services, to increase options for cross-boundary and other longer trips.
  • Implement improvements that can be undertaken in the short term.
  • Produce a practical plan of action and high-level budgetary estimate for those that require further work.

The aim of this project is to provide increased convenience of travel across municipal boundaries using specialized transit services.

8. Conclusion

The range of services and activities being undertaken by Metrolinx is very broad, and requires attention to accessibility in all aspects. While specific technical challenges hinder progress in a few specific areas, the number of initiatives underway to increase the convenience of services to customers with disabilities illustrates the corporate commitment to this program.

Metrolinx will continue to make a priority of the accessibility of its services, not only to ensure compliance with the Ontario legislation and standards, but to ensure that transportation options for travel throughout the region are available to all.