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Metrolinx Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

Table of Contents

Acknowledgement

Metrolinx would like to acknowledge the highly valued contribution of its current and past accessibility advisory committee members. The input and experience of these individuals contributes significantly to the work of Metrolinx and is greatly appreciated.

1. Message from Metrolinx President & CEO, Bruce McCuaig

As the regional transit authority for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), Metrolinx is dedicated to making the services it provides fully accessible to people with disabilities. It also strives to set a good example as a leader in the area of accessibility for the entire transportation industry – both as an employer of choice and as a provider of transit services.

As proof of this, Metrolinx has been actively involved in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilites Act (AODA) standard development process since 2005 through its GO Transit operating division.

The benefits of accessible transit are enormous. They provide people with disabilities increased freedom and independence in their lives to go to work, school, appointments and social activities where and when they choose.

In fact, the benefits often extend beyond people with disabilities and improve the travel experience for all customers. What customer on a busy vehicle wouldn’t appreciate visual as well as audible stop announcements, or level boarding if they were carrying luggage? In short, increased accessibility is good for improving customer service and it is therefore good for business.

This multi-year accessibility plan demonstrates our ongoing commitment to improving transit accessibility in the GTHA. It features many accessibility improvements we have already completed and others we are still working on. Even though there is always more to do, we have already accomplished much, and I am confident that we will be fully accessible to people with disabilities well before the legislated compliance deadline of 2025.

As Metrolinx and its operating divisions, GO Transit, PRESTO and Union Pearson Express (formerly Air Rail Link), diligently work to avoid and remove barriers to universal access for all customers, its dedication, commitment and focus in this area remains unwavering.

Bruce McCuaig
President & CEO, Metrolinx

2. 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 multi-year accessibility plan provides 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 compliant with the AODA regulatory clauses applicable prior to, and including, January 2013. Areas requiring further attention going forward include:

  • Ensuring the capability to provide accessible formats and communication supports upon request
  • Ensuring accessibility of existing content on the many websites associated with Metrolinx activities
  • Rolling out automated audio and visual next stop announcements at stations and on board vehicles
  • Ensuring accessibility of the six remaining non-accessible rail stations
  • Completing accessibility improvements to the remaining non-accessible bus stops and terminals.

Metrolinx is 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 Union Pearson Express 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.

3. Introduction

Currently, people with disabilities, including physical disabilities, cognitive impairment, developmental or learning disabilities and others, make up 14% 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 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (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 Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (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 regional and municipal partners including local transit agencies. Metrolinx has three operating divisions: GO Transit, Union Pearson Express, 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 2005 AODA legal regulations – 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 multi-year accessibility plan addresses the identification, removal and avoidance of barriers to people with disabilities across the organization’s activities, including its policies, programs, practices and services.

As legally required, this multi-year accessibility plan was published before the January 1, 2013 AODA deadline. A final copy of the plan is 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 4 and 5, and applicability of the clauses in the regulations to Metrolinx activities in section 7. Descriptions of the organization’s accessibility initiatives, including compliance status with the regulations, are covered in sections 7 and 8 of this document.

4. 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 regional 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 ten 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.

Metrolinx, including its three operating divisions, GO Transit, Union Pearson Express (formerly 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.

To this end, Metrolinx has adopted the following corporate accessibility policy statement.

"Metrolinx is committed to ensuring that its services and operations are accessible to all customers and to working with partners in the GTHA to plan, build and operate an integrated accessible transportation system. The organization will work diligently to remove existing, and avoid creating, barriers to universal access and will demonstrate leadership, consulting widely and incorporating best practices to enhance accessibility in its services."

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.

4.1 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

4.1.1 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 Light Rapid Transit (LRT) projects in Toronto (Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT, Sheppard East, Scarborough, and Finch West).

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 meet the needs of customers with disabilities.

Bus Rapid Transit

Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit

The Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project involves the construction of an east-west busway across the City of Mississauga. The BRT will provide dedicated right-of-way for transit vehicles on an 18-kilometre, one lane, two-way, partially grade-separated road from Winston Churchill Boulevard to Renforth Drive and will thereby form part of the Mississaugua MiWay municipal transit network. It will feature 12 dedicated accessible station stops that offer connections to other routes and transit systems. Mississauga MiWay and GO Transit will service the BRT. The Toronto Transit Commission will join MiWay and GO Transit in servicing the eastern terminus station, Renforth Gateway.

The BRT is being developed in partnership with the Federal Government, the Province of Ontario, GO Transit (a division of Metrolinx), and the City of Mississauga.

GO Transit is responsible for the design and construction of the BRT West segment (running north and parallel to Highway 403, from Winston Churchill Boulevard to Erin Mills Parkway) and the eastern terminus station, Renforth. The City of Mississauga is responsible for the BRT East segment (from the City Centre to Renforth Drive, just south of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport). The BRT West Busway and road structures will be exclusive, grade-separated, one lane, two-way, bus-only 1.5-kilometre roadway on the north side of Highway 403. In addition to the busway and road structures, GO Transit is also responsible for the design and construction of new state-of-the-art stations for BRT West at Winston Churchill Boulevard and Erin Mills Parkway.

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 early 2015. The Renforth station will be completed by mid-2015.

GO Transit 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 GO Transit buses to avoid the busy intersections along Eglinton Avenue near Renforth Drive. This project will be constructed along with the Renforth Gateway Station and will enhance service between the BRT East and the GO and TTC networks in Toronto, and is expected to be complete in 2015.

Exhibit 2: Mississauga BRT Route

 

All elements of this project being delivered by GO Transit will adhere to the GO Transit Design Requirements Manual and therefore will be accessible and barrier free. Those partners delivering on other elements of the project will be responsible for complying with applicable legislated accessibility requirements through their own processes, while working to integrate as seamlessly as possible.

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 Street, 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, 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-Scarborough 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.

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 to meet AODA regulations.

Exhibit 5: Metrolinx Light Rail Transit Projects

 

Exhibit 6: Metrolinx Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) Rendering

 

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. The Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee has furthermore been involved in reviewing the proposed design of LRT services.

4.1.2 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

4.1.3 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.

4.2 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 Toronto Transit Commission (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. All GO Transit bus services are accessible. Where a particular bus stop or terminal is not accessible, arrangements are made for them to travel to the nearest safe accessible location. In the meantime, work continues to make the remaining rail stations and bus terminals and stops accessible as described throughout this accessibility plan.

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, the ODA, and the 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 1 per 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.

4.3 Union Pearson Express

Union Pearson Express 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 Union Pearson Express 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: Union Pearson Express Route and Stations

 

The 25km Union Pearson Express 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 Union Pearson Express 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 Union Pearson Express vehicles, stations, technology and emergency operations. The Union Pearson Express 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: Union Pearson Express Train Rendering

 

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

The Union Pearson Express service will employ 18 high-speed diesel multiple-units (DMUs) in train sets of 3 DMU’s. 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 Union Pearson Express will meet or exceed accessibility requirements to provide a high level of accessible convenience. As part of this effort, the Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee has been involved in reviewing the proposed design of the Union Pearson Express service.

4.4 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 bureau 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 until November 2012, over 400,000 PRESTO cards had been activated, with OC Transpo anticipated to add over 200,000 during 2013. After 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 November 2012, approximately 22,000 PRESTO cards were being added per month in the GTHA. The Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee and and PRESTO’s Accessiblity Users’ Group have been consulted on PRESTO’s accessibility plans.

5. 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 Coordination

Metrolinx’s Senior Management Team, and its Customer Experience Management Committee provide corporate oversight for all of the organization’s accessibility initiatives. A Directors’ Oversight Committee has now also been established with representatives from the following operational areas to guide accessibility-related activities.

  • Regional Integration
  • GO Transit
  • Union Pearson Express
  • PRESTO
  • Rapid Transit Implementation

Working groups associated with the Directors’ Oversight Committee are furthermore in the process of being established, with staff representatives providing subject matter expertise to promote a consistent approach to accessibility throughout all of Metrolinx’s operating divisions. The working groups are organized around the following topic areas.

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

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 public input for the Multi-year Accessibility Plan document. The meetings were held in the western (Oakville), northern (Richmond Hill), central (Toronto), and eastern (Pickering) parts of the GTHA. Input received through comments at these public meetings, as well as through emails, phone calls and a feedback form available on the Metrolinx website, have been summarized and incorporated as Appendix A at the back of this multi-year accessibility plan. A response from Metrolinx to each issue raised is also included. This public feedback process is discussed further in the section of this plan dealing with AODA clause 41.

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.

6. 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 # Accessibility Requirements Regulatory Compliance Date Corporate Requirement GO, Union Pearson Express, Rapid Transit Service Requirement PRESTO Requirement Section in this report
ACCESSIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARD
3 Establishment of policies, practices and procedures Jan. 1 2010 Corporate     8.1.1
4 Use of service animals and support persons Jan. 1 2010   Service   8.1.1
5 Notice of temporary disruptions Jan. 1 2010   Service PRESTO 8.1.1
6 Training for staff, etc. Jan. 1 2010 Corporate     8.1.1
7 Feedback process for providers of goods or services Jan. 1 2010 Corporate     8.1.1
8 Notice of availability of documents Jan. 1 2010 Corporate     8.1.1
9 Format of documents Jan. 1 2010 Corporate Service PRESTO 8.1.1
INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD
3 Establishment of accessibility policies Jan. 1 2013 Corporate     8.2.1
4 Accessibility plans Jan. 1 2013 Corporate     8.2.1
5 Procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities Jan. 1 2013 Corporate     8.2.1
6 Self-service kiosks Jan. 1 2014   Service PRESTO 8.2.1
7 Training Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.1
11 Feedback Jan. 1 2014 Corporate   PRESTO 8.2.2
12 Accessible formats and communication supports Jan. 1 2015 Corporate   PRESTO 8.2.2
13 Emergency procedure, plans or public safety information Jan. 1 2012       8.2.2
14 Accessible websites and web content:
- new content
Jan. 1 2014 Corporate Service PRESTO 8.2.2
- existing content Jan. 1 2021 Corporate Service PRESTO 8.2.2
21 Schedule Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
22 Recruitment, general Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
23 Recruitment, assessment or selection process Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
24 Notice to successful applicants Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
25 Informing employees of supports Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
26 Accessible formats and communication supports for employees Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
27 Workplace emergency response information Jan. 1 2012 Corporate     8.2.3
28 Documented individual accommodation plans Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
29 Return to work process Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
30 Performance management Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
31 Career development and advancement Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
32 Redeployment Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.3
34 Availability of information on accessibility equipment etc. Jan. 1 2012   Service PRESTO 8.2.4
35 Non-functioning accessibility equipment July 1 2011   Service   8.2.4
36 Accessibility training Jan. 1 2014 Corporate     8.2.4
37 Emergency preparedness and response policies Jan. 1 2012   Service   8.2.4
38 Fares, support persons Jan. 1 2014   Service PRESTO 8.2.4
39 Transition, existing contracts July 1 2011   Service   8.2.4
40 Transition, existing vehicles July 1 2011   Service   8.2.4
41 Accessibility plans, conventional transportation services Jan. 1 2013 Corporate     8.2.4
43 Accessibility plans, conventional and specialized transportation services Jan. 1 2013 Corporate     8.2.4
44 General responsibilities Jan. 1 2012   Service   8.2.4
45 Alternative accessible method of transportation Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
46 Fares July 1 2011   Service   8.2.4
47 Transit stops Jan. 1 2012   Service   8.2.4
48 Storage of mobility aids etc. July 1 2011   Service   8.2.4
49 Courtesy seating Jan. 1 2012   Service   8.2.4
50 Service disruptions Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
51 Pre-boarding announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011   Service   8.2.4
- electronic Jan. 1 2017   Service   8.2.4
52 On-board announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011   Service   8.2.4
- electronic Jan. 1 2017   Service   8.2.4
53 Requirements re grab bars, etc. Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
54 Floors and carpeted surfaces Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
55 Allocated mobility aid spaces Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
56 Stop-requests and emergency response controls Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
57 Lighting features Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
58 Signage Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
59 Lifting devices, etc. Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
60 Steps Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
61 Indicators and alarms Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
62 Accessibility, rail cars Jan. 1 2013   Service   8.2.4
7. Metrolinx Accessibility Initiatives Status Chart

The chart which follows in this section of the report provides a comprehensive listing of AODA clauses applying to Metrolinx under the 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 8), 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 Section in this report
ACCESSIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARD REGULATION
3 Establishment of policies, practices and procedures Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 8.1.1
4 Use of service animals and support persons Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 8.1.1
5 Notice of temporary disruptions Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 8.1.1
6 Training for staff, etc. Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 8.1.1
7 Feedback process for providers of goods or services Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 8.1.1
8 Notice of availability of documents Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 8.1.1
9 Format of documents Jan. 1 2010 Requirements Met 8.1.1
INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD REGULATION
> Part I General
3 Establishment of accessibility policies Jan. 1 2013 In Progress 8.2.1
4 Accessibility plans Jan. 1 2013 In Progress 8.2.1
5 Procuring or acquiring goods, services or facilities Jan. 1 2013 In Progress 8.2.1
6 Self-service kiosks Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.1
7 Training Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 8.2.1
> Part II Information and Communications Standards
11 Feedback Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.2
12 Accessible formats and communication supports Jan. 1 2015 In Progress 8.2.2
13 Emergency procedure, plans or public safety information Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 8.2.2
14 Accessible websites and web content:
- new content
Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 8.2.2
- existing content Jan. 1 2021 In Progress 8.2.2
> Part III Employment Standards
21 Schedule Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 8.2.3
22 Recruitment, general Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 8.2.3
23 Recruitment, assessment or selection process Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 8.2.3
24 Notice to successful applicants Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.3
25 Informing employees of supports Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.3
26 Accessible formats and communication supports for employees Jan. 1 2014 In Progress 8.2.3
27 Workplace emergency response information Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 8.2.3
28 Documented individual accommodation plans Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.3
29 Return to work process Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.3
30 Performance management Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.3
31 Career development and advancement Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.3
32 Redeployment Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.3
> Part IV Transportation Standards
34 Availability of information on accessibility equipment etc. Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 8.2.4
35 Non-functioning accessibility equipment July 1 2011 Requirements Met 8.2.4
36 Accessibility training Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.4
37 Emergency preparedness and response policies Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 8.2.4
38 Fares, support persons Jan. 1 2014 Requirements Met 8.2.4
39 Transition, existing contracts July 1 2011 Requirements Met 8.2.4
40 Transition, existing vehicles July 1 2011 Requirements Met 8.2.4
41 Accessibility plans, conventional transportation services Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
43 Accessibility plans, conventional and specialized transportation services Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
44 General responsibilities Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 8.2.4
45 Alternative accessible method of transportation Jan. 1 2013 In Progress 8.2.4
46 Fares July 1 2011 Requirements Met 8.2.4
47 Transit stops Jan. 1 2012 In Progress 8.2.4
48 Storage of mobility aids etc. July 1 2011 Requirements Met 8.2.4
49 Courtesy seating Jan. 1 2012 Requirements Met 8.2.4
50 Service disruptions Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
51 Pre-boarding announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011 Requirements Met 8.2.4
- electronic Jan. 1 2017 In Progress 8.2.4
52 On-board announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011 Requirements Met 8.2.4
- electronic Jan. 1 2017 In Progress 8.2.4
53 Requirements re grab bars, etc. Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
54 Floors and carpeted surfaces Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
55 Allocated mobility aid spaces Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
56 Stop-requests and emergency response controls Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
57 Lighting features Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
58 Signage Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
59 Lifting devices, etc. Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
60 Steps Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
61 Indicators and alarms Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
62 Accessibility, rail cars Jan. 1 2013 Requirements Met 8.2.4
8. Metrolinx Compliance and Accessibility Initiatives

This section of the report elaborates on the initiatives listed in the Metrolinx Accessibility Status Chart provided in section 7 of the report in the same order that they are listed in that chart.

8.1 Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Regulation

8.1.1 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 otherwise 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).

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

8.2 Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation

8.2.1 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: Metrolinx has met this requirement through the adoption of a corporate accessibility policy that covers the requirements of both the Integrated Accessibility Standards and the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service regulations. This policy is publically available on the Metrolinx website and it features the corporate accessibility policy statement highlighted in section 4 of this plan. The corporate accessibility policy is supported by accessibility related content in other corporate policies and procedure documents.

Clause 4 - Accessibility plans

Requirement: that Metrolinx establish, 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 has fulfilled its obligations through the production and publication of this multi-year accessibility plan and its consultations with people with disabilities, including its Metrolinx and GO Transit Accessibility Advisory Committees, 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.

Input received through comments at these public meetings, as well as through emails, phone calls and a feedback form available on the Metrolinx website, have been summarized and incorporated as Appendix A at the back of this plan. The process used to collect, evaluating and take action on this feedback is discuss in the section of this plan dealing with AODA clause 41.

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 compliant with this requirement. It has incorporated a number of accessibility requirements into its corporate procurement policies and procedures. These include a revised request for proposals template, and provisions ensuring that accessibility criteria, features and accessible formats are included in procurement practices, except where it is not practicable to do so (such as mandatory legal content).

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 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 on the next page 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

 

Union Pearson Express Self-Service Kiosk

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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’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 with additional functionality will start to appear within the GTHA around 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. Two TTC subway stations were chosen for this trial and PRESTO began assessing accessibility, along with other criteria, during a six month trial which commenced 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.

8.2.2 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.

Union Pearson Express

When launched, the Union Pearson Express 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: Metrolinx is committed to ensuring it has the capability to provide accessible formats and communication supports, for materials not already covered by other regulatory clauses, in advance of the compliance deadline. The solution will include a central point of contact within the organization to receive requests, and an established process to ensure that all online and offline materials can be delivered upon request in a format that is accessible to the requester.

Static and electronic information that is provided at stations and on board vehicles, such as directional and information signage, which are intended for all customers, and cannot be customized to various individual needs, will be provided in large font with other accessibility features, such as high colour contrast, in accordance with Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) guidelines. Where practicable, audible communication solutions will also be provided for electronically displayed information.

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, 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 vision loss.

Exhibit 17: S4 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 fall 2014).

Union Pearson Express

Upon launch in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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 and Pamphlet

 

 

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.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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 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 will conform to WCAG 2.0 standards at Level AA (better than the required Level A). For existing 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 2013)
  • Union Pearson Express 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”.

Union Pearson Express

When the Union Pearson Express 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 2013.

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).

8.2.3 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 by the compliance date. Some content areas which Metrolinx is still working to make more accessible for employees (as well as customers/the public) 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.

8.2.4 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.

Union Pearson Express

When it has been launched, the Union Pearson Express 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 2013.

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.

Union Pearson Express

When it has been launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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.

Union Pearson Express

Union Pearson Express 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

 

Union Pearson Express

When the Union Pearson Express will is launched until 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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’s transit services are 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.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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 will ensure that its eFare system will support fare payment by people travelling with a support person by the January 2014 compliance date, for application by its partner transit agencies.

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, comprised of 389 lift-equipped, single-level highway coaches and 47 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
2011 394 22 416 5%
2012 389 47 436 11%
2013 373 72 445 16%
2014 360 97 457 21%
2015 359 112 471 24%
2016 362 127 489 26%

 

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 sections 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 at the public meetings, as well as through emails, phone calls and a feedback form available on the Metrolinx website, have been summarized and incorporated as Appendix A in this plan. A response from Metrolinx to each issue raised is also included.

Process for Managing, Evaluating and Taking Action on Customer Accessibility Feedback

The Metrolinx process for managing, evaluating and taking action on customer accessibility feedback was used to respond to feedback received during the 2012 public consultations.

‘Note takers’ were present at the four public accessibility meetings held by Metrolinx in 2012 to provide administrative support and record the input received from the public. These notes, along with the public feedback received through emails, phone calls and an online form posted on the Metrolinx website (for members of the public that could not attend a meeting), were then summarized and categorized into topic headings for easier comprehension.

The resulting summary of suggestions and questions from the public was then distributed to the Metrolinx business units responsible for each topic, so that a response could be drafted for each item by the appropriate internal topic experts.

Any suggestions from the public that required new solutions or remedial efforts were assigned to the appropriate Metrolinx business unit for implementation and subsequent monitoring.

A summary of the public input and the accompanying Metrolinx responses was then posted to the Metrolinx website for public information purposes and included in the published multi-year accessibility plan.

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” 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 operates self-service train and bus trips. Essentially this means that all passengers with disabilities must be able to board or alight at any accessible station independently or with the assistance of a support person/personal care attendant. A “Party Ticket” is available for passengers with this need. This ticket allows the support person/personal care attendant to travel for free when accompanying a passenger with a disability.

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.

Training for customer-facing, vehicle-related staff (e.g. train crews and bus drivers) covers a review of accessible features, policies and procedures, such as the operation of the lifts and ramps on all buses and bridge plates on trains, and the securement of customers travelling with WMAs. Sensitivity awareness training is also provided to all Metrolinx employees.

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. Under no circumstances will a passenger be left stranded.

GO Train Equipment Failure Procedures

The fifth railcar of every train is designated as an accessible railcar. Passengers using wheeled mobility aids are asked their destination upon boarding a GO Train. All Customer Service Ambassadors receive notification of any inoperative elevators, and are able to immediately determine if the customer’s destination station has any inoperative elevators. If this is the case, the GO Transit Control Centre (GTCC) is immediately called so that appropriate arrangements can begin to be made at the closest accessible station to their destination to transport the affected customer to his or her destination station.

GO Trains have two standard length bridge plates on board every accessible railcar in case one fails to operate properly. An Emergency Bridge Plate of a longer design is also available on every train. This is intended for a passenger using a Wheeled Mobility Aid (WMA) to alight on a standard (lower-level) platform when the raised mini-platform is not available.

In the case of a train which may be stopped between stations due to a service disruption, equipment related failure, or other similar circumstances, specific arrangements are made for all passengers on board in the event that evacuation of the train is necessary to a) another train, b) an adjacent roadway, or c) a platform. Transit Safety staff will determine if an evacuation is possible, depending on the location, terrain, right-of-way, closest road way or platform, and other site specific factors.

In the event that a train is stopped or rendered inoperable on a bridge or embankment and there is no means to provide safe evacuation, the two options available are to expedite resolution of the service delay or to have another train couple onto the stopped train and either push or pull it to the nearest platform before the affected train is removed from revenue service.

In a situation where the train cannot be moved all passengers must remain on board until such time that it can be moved. Transit safety staff and other responders, including Customer Service Ambassadors, assist customers on board and provide water, while treating passenger safety as the paramount concern.

If an evacuation of the train is necessary and possible, it will be determined if there are any passengers with disabilities on board, so that additional staff can be engaged to deploy the Emergency Bridge Plate. Alternate transportation will then also be arranged. These alternative services may be provided by GO Transit (i.e. bus), municipal transit services and/or accessible taxi services depending on the location and circumstances.

GO Bus Equipment Failure Procedures

If the lift, ramp, securement system, lighting or kneeling feature on a GO Bus is inoperable or is deemed unsafe by the operator when required by a person with a disability, the passenger will be accommodated on the next bus to service the location. If the passenger cannot be accommodated on another bus, or if the service at that location is infrequent, arrangements will be made by the operator to provide alternative transportation to complete the passenger’s intended trip on the GO route that they are travelling, as soon as operationally possible.

If the lights and tones associated with a lift, ramp or kneeling feature are not working, the bus would not be pulled from service unless it was deemed to be unsafe. Bus drivers are trained to be mindful of passengers with disabilities and to respond accordingly. In this circumstance, the driver would ensure that the lift or ramp deployment area is kept clear and safe for all passengers boarding and deboarding the bus, and in particular people with vision loss, throughout the entire process. Similarly, if there were no passengers on the bus requiring the use of accessible features, the bus would remain in service. In the case of a passenger with a WMA intending to board a bus without the required accessibility features, passengers will be requested to wait for the next bus or alternative transport arrangements will be made if it is an infrequent service. All bus lifts are equipped with emergency hydraulic hand pumps, should normal operation of the lift not be possible for a passenger on board using a WMA to alight.

Operators will ask where a passenger using a WMA is intending to travel prior to boarding. If the passenger is travelling to a non-accessible location, then arrangements will be made to drop them off at the closest accessible location on the established route, if possible. If their intended location is accessible but temporarily inaccessible (i.e. elevator at a station not working) on the established route, alternative travel arrangements will be made by the operator to transfer the passenger to the closest safe accessible location to their intended destination.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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 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.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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 Union Pearson Express 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 rail and bus service is compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

GO Transit provides accessible service throughout its rail and bus networks. However, not all bus stops accommodate the lift used on its highway coaches and so these stops are not currently accessible. Alternative accessible travel to and from these locations is provided, as described in the section of this plan dealing with Clause 47.

All customers requiring accessible service are encouraged to contact GO Transit in advance of their travel in order to ensure that they obtain current information about the services they will be using and to help GO Transit to provide the best possible accessible service.

Union Pearson Express

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

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.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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 transportation vehicles 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 rail and bus services are compliant with this requirement.

GO Transit

If a GO Train station is not accessible, the closest available safe accessible location to board or alight is the closest accessible GO Train station.

Not all bus terminals and bus stops (particularly those in rural settings) used by GO Transit bus services are fully accessible for GO’s highway coach lifts, which comprise 95% of the bus fleet. It is not practical or safe for customers to board or alight using the highway coach lift at locations where the appropriate infrastructure does not exist (e.g. sidewalks, adequately-sized bus pads, accessible stops in both directions in close proximity to each other, etc.) Addressing this issue is complicated by the fact that the remaining inaccessible bus terminals and approximately 90% of stops are owned by others, primarily municipalities, and not Metrolinx.

Improvements in accessibility were made at York Mills terminal at the end of 2012, and they will be made at Yorkdale in 2013 and Scarborough Town Centre starting in 2015. GO Transit is also working with third-party owners, (identifying needed modifications, establishing legal agreements for the changes) to address the approximately 1200 non-accessible bus stops through an annual retrofit program, which will take several years to complete. Priorities for remediation are selected to most quickly meet customer needs.

Until GO Transit has completed modifications to bus terminals and stops that it serves to ensure that they are all accessible, customers will be able to determine whether the bus stops that they intend to use are accessible by contacting GO Transit Customer Service and using the Internet information portals. Customers seeking alternative accessible travel to or from terminals and bus stops that are not accessible are requested to contact GO in advance. This will allow GO to make alternative arrangements and serve the customer at the closest safe possible alternative stopping location in accordance with the provisions of this legislation.

Union Pearson Express

The Union Pearson Express 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.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express will be compliant with this requirement as it is being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the Union Pearson Express service. Each DMU vehicle will have two areas designated for passengers using WMAs with companion seats nearby, providing the opportunity to transfer from a WMA and the seats. There will also be ample storage for the luggage of all passengers.

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 26: 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 27: Identification of Priority Seating on GO Buses

 

A communications plan has been implemented to communicate the function and importance of priority and courtesy seating. Through brochures, newsletters, employee training, and on-board announcements, the importance of priority seating and the need to vacate the seats if requested are communicated to all customers.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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.

Union Pearson Express

If the Union Pearson Express 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 and Customer Service Ambassadors aboard trains provide pre-boarding route and other travel information upon request.

Automated pre-boarding announcements for buses (using external speakers) 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. An alternative solution is being developed for rail which will also be implemented by the January 1, 2017 deadline.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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 spring 2014, as well as automated audio/visual next stop information on board all trains by fall 2014.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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 and 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 (July 1, 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.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express will be compliant with this requirement as it is being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the Union Pearson Express 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 28: GO Double-Decker Bus and Photoluminescent Strips in Rail Coach Flooring

 

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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 Union Pearson Express 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 8 allocated WMA spaces, equipped with optional securement devices. GO Transit buses provide 2 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 29: 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

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

Exhibit 30: Decal Showing Highway Coach Lift Dimension and Weight Capacity

 

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.

Union Pearson Express

Once it has been launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express 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 Union Pearson Express 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 31: 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 stake-holder 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 32: 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.

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express will be compliant with this requirement as alarm strip locations are being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the Union Pearson Express 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 33: 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 34: Examples of GO Bus and Train Lighting

 

Union Pearson Express

When it is launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express will be compliant with this requirement as lighting requirements are being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the Union Pearson Express 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 cleUnion Pearson Expressy 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.

Union Pearson Express

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

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 35: GO Train Boarding Ramp

 

Exhibit 36: GO Double-Decker Boarding Ramp

 

Exhibit 37: 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.

Union Pearson Express

Once it has been launched in 2015, the Union Pearson Express will be compliant with this requirement as it is being addressed in the design of the vehicle that will be used for the Union Pearson Express 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 at Union Station and the Pearson Airport Station, to work in synchronization with the doors on the vehicles for better climate control and safety.

The spacing between the Union Pearson Express 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 so that door open buttons will be within reach of all passengers.

Exhibit 38: LRV Door Release and Level Boarding

 

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

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 39: 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.

Union Pearson Express

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

Union Pearson Express

The Union Pearson Express 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 40: 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 41: 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 42: Improved GO Train Door Openers

 

Union Pearson Express

The Union Pearson Express 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 43: Enhanced Rail Car Signage Decals

 

 

8.2.5 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 Union Pearson Express 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 & ride and Kiss & 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 provides bus service to bus loops at rail stations, bus terminals and bus stops. The bus loops are largely wheelchair accessible. The three bus terminals owned by GO Transit are all accessible. Eight of the 14 terminals (57%) that are owned by third parties are accessible and approximately 10% of the 1500 municipally or regionally owned on-street bus stops are wheelchair accessible and compatible with GO Transit highway coaches.

Train Stations

By January 2013, 57 out of 63 (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 44: Accessibility of GO Rail Stations

 

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

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.

Acton Station – Kitchener Line

A new accessible station was added in Acton, which will open in early January 2013.

Allandale Waterfront Station – Barrie Line

This new accessible Barrie GO station was completed in early 2012.

Existing Non-Accessible GO Stations

Bus Facilities

Six of the 14 (or 43 percent) bus terminals served by GO Transit buses that are owned by third parties do not provide wheelchair accessibility. This is due to a variety of reasons, but mainly space limitations and obstructions at terminals preventing the safe deployment of the external bus lifts used by GO Transit highway coaches. Work is progressing to improve accessibility at these locations, and to provide alternate accessible boarding and alighting location options where required.

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.

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 included the following improvements completed in the fall of 2012.

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

Yorkdale Bus Terminal

At the Yorkdale Bus Terminal, GO Transit is currently installing a new elevator 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 early 2013.

Scarborough Town Centre GO Transit Bus Terminal

The redesign and construction of this terminal by the Toronto Transit Commission will include accessibility, and will begin in 2015 (and anticipated to continue until approximately 2020), 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 45: 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, Oakville 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 46: Planned GO Facility Accessibility Improvements

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

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 23 in total with 11 more under development that will all be accessible. Of the 23 existing lots, 18 are accessible and work is underway to improve the accessibility of the remaining five that are not accessible. The accessibility features of the accessible 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.

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.

Union Pearson Express

The Union Pearson Express 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 Union Pearson Express 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-Scarborough Crosstown LRT 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.

8.2.6 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 the AODA 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 47: 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.

9. Metrolinx Multi-Year Accessibility Work Schedule

Exhibit 48 shows the multi-year accessibility work schedule for those AODA clauses where the requirements have not yet been fully met by Metrolinx (as indicated in Exhibit 11 of this plan).

Exhibit 48: Metrolinx Multi-Year Accessibility Work Schedule

Reg. Clause Number Accessibility Requirements Regulatory Compliance Date Estimated Completion Time of Work to Meet Requirements Description of Issue and Metrolinx’s Action Plan
INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD REGULATION
> Part I General
7 Training Jan. 1 2014 December 2013 All employees and others delivering services must receive training on AODA and the Human Rights Code, with records of dates and number of individuals trained maintained – while this is currently done in practice, a formalized policy or process is still required
> Part II Information and Communications Standards
12 Accessible formats and communication supports Jan. 1 2015 December 2014 Not all information is currently available upon request in a range of accessible formats – Metrolinx is working on establishing a central point of contact within the organization to receive requests, and a process to ensure that all online and offline materials, such as any PDF files posted to websites, maps and timetables etc., can be delivered upon request in a format accessible to the requester in a timely fashion
14 Accessible websites and web content:
- existing content
Jan. 1 2021 December 2013 For existing web pages, the goal is to ensure full compliance to WCAG 2.0 AA standards by the end of 2013
> Part III Employment Standards
21 Schedule Jan. 1 2014 December 2013 Metrolinx must meet all of the requirements in the “employment standards” section of the AODA – while many are already being implemented in practice, not all have been formalized through policies and procedures. Once this task has been completed by the end of 2013, this requirement will be met
22 Recruitment, general Jan. 1 2014 November 2013 Metrolinx intends to have standard operating policies and processes in place to notify potential applicants about the availability of accommodation for applicants with disabilities in its recruitment process, with appropriate notification of employees and the public by November 2013
23 Recruitment, assessment or selection process Jan. 1 2014 November 2013 Although Metrolinx currently notifies job applicants chosen for a selection process that accessibility accommodations are available upon request, this must still be formalized through policies or processes before the Metrolinx target deadline of November 2013
26 Accessible formats and communication supports for employees Jan. 1 2014 December 2013 Metrolinx shall consult with the employee to provide accessible formats upon request –by December 2013
> Part IV Transportation Standards
51 Pre-boarding announcements:
- electronic
Jan. 1 2017 Buses: Spring 2014
Trains: Fall 2014
The Metrolinx CAD/AVL system will be fully deployed to meet the requirement of automated audio and visual pre-boarding announcements, well in advance of the compliance deadline
52 On-board announcements:
- electronic
Jan. 1 2017 Buses: Spring 2014
Trains: Fall 2014
The Metrolinx CAD/AVL system will be fully deployed to meet the requirement of automated audio and visual on-board announcements, well in advance of the compliance deadline

 

10. Multi-Year Accessibility Work Schedules For Projects Not Yet In Service

Exhibit 49 shows the multi-year accessibility work schedule for the Union Pearson Express (formerly Air Rail Link) service (described in section 4.3 of this plan), which is anticipated to launch in April of 2015. 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 Union Pearson Express will employ best practices to meet or exceed accessibility requirements and provide a high level of accessible convenience. The clauses applying to this project are as defined in Exhibit 9 of this plan.

Exhibit 49: ARL Multi-Year Accessibility Work Schedule

Reg. Clause Number Union Pearson Express Accessibility Requirements Regulatory Compliance Date Estimated Completion Time of Work to Meet Requirements Description of Work Involved
ACCESSIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARD REGULATION
4 Use of service animals and support persons Jan. 1 2010 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Appropriate policies and training for all front-line staff will be in place to ensure that access is provided to service animals and support persons.
5 Notice of temporary disruptions Jan. 1 2010 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Procedures for temporary Union Pearson Express disruptions, ensuring the public receives appropriate information about any disruptions, will be in place and available in accessible formats upon request.
9 Format of documents Jan. 1 2010 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Procedures will be in place to ensure that Union Pearson Express documents provided to a person with a disability will be delivered in a format that takes into account that person’s disability.
INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD REGULATION
6 Self-service kiosks Jan. 1 2014 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express service will make use of the PRESTO card via ticket vending machines which will be designed with an array of accessibility features.
14 Accessible websites and web content:
- new content
Jan. 1 2014 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The new Union Pearson Express website is currently under design and will comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards when launched, well in time for the launch of the Union Pearson Express service.
- existing content Jan. 1 2021 In Progress No Union Pearson Express website currently exists, and as such no existing website content must be modified to meet AODA requirements.
34 Availability of information on accessibility equipment etc. Jan. 1 2012 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
When it is launched, the Union Pearson Express website will provide current information on accessibility equipment, routes, and vehicle features in an accessible format, and alternate accessible formats will be provided upon request.
35 Non-functioning accessibility equipment July 1 2011 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express will have in place procedures to assist customers with disabilities if an elevator or any other piece of accessibility equipment is out of service.
37 Emergency preparedness and response policies Jan. 1 2012 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express will have on its website and in relevant locations on vehicles and stations, information on using the passenger assistance alarm and emergency procedures for evacuating customers (including people with disabilities) from trains and stations.
38 Fares, support persons Jan. 1 2014 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express service will have in place appropriate policies and training to ensure that no fare is charged for the support person of a person with a disability.
39 Transition, existing contracts July 1 2011 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express does not have any existing contracts for vehicles that do not meet AODA requirements.
40 Transition, existing vehicles July 1 2011 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express currently has no existing vehicles in its fleet, so does not need to retrofit any existing vehicles.
44 General responsibilities Jan. 1 2012 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express’s level boarding system is passive and does not require any lifts, ramps or portable bridge plates for boarding. The Union Pearson Express will also provide assistance with safe securing of medical aids for people with disabilities.
45 Alternative accessible method of transportation Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express will provide accessible service when it opens in 2015. Wheel Trans service and accessible taxis are also available between all points served by the Union Pearson Express, as potential alternate accessible services.
46 Fares July 1 2011 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express service will have in place appropriate policies and training to ensure that a higher fare will not be charged to a person with a disability than one without. Alternative fare payment options will also be made available to those who require it.
47 Transit stops Jan. 1 2012 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express stops at specific stations with level boarding. Alternative stopping locations will not be required or available, as it would be unsafe to board between stations.
48 Storage of mobility aids etc. July 1 2011 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Each Union Pearson Express vehicle will have two areas designated for passengers using WMAs. There will also be ample storage for the luggage of all passengers.
49 Courtesy seating Jan. 1 2012 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
In addition to offering clearly marked “priority” seating for people with disabilities, “courtesy” seating will be offered for other people that will benefit from it. This will include supporting information for the benefit of customers and employees in accessible formats upon request.
50 Service disruptions Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Appropriate procedures and training will be in place to ensure that if the Union Pearson Express rail service is supplemented by alternate accessible services until Union Pearson Express services are restored.
51 Pre-boarding announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express will have automated announcements as part of station public address systems providing route direction, destination and next stop information.
- electronic Jan. 1 2017 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express will have electronic displays as part of its station designs and vehicle exteriors to provide the route direction, and destination and next stop information.
52 On-board announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express will have automated announcements as part of vehicle public address systems providing approaching station, current station and other information.
- electronic Jan. 1 2017 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express will have electronic displays as part of its vehicle interior designs providing approaching station, current station and other information.
53 Requirements re grab bars, etc. Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express vehicle design will address the requirement for grab bars, handholds, handrails or stanchions.
54 Floors and carpeted surfaces Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
The Union Pearson Express vehicle design will ensure that floors produce minimal glare and are slip resistant, and that any carpeted surfaces have a low, firm and level securely fastened pile or loop.
55 Allocated mobility aid spaces Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Union Pearson Express vehicles will include two designated seating areas to accommodate passengers with WMAs and space for service animals, with companion seats nearby.
56 Stop-requests and emergency response controls Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Union Pearson Express vehicles will include stop-request buttons and alarm strips located appropriately throughout the vehicles, including within reach of allocated mobility aid spaces and courtesy (and priority) seating.
57 Lighting features Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Union Pearson Express vehicles will include lights above or beside each passenger access door that are evenly lit. No lifting devices or ramps are required on Union Pearson Express vehicles, and as such, they do not require lights.
58 Signage Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Union Pearson Express vehicles will have external destination displays showing the route, direction and next stop, clearly visible from the boarding point.
59 Lifting devices, etc. Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Union Pearson Express vehicles will not require lifting devices, ramps or portable bridge plates, as they are being designed for level boarding. A vehicle-mounted platform extension is furthermore being employed to minimize the gap between vehicle door and station platform.
60 Steps Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Union Pearson Express vehicles are being designed with no steps, so the treatment of steps does not apply.
61 Indicators and alarms Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Union Pearson Express vehicles will not have ramps, lifting devices or a kneeling function so visual and audible warning features for them does not apply.
62 Accessibility, rail cars Jan. 1 2013 April 2015
(Union Pearson Express Launch)
Every Union Pearson Express vehicle will be accessible with accessible washrooms, so the entire train will be accessible.

 

Exhibit 50 shows the multi-year accessibility work schedule for Metrolinx’s four Light Rapid Transit (LRT) projects (described in section 4.1.1 of this plan), which are anticipated to launch as follows.

  • Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT: 2020
  • Scarborough Rapid Transit: 2020
  • Finch West LRT: 2020
  • Sheppard East LRT: 2021

The clauses applying to these project are as defined in Exhibit 9 of this plan.

Exhibit 50: LRT Multi-Year Accessiblity Work Schedule

Reg. Clause Number Light Rapid Transit Accessibility Requirements Regulatory Compliance Date Estimated Completion Time of Work to Meet Requirements Description of Work Involved
ACCESSIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARD
4 Use of service animals and support persons Jan. 1 2010 See various in-service dates above Standards to be determined as part of the Operating Agreement
5 Notice of temporary disruptions Jan. 1 2010
9 Format of documents Jan. 1 2010
INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD
6 Self-service kiosks Jan. 1 2014 See various in-service dates above Kiosks to be provided by PRESTO
14 Accessible websites and web content:
- new content
Jan. 1 2014 Jan.1 2014  
- existing content Jan. 1 2021 December 2013 Website is currently under review for compliance
34 Availability of information on accessibility equipment etc. Jan. 1 2012 See various in-service dates above Standards to be determined as part of the Operating Agreement
35 Non-functioning accessibility equipment July 1 2011 Standards to be determined as part of the Operating Agreement
37 Emergency preparedness and response policies Jan. 1 2012 Standards to be determined as part of the project specifications
38 Fares, support persons Jan. 1 2014 Standards to be determined as part of the Operating Agreement
39 Transition, existing contracts July 1 2011 Not Applicable These projects do not have pre-existing contracts or vehicles
40 Transition, existing vehicles July 1 2011
44 General responsibilities Jan. 1 2012 See various in-service dates above Standards to be determined as part of the project specifications
45 Alternative accessible method of transportation Jan. 1 2013
46 Fares July 1 2011
47 Transit stops Jan. 1 2012
48 Storage of mobility aids etc. July 1 2011
49 Courtesy seating Jan. 1 2012
50 Service disruptions Jan. 1 2013
51 Pre-boarding announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011
- electronic Jan. 1 2017
52 On-board announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011
- electronic Jan. 1 2017
53 Requirements re grab bars, etc. Jan. 1 2013
54 Floors and carpeted surfaces Jan. 1 2013
55 Allocated mobility aid spaces Jan. 1 2013
56 Stop-requests and emergency response controls Jan. 1 2013
57 Lighting features Jan. 1 2013
58 Signage Jan. 1 2013
59 Lifting devices, etc. Jan. 1 2013
60 Steps Jan. 1 2013
61 Indicators and alarms Jan. 1 2013
62 Accessibility, rail cars Jan. 1 2013

 

Exhibit 51 shows the multi-year accessibility work schedule for the VivaNext Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system (described in section 4.1.1 of this plan) being undertaken by Metrolinx in conjunction with York Region. The expected in-service dates for Viva BRT are as follows.

  • Davis Drive: 2014
  • Enterprise Drive
    • Warden to Birchmount: 2010
    • Birchmount to Kennedy: 2018
  • Highway 7
    • Yonge to Warden: 2014
    • Edgeley to Bowes: 2016
    • Helen to Edgeley and Bowes to Yonge: 2018
  • Yonge Street
    • Highway 7 to Major MacKenzie: 2017
    • Mulock to Davis: 2017
    • Major MacKenzie to 19th Avenue: 2017

The clauses applying to these projects are as defined in Exhibit 9 of this plan.

Exhibit 51: VivaNext BRT Multi-Year Accessiblity Work Schedule

Reg. Clause Number VivaNext Bus Rapid Transit Accessibility Requirements Regulatory Compliance Date Estimated Completion Time of Work to Meet Requirements Description of Work Involved
ACCESSIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARD
4 Use of service animals and support persons Jan. 1 2010 See various in-service dates above Standards will be consistent with the York Region Accessibility Plan and AODA compliant
5 Notice of temporary disruptions Jan. 1 2010
9 Format of documents Jan. 1 2010
INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD
6 Self-service kiosks Jan. 1 2014 See various in-service dates above Requirements are included as part of the delivery of the projects and will be AODA compliant
14 Accessible websites and web content:
- new content
Jan. 1 2014 January 1 2014 New content will be WCAG 2.0 AA compliant.
- existing content Jan. 1 2021 Compliant since August 2011 Completed
34 Availability of information on accessibility equipment etc. Jan. 1 2012 See various in-service dates above Requirements are included as part of the delivery of the project and will be AODA compliant.
For more information, please see the York Region Accessibility Plan.
35 Non-functioning accessibility equipment July 1 2011
37 Emergency preparedness and response policies Jan. 1 2012
38 Fares, support persons Jan. 1 2014
39 Transition, existing contracts July 1 2011
40 Transition, existing vehicles July 1 2011
44 General responsibilities Jan. 1 2012
45 Alternative accessible method of transportation Jan. 1 2013
46 Fares July 1 2011
47 Transit stops Jan. 1 2012
48 Storage of mobility aids etc. July 1 2011
49 Courtesy seating Jan. 1 2012
50 Service disruptions Jan. 1 2013
51 Pre-boarding announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011
- electronic Jan. 1 2017
52 On-board announcements:
- verbal
July 1 2011
- electronic Jan. 1 2017
53 Requirements re grab bars, etc. Jan. 1 2013
54 Floors and carpeted surfaces Jan. 1 2013
55 Allocated mobility aid spaces Jan. 1 2013
56 Stop-requests and emergency response controls Jan. 1 2013
57 Lighting features Jan. 1 2013
58 Signage Jan. 1 2013
59 Lifting devices, etc. Jan. 1 2013
60 Steps Jan. 1 2013
61 Indicators and alarms Jan. 1 2013
62 Accessibility, rail cars Jan. 1 2013 Not Applicable Service does not include rail cars

 

11. 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.

Appendix A – Metrolinx Public Feedback Summary
Public Feedback Metrolinx Response
GO Stations: General Design
If there could be better lighting at the stations that would be great. Any new lighting installed now provides increased light levels in station buildings, parking garages and on the rail platform. Our state of good repair program has identified other areas where the light levels will be increased.
At Mimico, currently, accessibility is non-existent. There are only steps in narrow corridors. Mimico station has various challenges that have made it particularly difficult to make this station accessible. We are working to make Mimico accessible by 2016. Fifty seven of our 63 stations are already accessible.
There needs to be an elevator or escalator at Kipling. There are plans to reconstruct Kipling GO Station and make it accessible as part of a new multi-modal terminal. However, this work has been put on hold due to complications with property negotiations and related design complexities for the new facility. More specific information about Kipling will be provided once the timing of this work has been confirmed.
Some barrier-free parking at GO stations seems to be used by drivers with accessible parking permits in their car that may not in fact be disabled. Transit Safety Officers can verify the authenticity of an Accessible Parking Permit by contacting the Ministry of Transportation Office of Ontario when they suspect that a permit is being misused. Every effort is made to patrol parking spaces using available resources.
I have multiple sclerosis and I am able to walk. However, I have other fatigue and mobility symptoms that require I rest after walking even a short distance. My balance is often affected and it is necessary that restrooms be readily available. For me and for those who have similar limitations to mine, it would be great if the following considerations could be made:
- more bench seating available along the walkways to and from parking, trains and the main station area
- readily available restrooms
- prompt snow and ice removal in the winter months and a designated walkway that is regularly maintained. I cannot take the train on days when it snows as I am physically unable to safely walk from my vehicle to the train.
A retrofit program is being planned to start in the summer of 2013. Easy access features will be included where practical. Some examples of retrofit plans include:
- Washrooms: Multi-stall washrooms will be incorporated into station designs
- Benches along walkways: We will be including additional benches in new station designs (e.g. at Aurora GO Station);
Every effort is made to prevent snow and ice build-up by using snow melting technologies on our rail platforms and by having weather protection along the accessible path, where site conditions permit.
Covered walkways between barrier free access points and the accessible mini-platform, are being incorporated into all new station designs.
Where new weather protected parking structures are being build, accessible parking spaces will be located within them.
Every effort is made to remove snow in a timely manner. Depending on the timing of precipitation and temperature, all snow removal and ice control services will be completed at least 30 minutes prior to the start of daily bus or rail service. When this is not possible, due to late precipitation falling near station peak periods, the contractor must focus his/her attention first on servicing walkways, staircases, barrier free parking spaces, barrier free curbcuts, emergency access routes, and main roadway arteries. The contractor then returns to the station, after the peak operating period, to complete the snow and ice removal.
Stations: Platform Design
There is no shelter on the accessibility platform. Our current standard requires the accessible mini platform to be covered by a canopy roof, however, clearances required for train traffic and pedestrian flow do not allow for the mini platform to be enclosed with walls.
Union Pearson Express (formerly ARL) stations (Weston and Bloor) will be outdoors without physical barriers (screen doors) at platform edge this means that the elevated platforms need to have platform edge warning truncated dome strips as on TTC subway platforms.
The Union Pearson Express platforms are being designed in tandem with GO platforms, the two services use different height platforms and will be connected by a ramp. Both platforms will require platform edge markings.
The gap between the train and the platform needs to be as narrow as possible for the Union Pearson Express.
As several DMUs will be connected to form a Union Pearson Express train, what measures are being taken to bridge the gap between units to ensure that persons do not fall from the platform into the gap between units?
The treatment of the Union Pearson Express station platform edge is currently being addressed as part of the station design process, and will include tactile platform edge to ensure that it is as safe as possible for all customers.
Options have been looked at to address the gap between the platform and the train, in particular between the coaches. The platforms must be designed to allow freight trains to pass, providing a larger clearance than required for passenger trains due to factors such as loading, and lateral motion. As a result, no practical way of reducing this gap has been identified. The solution will accordingly focus on the tactile platform edge and vigilance of the train crew on these short, 3-car trains.
The gap between the platform and the Union Pearson Express coach door will be under 2.5”. This is as small as possible taking into account the type of equipment being used, and will comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) design requirements.
To provide full access to all GO train cars, the entire station platform should be at the same height as the mini-platform so a person can board every car.
GO station platforms are 6-12 inches below the height of the train. If platforms were the same height it would make things easier for those with mobility issues.
The tracks GO Transit uses are also used by freight trains, which require a wider clearance than GO Trains, therefore we are not able to provide level boarding for the entire length of the train. The accessible mini platform provides a raised platform section, set back from the side of the train with enough space so that freight trains can pass safely.
To allow customers to board from the accessible platform, a Customer Service Ambassador on the train deploys the ramp. Since there is only one Customer Service Ambassador on a train, only one door per train can be used for boarding in this way.
GO Stations: Stair Design
Where rail stations and bus stations have stairs, the edge of each should be clearly in a contrasting colour, and the top of the steps should have tactile paving.
Please don’t forget to use yellow to mark all steps, as a number of places haven’t done that (such as Union Station).
Our stairs have an edge strip that provides contrast between stair edge and the rest of the step. Tactile tiles are installed at the top and bottom of stairs and all landings.
Metrolinx is aware that contrast of these markings can diminish with age. Different options to address this are being explored as part of the review of our standards in 2013.
I find the stairs at track 26 & 27 extremely long and narrow to the point when I am climbing them I experience dizziness upon reaching the final step. The new stairs for tracks 26 and 27 were inserted in a constrained space, limited by the structure of Union Station and heritage requirements. Due to the space limitations, these particular stairs may seem steeper than other sets of stairs. These stairs do meet building code requirements.
Customers who are not comfortable using these stairs can use the elevator located 6.5 metres east of the mini-platform. There are also two other sets of stairways that contain landings and fewer steps, located immediately east and west of the elevator.
Stations: Way-Finding
Most monitors are not at eye-level and that means that they are not visible for some passengers because they are too high. Most monitors are mounted overhead to be visible to a large crowd when standing in the concourse or waiting area. We consider visibility, maximum clear height, as well as physical mounting capabilities when installing monitors.
At Union Station, we have eye-level monitors at selected locations in various parts of the station - in the lost and found area facing the concourse near to ticket sales, in the team ways on each side of Bay Street and in the VIA area. Font size has been enlarged for easier reading.
At present we have only a single monitor installed at each line station. As additional monitors are added at the stations over the coming years they will be placed at selected eye-level locations to provide information that can be easily read.
We need better assistance for people with hearing loss, especially at night, as signage is small and difficult to read.
- It is very important that all signage be visible this includes proper lighting on the signs at each station stop outside.
- Platform signs are too hard to see when you are on a train.
We recognize that this is a concern and we are looking at ways to improve upon the size and lighting conditions around static signage, to give more visibility.
On-board displays (as well as announcements) to show the next stop will be in place on all buses by Fall 2014. On-board displays on GO trains require a new communications system between the coaches, which is a complex system. Work is being started to ensure that it can be completed by the end of 2016. The new UP Express trains will have on-board next stop displays when they go into service in 2015.
Part of next steps should be to start a way-finding design review to determine how to make the Union Pearson Express as inclusive and seamless as possible in both Union and the airport. Metrolinx has hired a Consultant to develop a wayfinding and signage design for this initiative. Input from Metrolinx’s Accessibility Advisory Committee will be used as these elements are being developed.
Accessible PRESTO machines are not easy to find for people with vision loss. PRESTO machines are placed along the common routes of travel that customers use. PRESTO machines are also placed on stand-alone concrete bases to help make it easier to detect them with canes.
DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) trains will have a washroom in the centre unit; tactile signage to identify the washroom should be provided. Tactile indicators will be provided on the door of the washroom, along with the standard universal access pictogram decal indicating that the washroom is accessible to people with disabilities. Positioning and location of tactile indicators and access decals will be very similar to that currently on GO trains.
Elevators at GO Stations: Location
The accessibility coach at Oshawa is halfway down the platform, the centre of the platform is blocked by shelters, difficult to walk on with a cast and cane (or with a wheeled mobility aid).
Why are the renovated elevators at Burlington GO and Bronte GO situated at the wrong location – often at the opposite end from the mini-platform?
I find the Danforth station to be quite difficult to use with a disability. The elevator is very far away from the accessibility ramp.
Some rail platforms should be extended even longer to allow a train to stop closer to the elevator and still accommodate the full length of the train.
There is significant walking required to reach the train and then to reach the intended platform.
We do our best to provide the shortest possible distance between the mini platform and the elevator. However, there are many factors that need to be considered when determining this, including: tunnel and elevator locations, the overall configuration of the station, and the location of the relative to parking lots and nearby streets. These other considerations may dictate the actual distance between the elevator and the platform at a particular station.
As a senior trying to continue to work, my biggest problem is getting up the stairs at rush hour to track #12/13.
There needs to be an elevator to track 27 close to the Bay subway entrance.
Additional access points and elevators to the platforms will be added to Union Station as part of the revitalization project scheduled to be completed by 2016.
Elevators at GO Stations: Overcrowding
Challenges at Union are overcrowding on the platforms and elevators and long wait times for elevators. More access points and elevators will be added to Union Station as part of the revitalization project scheduled to be completed by 2016.
Could I suggest that we add ramps on top of having elevators at stations? Ramps are an option for providing platform access, where they can be accommodated. We have looked at ways to include ramps in order to provide a second platform access point. However, ramps require more space to install than elevators and we have not yet identified a location where they can fit in and be effective.
The elevators at Union fill up quickly with able bodied passengers who won’t give priority to passengers with special needs or disabilities who require use of the elevators.
Failure to provide priority boarding in elevators for people with disabilities.
We currently make announcements on board trains and in the GO concourse at Union Station to remind customers to allow passengers with disabilities and mobility devices to use the elevators first.
Many people who appear able bodied have impairments that are not visible such as back issues, asthma or knee problems which prohibit them from using the stairs.
It would be helpful to have GO staff on the platforms to assist customers with elevators.
Perhaps a campaign is necessary where GO Staff is actually standing at the elevator encouraging able bodied passengers to take the stairs.
Trains and accessible elevators are consistently being abused.
The Customer Care Coordinators are available throughout the service day, 7 days a week and have many responsibilities including assisting customers traveling to and from track level, responding to medical emergencies, responding to requests for assistance from the train crews. As a result, we cannot position staff to monitor use of elevators.
Staff will develop consistent new signage to convey the message that people with disabilities have priority access to elevators.
Elevators at GO Stations: Out of Service
Burlington, the call button didn’t work. The elevators at Aldershot have not been working for some time. As soon as staff are aware of a problem it is reported so that repairs can be completed as soon as possible. The repair of the elevators at Aldershot took longer than anticipated because it was difficult to acquire the necessary part.
One barrier that I am concerned about, is when there is only one elevator at a station, and if that elevator is broken than I am not able to use the station. GO Transit is working on ways to provide alternative access to an accessible station when the elevator there is temporarily not functioning. In the long term, there are plans to eventually have more than one platform access option available for customers so that there is an alternative if an elevator is not in service.
On platforms, some of the buttons to open the doors of an elevator enclosure don’t always work and there are no intercoms outside the enclosure. A customer who cannot access the elevator has no way of contacting station staff because the intercom is inside the enclosure. To prevent the situation highlighted by this customer staff check button functioning and door openers as part of the daily station inspection. Any doors not working as intended must be reported directly to a supervisor and fastened open to provide access until repairs are arranged.
In the unlikely event of a customer encountering a malfunctioning door opener that has not yet been reported, there is a free pay phone on the platform that can be used to contact the GO Contact Centre, who will arrange for staff to assist the customer.
I have noticed as much as 3-4 hours lag time from when an elevator goes down to when an email is sent out by GO. Although elevators are checked each day by station staff, they may go out of service at any time. When this happens, staff may not be aware of the problem until it is drawn to their attention by a customer. As soon as staff are aware that an elevator is out-of-service, GO Transit’s Call Centre is notified and On the GO email alerts (email and text message notification) are issued.
Escalators at GO Stations
I hope you are considering escalators for old areas. I think all those areas where the stairwells are really old and crumbling (the grey concrete staircases) need to be re-vamped and modernized.
Ajax has an escalator too in case the elevator isn’t working an escalator doesn’t work for those with a wheelchair.
GO Transit is removing all escalators in favour of more reliable and accessible elevators to provide barrier-free access for all.
Ajax will soon have a second elevator as part of the parking structure project.
Vehicles: Design
I find the accessibility coach loud and the seats uncomfortable. There are no head rests on any of the seats. Unfortunately, it is difficult to control the interior noise in the accessibility car.
In order to assist customers who use wheeled mobility devices the seating in the accessible car is designed differently from the other rail cars. The seats are without headrests to ensure a clear sightline of the entire car. In addition, these seats are designed to “flip” up and down to accommodate wheeled mobility devices. We have forwarded the headrest suggestion to our Rail Equipment Engineering department for review.
GO Buses are difficult to get on (steps) and the aisles are very narrow. The aisle width and access stairs in GO Transit’s motorcoaches are typical of this type of bus. GO Transit’s double-decker buses have a low-floor and are easier to access. GO will be increasing the proportion of our fleet that is made up of these buses.
GO has consistently required that I store my walker under the bus and I am forced to climb the stairs. I am forbidden to use the lift and I feel that is quite discriminatory. As requested, Metrolinx has recently developed a policy allowing ambulatory people who are not able to climb the stairs to use the highway coaches lifts. This new practice came into effect in 2013.
If you have to be secured in the reverse position on a bus, can one decline to be secured in order to face forward? Some people cannot face the reverse direction when travelling on a bus due to medical conditions. All of our GO Buses are designed with forward facing wheelchair positions. The mobility device must be secured while riding the bus and the user must wear a seatbelt, as required by law.
This comment may not apply to some municipal transit services which are subject to different safety laws.
The two courtesy seats at the front right hand side of the bus can be hazardous for a customer – I was hit twice by another customer boarding the bus with a backpack. In response to this point, we are in the process of repositioning these courtesy seats to the road side of the bus, just behind the driver providing additional protection for customers.
Please take scooters into consideration when designing your Union Pearson Express and LRT vehicles – they need more space to turn around and parallel park. The Metrolinx Accessibility Advisory Committee has been involved in reviewing vehicle designs for Union Pearson Express and LRT and comments were provided regarding scooter requirements.
The space available for the wheeled mobility aid location has been made as large as possible, taking into consideration the overall size and other factors in the design.
Vehicles: Overcrowding
Need to increase the number of accessible cars on GO trains. (3 Respondents)
If GO recognizes that passengers with disabilities are travelling on GO Trains, then they should be able to do more to accommodate them.
Ensure that announcements don’t single out customers with disabilities; suggest a soft rope barrier be placed across the accessible seating area when not in use; seats in accessibility car are narrower than on other cars due to wider aisles; this poses a problem for customers who are larger.
Lack of appropriate communication is the issue, it needs to be communicated there is no seat guarantee for all able-bodied riders and blocking and/or obstructing the coach aisle is not permitted.
There is nowhere to stow luggage and these passengers often take up extra seats or block aisles with their belongings.
Can you find a solution for these folks?
Are the platforms wide enough that you could have two accessibility coaches, one coach for those with disabilities and one coach for those who have strollers and wagons to use?
It is frustrating to find all the seats in the accessibility car taken by able-bodied people. It is very helpful (yet embarrassing) when the GO Staff member announces that someone has to get up and give me a seat. Could the Customer Service Ambassador on the car “police” this? (2 Respondents)
The baby carriages that clog up the accessibility car on the Milton line. There is never anywhere to sit, if baby comes with two parents taking up the seats.
We are aware the accessible car is becoming more crowded as a result of increasing ridership. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide a second accessible car for several reasons:
- Due to the need to set-back the accessible platform so freight trains can pass, we require the Customer Service Ambassador to place a bridge plate (a small portable ramp) for boarding. Since there is only one Customer Service Ambassador on each train, we are not able to provide a second accessible car.
- The accessible platform is only long enough to accommodate one accessible rail car. The accessible platform must be located at the same location (currently by the 5th, accessible, car) at every station. There is not room (due to locations of stairways, elevators, etc) at all stations to extend the accessible platforms, or to provide a second accessible platform to accommodate two accessible cars.
Customers carrying/stowing luggage and travelling with strollers use the accessible car due to the easy boarding ramp, wider aisles and space to store their luggage during their trip. GO is aware of concern about crowding of the accessible car, and has increased communications reminding customers to give priority access to people with disabilities in the accessible car. This addresses the need to locate luggage, strollers, and other items so that they will not interfere with use of the accessible car by people with disabilities.
Why did GO Transit change some coaches, from “Courtesy Seating” to “Priority Seating” back to “Courtesy Seating”? GO has both Priority and Courtesy Seating on buses and train. Priority Seating is designated for people with disabilities. Passengers who don’t require the seats must vacate them upon request. Courtesy Seating is intended for people who can benefit from access to a seat, such as seniors and expectant women. Recent changes to the signage were required to implement the new AODA regulations.
On the Union Pearson Express, there will probably be a conflict between luggage and accessible space because people see the accessible space and want to put their stuff there. We do not anticipate there being a conflict between luggage and accessible space due to there being plenty of places to stow luggage. Luggage racks and an overhead compartment will be available on the Union Pearson Express. The Union Pearson Express will have space for 45 bags to be stowed and overhead compartments can be used to stow smaller bags and packages.
There should be fines for misuse of accessibility coaches. Enforcing the misuse of accessibility coaches is not practical or appropriate. Many people have a disability that is not visible, and may or may not require use of the accessibility coach. As this is public transit, passengers who do not have disabilities can use the coach when it is not crowded.
GO Bus Services
People with disabilities should be able to access public transit at every GO stop or station. All non-accessible stops and stations should become accessible.
The GO Bus stop at Shoppers World. I have been dropped off and picked up at this location before and now none of the drivers will accommodate the request. Every Brampton bus safely deploys their wheelchair ramp at these stops for those in need, why not GO Bus?
Some GO Bus drivers will deploy the lifts at locations preferred by or most accessible to a customer and others will not.
The lifts on GO highway coaches operate on the outside of the bus and require a large flat space to operate and provide safe boarding. For this reason, many stops (such as the one mentioned by the customer) that are accessible for municipal buses are not accessible for GO Buses.
Metrolinx uses over 1,500 bus stops, the majority of which are owned by municipalities and other jurisdictions and more than 1,200 are not accessible. We are working with municipalities to make accessibility improvements to stops, prioritizing those used most often.
Some bus drivers have accommodated customers at stops that are not safely accessible. Other bus drivers serving the same location may then not serve this location.
We now ask people who need to use the lift on the GO Bus for a “new” trip to call us three days in advance so that we can help you plan your trip. If the stop you wish to use is not accessible, we will identify the closest safe accessible location for you and let the bus driver know in advance to expect you there. Once this arrangement has been established for one trip, a call 2 hours before any future trip to or from this location will let us alert the driver to look for the you at the alternate boarding location. This will ensure that you are able to travel throughout the GO bus network and receive consistent service from every bus driver.
What are the considerations related to bringing a scooter on the bus? Scooters can be used to travel on GO Buses using the lift to board and disembark. There are size and weight restrictions associated with the lift. The GO Transit website provides further information for boarding various types of GO Buses. Customers who use scooters are asked to transfer into a coach seat during travel for safety reasons.
Issues with bus lifts working consistently and with operator knowledge around how to use them – suggestion that frequency of training on ramp/lift deployment be increased to more than once a year. All GO Bus drivers are fully trained to use the equipment and regular refresher courses and notifications on equipment use are given to drivers. At the beginning of their shift, drivers are required to cycle the lift to ensure problem free operation prior to putting the bus into service.
Bus stops (particularly in GO stations) are continuously moved around making it very difficult for commuters to find them. Bus stops may change or be moved as we adjust service to reflect changes to the schedule and improvements. Customers who subscribe to On the GO email alerts receive notices whenever a bus stop location is changed and notices are posted at affected GO stations.
Information Formats: Visible and Audible
We need visual next stop displays on board the trains. (3 Respondents)
GO Transit indicates that they are accessible. They are not accessible to people who are deaf. Captioning can also help, it could help others who fall asleep and then wonder where they are if they are in between stops.
As a deaf commuter, I have faced several instances where I’m on the train or waiting on the platform, when an audio announcement is made. If I hadn’t noticed many people making an exodus, I would have ended up way too far out at the wrong station.
Imagine you are deaf, your GO train stops, you do not know what is going on. People are leaving the train and you follow them not knowing why you are following them other than the fact you want to get to your destination.
GO continues to work on providing electronic information at all stages of the trip. These improvements will help provide information both audibly and visually:
- GO has installed electronic signage at stations indicating real-time service updates. We are in the process of installing additional electronic signage in more places throughout the station. This information is also provided in public address announcements.
- We are working on providing as much of this information as possible to customers in both visible and audible modes.
- Customers who are not able to hear the public address announcements on-board buses or trains are encouraged to identify themselves to the bus operator or Customer Service Ambassador, and request information in writing.
- By fall 2014, GO Transit will have implemented its new Computer Aided Dispatch/Automated Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL) system, which will provide electronic next stop displays and announcements on buses. Similar information will be available on trains by 2016.
At Union Station where platform changes occur, what measures are being put in place to advise commuters of the platform they need to be on? (3 Respondents) When it is necessary to change platform departures, these changes are displayed on our Passenger Information Signs (PINS). A change of platform is displayed in yellow to highlight that a change of platform has been implemented. Announcements are made in the GO Concourse and platform areas. Customer Service Ambassadors make on-board announcements prior to departure to ensure that customers have boarded the correct train.
Stop announcements on Union Pearson Express trains need to be both visual and audible to serve persons with sensory disabilities. Both visual and audible next stop announcements will be provided on the Union Pearson Express trains.
The DMU vehicles used for the Union Pearson Express will create a certain amount of noise when in a station. What measures will be taken to ensure that persons with a vision impairment are aware when doors are open and boarding is in progress?
It was mentioned that door chimes will be used to indicate door opening and closing on the Union Pearson Express. Door chimes are of most value to persons on the platform (in other words, door chimes are less useful to people who are already on the vehicle).
All on-board station arrival and door announcements will be pre-recorded and visually announced on electronic displays.
The sound of the doors opening will provide an audible indication to passengers on the platform when to board the train. This is the current system on GO Transit and will be the same for trains on the Union Pearson Express system.
Platform announcements that are currently made by station attendants will continue to be heard over loudspeakers at stations. There is an exterior speaker on the Union Pearson Express vehicle (similar to the GO Train) that will project any announcement made by the attendant (Guest Services Representative) on the platform.
The buses don’t always say the stops out loud on the speaker and for someone with a visual impairment it is very hard to tell where you are. By fall 2014, GO Transit will have implemented its new Computer Aided Dispatch/Automated Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL) system, which will provide electronic next stop announcements and displays on buses.
It would be beneficial to have announcements as people are boarding the trains to indicate which coaches are the accessibility coaches. The accessible coach on a GO Train is easily identified by locating the accessibility ramp on the platform. It is always the fifth car from the locomotive of the train. Customer Service Ambassadors identify the location of the accessible car at departure. All coaches on the Union Pearson Express will be accessible.
Announcements or other measures that accommodate persons with vision impairment are important to make passengers aware of the approach of trains and their identity/direction of travel. Pre-boarding announcements are made on all GO Trains departing Union Station by the Customer Service Ambassador (CSAs). We are currently in the process of developing an approach to provide these same announcements all GO stations.
Information Formats: Service Related
Be sure you are keeping certain non-technology information, such as printed maps and timetables, and static signs.
On the website include descriptive or interactive maps for each station, so that I can look up the station before I go.
I wish there was an accessible kiosk that I could use and within a reasonable amount of time to tell me what platform my train is going to be on ahead of when others find out so that I can get up to the platform without having to rush. (2 Respondents)
While Metrolinx continues to explore and invest in emerging tools and technologies, printed information continues to serve many customers and there are no plans to eliminate printed information, particularly those related to timetables and maps, and static signs.
As part of the GO Transit Customer Service Strategy three-year action plan, we will redesign and refresh the GO Transit website in the 2014-15 fiscal year. The content for GO station webpages will be enhanced to include more information to help with overall trip planning and navigation with a focus on first-time customer experiences. As part of this project, we will investigate the inclusion of detailed station maps.
Platform announcements are scheduled to ensure that all customers have time to reach the platform once the announcement is made.
Customers are encouraged to check e-signage which provides real-time rail departure information for each station. In addition, customers can be advised about the schedule of the next four trains and direction, the stations at which the train stops, the track that the train will arrive on and the expected time of train arrival and status. This information can be accessed at all stations, online, and on a customer’s mobile device.
In the past, the GO Trains had a black banner which was above the GO Train routes that were posted at every doorway in the trains. I would like to recommend that the GO Transit reinstall those machines. We believe that this customer is referring to electronic displays which were installed in rail coaches a number of years ago. At that time the displays were used for advertising and public relations messages, and did not provide any current service-related information.
By fall 2014, GO Transit will have installed displays on buses to provide visible (and audible) next stop information. Similar displays will be provided on trains by 2016.
For people with disabilities that are not connected to the internet, is there a place they can contact for information? Yes, customers can call GO Customer Care, at 416-869-3200 or 1-888-438-6646, or via TTY teletypewriter at 1-800-387-3652.
Customers can also contact us by mail, at:
Attention: Customer Relations
GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx
20 Bay Street, Suite 600
Toronto, Ontario
M5J 2W3
Canada
Customers can obtain schedules and other information from staff at GO rail stations and bus terminals.
It was mentioned that the Union Pearson Express will be a ticketed service so all riders will have a seat. Will seats be assigned and if so, how will seat numbers be available to persons who are vision impaired? The Union Pearson Express will not have ticketing for specific seats. Seating will be first come, first served.
Service Planning
There has been a lot of talk about increasing the frequency of trains during the day. Can we get a status update? One of the objectives outlined in the Metrolinx Five-Year Strategy for 2012-2017 is to begin transforming GO Transit from a commuter service to a comprehensive regional transit network throughout the day. The following initiatives will help improve mid-day service by 2017:
- Implementing a 30 minute off-peak service on the Lakeshore East and West lines;
- Introducing more two-way, off-peak service from Union Station;
- Expanding all trains routinely exceeding the capacity of 10-cars to 12-car trains; and
- Introducing additional special rail services that will provide customers with more opportunities to use GO rail services to get to special events in downtown Toronto.
- For further details about additional service improvements, please refer to the Five-Year Strategy document, which is available electronically on the Metrolinx website (http://www.metrolinx.com/en/aboutus/publications/annual_reports.aspx).
Paper copies can be made available by contacting Metrolinx at 416-874-5900.
About 90% of the time, around 8:20 a.m., the Stouffville train arrives at Union Station at platform 4 at the same time as an eastbound train on platform 5 causing platform overcrowding. Meanwhile, platform 3 and some of the other platforms is empty. Can something be done to avoid this situation and arrange for one of the trains to arrive at platform 3? We continually monitor platform congestion and utilization at Union Station and make adjustments where possible. Assigning platforms involves more than the availability of a given platform at any point in time during the day – it is influenced by a number of operational factors, such as:
- availability of the approach trackage on each side of the station building;
- availability of the routes on the seven rail corridors that feed in to the Union Station Rail Corridor;
- routing of empty trains to/from the platform tracks to support the revenue operation;
- providing a buffer to cover minor day-to-day variability in operations;
- connection requirements between trains;
- supporting construction of station improvements such as the new train shed roof, vertical access, concourse and track upgrades; and
- accommodating other users – VIA and AMTRAK.
Will the design for all of the rapid transit systems throughout the GTHA be standardized (i.e. will all buses run down the centre of the road in a dedicated median right-of-way, etc., making it easier for visually impaired people to know what to expect)? When building new rapid transit facilities, Metrolinx is working with each municipality using design standards for rapid transit services within their jurisdiction. Metrolinx will promote increased consistency of design between systems, particularly at passenger facilities. However a variety of solutions will still be required to provide consistency with municipally provided services, and meet the specific needs of different urban environments, service types, passenger volumes, etc.
Where Metrolinx-operated services connect with municipal services, we will work municipal partners to achieve greater consistency between services.
Staff Training
I find that the station attendants get frustrated with customers with hearing loss due to the extra time required to communicate, especially when there is a lineup. Training for front-line staff who interact with customers is developed to provide a comfortable travel experience for all our customers and respond to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Customer Service Standard. It addresses various disabilities including hearing loss, deafness and orally deaf. Training highlights barriers within the environment and barriers from the stigma associated with disabilities. If customers still experience challenges or concerns, they are encouraged to contact us to tell us about their experience and help us to address any lapse in the quality of customer service
GO Customer Care, can be reached at 416-869-3200 or 1-888- 438-6646, or via TTY teletypewriter at 1-800-387-3652. Customers can also contact us by mail, at:
Attention: Customer Relations
GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx
20 Bay Street, Suite 600
Toronto, Ontario
M5J 2W3
Canada
Customers shouldn’t have to disclose their disability when they ask a question. Front-line staff may occasionally need to ask a customer about the nature of their disability to help ensure provision of the best service possible. If customers experience challenges or concerns, they are encouraged to contact us to tell us about their experience so that any issues can be addressed as soon as possible.
GO Customer Care, can be reached at 416-869-3200 or 1-888-438-6646, or via TTY teletypewriter at 1-800-387-3652.
Customers can also contact us by mail, at:
Attention: Customer Relations
GO Transit, A Division of Metrolinx
20 Bay Street, Suite 600
Toronto, Ontario
M5J 2W3
Canada
Fare Format
People who have developmental disabilities sometimes have behavioural concerns as well, and when these people ride the train it is important that 2 staff accompany them for their safety and for the safety of your customers. Customers who travel on our services with a support person can obtain a party ticket that allows both people to travel for one fare. A second accompanying person would need to pay a fare.
Could the PRESTO card have a designation that identifies you as needing an attendant? Metrolinx recognizes the value of having an ID that indicates that a customer travels with an attendant. A sticker attached to the PRESTO card serves this purpose.
Just like you have student tickets or senior tickets; couldn’t you do something about special tickets for those with accessibility requirements?
What about people on a fixed income?
GO Transit is initiating a review of its fare policies and the possibility of discounts for customers with limited income or with disabilities is one subject that will be considered as part of that review.
When a passenger gets on the Union Pearson Express from the airport, can they buy a ticket on that train that can get them anywhere in southern Ontario on any transit system (i.e. VIA or TTC, etc.)? This could be useful to people with low vision.
The key will be to be able to move seamlessly throughout the GTHA and buy tickets in one spot on board the Union Pearson Express.
PRESTO can be used in all transit systems in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, as well as on Union Pearson Express. A single ride ticket will be able to be used on Union Pearson Express and anywhere on the GO system. A separate purchase will be required for VIA tickets.
What option is available to people with no bank account and no credit card? Cash can be used in person to pay fares directly or to load value on the PRESTO card.
Family members should not be required to each have their own PRESTO account. Changes to the PRESTO system will allow a number of cards, for various family members, to be issued under one account.
PRESTO: Usage Limitations
Confusion related to requirements to “tap on” and “tap off” when travelling between transit providers. It is necessary to tap on and tap off whenusing a fare structure based on a “fare by distance” (for example, GO Transit). On most transit systems it is only necessary to tap on when boarding each vehicle. To clarify this, PRESTO has addressed this issue through its website and with all participating transit agencies who provide direct card sales.
There needs to be a process that allows people with disabilities to tap off later if they are unable to tap off in time to make their transfer. The system needs to account for the fact that it takes some people longer to locate their platform or board the vehicle. If the customer takes the same GO Transit trip regularly, they can set this trip as a “default” trip on their card. Customers using a card with a “default” trip only tap on for each boarding and do not need to tap again when they alight.
For customers who make a variety of different trips, this request will be reviewed in early 2013, to determine whether there is a way to simplify the tapping requirements at transfer locations.
Customers are receiving additional unexpected charges when they are unable to tap off because they cannot locate a machine. Customers who frequently travel between the same GO Train stations may set a default trip which eliminates the need to tap off when making your usual trip.
In early 2013, PRESTO will work with GO to address device placement and the ease of locating devices.
How soon can changes to current PRESTO devices be made to accommodate accessibility requirements/features - timelines? Work is underway by PRESTO to assess accessibility requirements of existing and future devices and services. This work to be completed in the first quarter of 2013 will provide a schedule of the specific accessibility features to be delivered and associated timelines. Devices replaced approximately every five years, making the first expected device upgrade around 2015.
How will the general public know when PRESTO has become more accessible? The general public will be advised through a communication/ information program involving the PRESTO website and through information provided by the respective transit agency.
Why is the TTC not on board with PRESTO today? As part of the original project, PRESTO is currently installed in fourteen (14) TTC subway stations. In November 2012, Metrolinx and the TTC/City of Toronto signed an agreement to have the PRESTO system on the TTC by 2016.
Many citizens are not aware that PRESTO is in use in places such as Burlington. More effective outreach efforts are needed. In November 2011, PRESTO ran a transit advertising awareness campaign in each of the participating transit networks including Burlington. Burlington Transit also provides information about PRESTO through their website. In early 2013, a further advertising campaign will be conducted by PRESTO with the current participating transit agencies highlighting further improvements to the PRESTO system.
Environmental access concerns related to inability to tap card at reader. For example, at the YRT Newmarket Terminal, I am unable to negotiate my electric wheelchair and hold my card at the same time, and am unable to reach the card reader. My suggestion is to investigate voice activation as well as to reconsider device placements. York Region Transit has been contacted by PRESTO and has launched an investigation with respect to the specific device placement concern at the Newmarket Transit Terminal.
The suggestion to investigate voice activation is being explored by PRESTO with a preliminary assessment of technology and application to be completed in early 2013.
A person’s credit card and / or PRESTO card can be rendered inoperable if paying for the PRESTO card or making a payment from a credit card to a PRESTO card does not happen as it is supposed to. This can occur if credit card payments are not processed/accepted successfully. If this occurs, the customer should contact PRESTO customer service to arrange for the PRESTO card to be re-activated.
The party ticket sticker on back of PRESTO card fades with repeated movement in and out of wallet. The Party Ticket sticker is provided by GO Transit to allow a person with a disability to travel on GO at no cost to his/her attendant/support person. The quality of the sticker, and possible alternatives, are being reviewed by GO Transit.
When you load value on a PRESTO card online using a credit card, the process takes 24 hours. I cannot use the PRESTO card immediately. When you add value to your card on-line, the additional value is placed on your card when you use it at a device for a fare payment. It can take up to 24 hours for the process to verify the payment transaction with the credit card company and then send the value load to the PRESTO system devices to be put on your card when you next pay your fare. Many of the fare payment devices are located on local transit buses that only receive updates from the central system (including the information about the value loaded on your card) when they return to the garages at the end of the business day.
Although station devices receive the information sooner, PRESTO advises customers to plan for 24 hours allowance for the loaded value to appear on your card. We encourage customers to use the autoload feature which automatically loads a predetermined value on the PRESTO card from the customer’s account when the card balance reaches a minimum amount (i.e. reload $40.00 when the remaining card value reaches $20.00) to ensure that there is always money on the card when you need it.
More than 3 months of usage history information should be available at one time. The timeframe for retention of customer data will be reviewed by the middle of 2013. The customer can request his or her annual trip history information for tax purposes through the PRESTO Call Centre.
There is a need to pay someone else’s fare on one’s own PRESTO card (for example, an attendant or for dependent family members), especially when all are taking the same trip. Currently, PRESTO cards are issued directly to the card holder. This is to ensure card holders eligible for concession fares pay the appropriate fare when tapping a card reader. For example, a card holder who is a senior tapping his/her card always pays a senior discount fare; this person’s card cannot be used to pay for other travellers who may not be seniors.
I had trouble registering my card back in July – a process is needed to look at “one stop shopping”. PRESTO is undertaking a review of the card purchase and registration processes expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2013.
The question I have refers to students that travel using PRESTO. It is very costly and for students with disabilities, the cost creates more challenges. PRESTO provides farecard and payment system, but does not set the various fare rates or fare policies. The cost of a trip and eligibility is set by local transit agencies and therefore any requests for fare discounts should be directed to the transit provider involved.
When the sun shines on a PRESTO machine, I cannot read my balance. An investigation is being carried out based on the information provided by the customer to investigate the positioning of the device involved and improve visibility. PRESTO will be conducting a full device location review by the middle of 2013 to ensure device locations are optimal and make it easy to use PRESTO equipment.
Not everyone has access to a computer. Each PRESTO card must be registered separately. To obtain a concession discounted fare, the PRESTO customer must register their card to ensure transit agency eligibility requirements are met. Registration also provides the specific card holder with balance protection in the event of the card being lost or stolen. Customers without access to a computer can visit a GO Transit or local transit locations where an agent can register the card.
PRESTO: Not-For-Profit Fare Payment
Not-for-profit organizations are required to pay $1.25 every time money is loaded onto a card, which means they cannot pay for as many trips for their clients as they did in the past. PRESTO does not charge a fee for value reloads to a customer card. The fee stated by the attendee may be tied to the non-profit organization’s banking arrangement. We will need to explore further with the attendee for clarification.
The 10-ride tickets were useful, because not-for-profit organizations would hand out single or multi-ride tickets at meetings, which was more cost-effective than handing out PRESTO cards.
PRESTO cards create problems regarding not-for-profits and reimbursement of travel expenses.
Several options are available for not-for-profits who wish to pay for their clients’ travel. Depending on the frequency with which they need to provide ride options, they can:
- Arrange with Metrolinx revenue accounting to issue vouchers to their clients for whatever amount they choose. The client takes this to a sales location, and gets value added to their PRESTO card. - Purchase PRESTO cards with a pre-loaded amount of their choice, and supply these to their clients. (They can ask the clients to return the card when it is empty, or register the card and add more value on-line as required) - For 2017, PRESTO is working on a solution where clients will be able to authorize the agency to load value onto the client’s own PRESTO card.
PRESTO: Vision Loss
The card is very difficult for a person with full vision loss to use. Inability to read the card number, not knowing whether there is an audio component and not knowing where to tap the card. It is impossible to use the card without assistance from a sighted person.
My concern is that the PRESTO card is not accessible for blind users.
By the middle of 2013, PRESTO will be undertaking a complete review of the existing card format with the goal of ensuring that people with vision loss are able to distinguish and use the PRESTO card.
Future designs will improve customer ability to use the PRESTO system due to equipment improvements including larger screens, more tactile indicators and audio jacks on a broader range of devices. PRESTO plans to offer equipment with additional accessibility features that individual transit systems can purchase for device replacements and system growth.
Customers with vision loss expressed concern that it was difficult to load money onto a PRESTO card using the PRESTO website. PRESTO will ensure its public website meets WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility guidelines by the end of 2013. If a customer with vision loss has difficulty loading their card they can contact the PRESTO call centre or their transit agency`s customer service for assistance.
The PRESTO card autoload feature automatically reloads a customer card when the balance on the card reaches a certain amount. For example, a $40.00 reload when the card balance reaches $20.00 may also help customers to more easily administer their cards.
The word PRESTO should be on the card as raised text to help differentiate it from other cards.
Need some means developed to help people differentiate the PRESTO card from other cards they use.
The PRESTO card is capable of having braille or other tactile stickers placed on it without significantly affecting the card’s performance. These features are currently under investigation for future card orders.
PRESTO: System Design
Why does the PRESTO card expire? The card is designed to have an expected life span of approximately four years and as a result PRESTO cards have an expiry date that matches their estimated life span.
There are approximately 100 ticket agents across Mississauga, but they don’t have PRESTO loading equipment, so it will take some time to replace “legacy” (Mi-Way) fare media. PRESTO has begun a review of equipment used by “Third Party Ticket Agents” to determine how best to make PRESTO cards available through the transit agency “Third Party Ticket Agent” networks. This review is considering options such as preloaded cards and other ways that customers can purchase and load cards at these agents.
If a negative balance is incurred on a PRESTO card, the customer is required to go to a station to pay the fees, rather than also having the option to pay fees online. If you use GO Transit, the fee for clearing a negative balance can now be paid when the card is reloaded and does not require the customer to go to a station for payment. Card users on the municipal transit networks who have a negative balance can pay their fee with their next card reload.
Include monthly travel as an option – so you only have to tap on and off once each month. It is hard to remember to tap on and off.
Why not enable the PRESTO card, so customers can pre-set their travel info?
The PRESTO card is designed to give flexibility for travel on GO Transit, to ensure that customers only pay for the travel they actually use each month, and provide a greater discount for more frequent travelers. By tapping on and off, the same card can be used for travel anywhere in the GO system – unlike a monthly pass.
Customers who regularly travel between the same points using their PRESTO card can set these points as their default trip. Once the default trip has been set the customer only needs to tap on to count the number of times the trip is made – there is no need to tap off.
PRESTO: Integration Efforts
PRESTO should be integrated into paratransit systems – what are the challenges in doing this? On the topic of implementing PRESTO on paratransit, this may be more difficult for some agencies than for others. For instance, Peel TransHelp uses a pre-paid system.
(2 Respondents)
PRESTO has begun developing a version of the system that can be used by all participating paratransit operators. Planning for paratransit includes reviewing fare structures and policies, device requirements, accessibility requirements, compliance with AODA transportation standards, and use by contracted service providers. The Region of Peel’s pre-payment requirements will be taken into consideration. Final design will be developed by mid-2013.
How will the (employer based) Volume Incentive Program work with TTC in future and be tied to PRESTO? PRESTO is currently working with the TTC to define their overall business requirements for their PRESTO system. This work will involve a solution to handling the TTC`s Volume Incentive Program (VIP).
Non-Metrolinx
At VIVA currently, there are no protocols in place for people to board and leave the buses, people on scooters should board first, so they don’t get trampled or jostled by the crowd.
The auto door openers that were installed at TTC’s Queen subway north entrance are almost impossible to push to get to work.
I find it very difficult to understand why the TTC escalators require months of servicing every year.
These comments concern services provided by municipally operated transit services. They have been forwarded to the appropriate organisation for their consideration.