The rate at which the TTC’s conventional services can be made accessible is highly dependent on the level of funding provided for accessibility initiatives. Many TTC accessibility initiatives stem from Provincial AODA accessibility requirements; however, the TTC does not receive any additional funding from the Province to cover costs related to these mandated requirements. This lack of funding will affect both the TTC’s Capital Budget and Operating Budgets over the next several years.

Capital Budget

Several approved and/or proposed major capital budget initiatives will increase the level of accessibility of the TTC’s transit system. These include:

  • the replacement of the existing fleet of streetcars with low-floor accessible streetcars;
  • the continuing construction of elevators in subway stations; and
  • the retrofit of buses and subway trains to provide automated pre-boarding (external) announcements of routes and destinations by 2017.

The TTC must balance its limited capital funding between numerous important projects, ranging from basic state of good repair of stations, track, and tunnels to new vehicles. Pressures on the TTC’s capital budget previously resulted in deferring completion of the “Easier Access” subway station retrofit program from 2020 to 2025. The lack of funding for accessibility improvements has now contributed to a shortfall in the TTC 2014-2023 Capital Budget, including reduced funding of $240 million for the Easier Access program to make all stations accessible. This means that funding was not available in 2014 to complete the installation of elevators and other Easier Access improvements at 17 stations. To-date, the Province has not responded favourably to any of the TTC’s requests to provide funding to accelerate this program to meet the Province’s goal of an accessible Ontario by 2025.

Note: as of 2016, full funding was restored to the “Easier Access” accessibility retrofit program in the 2016-2025 Capital Budget. This means that accessibility improvements are now funded for all subway stations. However, Easier Access work at Islington and Warden Stations is contingent on budget approval of station re-development work, which is not yet funded. Refer to the 2016 Accessibility Plan Status Report for more information.

In addition to the station retrofit program, the Province has not made a commitment to fund the cost of other changes required as a result of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, such as automated pre-boarding announcements. The design of public spaces accessibility standards and revised Ontario Building Code accessibility requirements may also have significant implications on TTC capital budget requirements in the future. If funding is not forthcoming to allow the TTC to meet these Provincial accessibility requirements, the costs associated with altering vehicles and stations may result in reductions in service and/or the need to raise fares. The TTC has formally conveyed these concerns to the Province on several occasions.

Despite these challenges, the TTC remains committed to making its services accessible in order to better meet the needs of people with disabilities, seniors, and other travelers. The TTC has a systematic program in place to ensure that this is accomplished in as cost-effective and timely a way as possible.

Operating Budget

The TTC’s yearly operating budget is largely funded through fares paid for by riders. The TTC is concerned that several requirements in the IASR will or have resulted in fewer fares paid by riders, or increased administrative and operating costs.

In 2014, TTC faced increased operating costs attributable to the IASR requirements. Specifically, increased operating costs relate to the requirement to provide 24 hour Wheel-Trans service, and to allow Wheel-Trans customers to make a trip request up to three hours before the published end of the service period on the day before the intended day of travel with the resulting need to improve trip availability for those customers (approximately $1.3 million per year). Complimentary support person fares have also resulted in a decrease in fare revenues, on each of the TTC’s conventional and Wheel-Trans services, in the range of $300,000 to $600,000 per year.

With no funding provided by the Province to cover these operating costs and replace lost fare revenue, the TTC may be forced to raise fares and/or reduce service to compensate. To date, the Province has not responded positively to the TTC’s request regarding leadership or funding related to the implementation of the standards being imposed.

Annual Review

Staff will report back to the TTC Board on an annual basis on the TTC’s progress in implementing the goals and objectives of this plan. Budget matters or any recommendations resulting in significant changes to TTC services or facilities will be reported on separately.

Appendix 1.

TTC Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation Compliance Status Link opens in Excel document

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