As of December 2015, less than half of TTC 69 subway and RT station stops are accessible to those that use wheelchairs or other mobility aids[1]. The TTC has a mandate and a legal responsibility under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) to install elevators and other accessibility features in all subway stations, but 17 station upgrades are unfunded[2][3][4].

Accessibility is also an issue for travel on buses and streetcars. Many bus stops are not yet fully accessible due to a lack of appropriate hard surface or narrow sidewalks that stop drivers from being able to put out the ramp[5][6][7]. The TTC’s new streetcars are accessible low-floor vehicles, but the delivery of these has been slower than expected. Because of this, the majority of streetcar service remains inaccessible.

Progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go. Access is a right, not a luxury. The inability, and lack of political will, for the city and province to fund this requirement is unacceptable and outrageous. Both the city and the province are responsible for this shortfall.

TTCriders demands that the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto allocate the necessary $240 million in funds immediately in order to make urgent and necessary improvements to the accessibility of “conventional” TTC services. Funding should be independent of the TTC operating subsidy.

Footnotes:

[1] CBC article: TTC Subway Stations Lack Equal Accessibility for All Critics

[2] The section of the AODA applying to elevator access in stations comes into effect in 2025 despite the pressing need for accessibility today.

[3] According to David Hains in October 2014, “The projected total cost of TTC accessibility initiatives—including retrofitting stations with elevators, escalators, and curb ramps—is $480 million….half of that $480 million is currently unfunded, and there is no indication of where the remaining $240 million will come from.” (source)

[4] The TTC Budget Committee assessed the 2016-2025 Capital Budget and moved a projected $165 million of potential future funding “above the line” for the Easier Access III program. Although this is a positive move, this funding is spread over 10 years and could be canceled in future years.

[5] The most recent estimate on this issue is that “20% of all bus stops are not accessible,” from page 24 here. Due to ongoing improvements, however, this number might be lower now.

[6] We recognize that sidewalks are property of the City of Toronto. We expect that the City will act and improve this infrastructure as part of its commitment to accessibility.

[7] Toronto Vital Signs report on Getting Around

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