Stations and Facilities

Elevators and Accessibility Improvements

As of 2013, TTC operates 83 elevators at 32 accessible subway/RT stations (TTC also operates two other elevators at Queen’s Quay and St Clair West Stations, but these stations are not yet accessible. Several third-party elevators also connect to TTC subway stations through adjacent buildings.).  Downsview Station and Line 4 (Sheppard) have been accessible since they opened in 1996 and 2002, respectively. “Easier Access” upgrades were implemented at 26 other stations between 1996 and 2013. These upgrades have provided a barrier-free path between street, bus/streetcar platforms, and subway platforms, and generally include the installation of one or more elevators, accessible fare gates, automatic doors, and new signage and wayfinding.

Four subway stations became accessible over the past five years: North York Centre in 2009, Victoria Park in 2011, St Andrew in 2012, and Pape in 2013. This is fewer stations than had been projected in the TTC’s 2008 Accessible Transit Services Plan, which anticipated that accessibility upgrades would be complete at all subway/RT stations by 2020.

Bus Platforms and Station Entrances

In addition to the subway/RT stations where the full “Easier Access” upgrades have been completed, bus-platform and station entrance accessibility features were implemented at ten additional subway stations in 2009-2010. This means that transfers between accessible bus routes within these subway stations, fare gates, and doors to the street are accessible in advance of the installation of elevators and other features involved in the complete “Easier Access” program.

Vehicles

Conventional Buses 

The TTC has purchased only accessible conventional buses since 1996, as part of a program to gradually make the entire bus fleet accessible. In 1998, TTC began to purchase only accessible low-floor buses for its bus fleet, recognizing the easier access provided by these vehicles for customers, and improved reliability of the accessibility equipment vs. high-floor buses with lifts. After replacing all of its older buses over 15 years, the TTC achieved a major milestone when its bus fleet became fully accessible in 2011.

TTC now operates over 1,600 accessible 12-metre-long low-floor buses. These buses are equipped with ramps, kneeling features, two flip-up wheelchair and mobility device priority locations, colour-contrasted stanchions with accessible stop-request buttons, audible and visual electronic stop announcements, high visibility destination signs, and an accessible low floor between the two sets of doors.

The latest bus order consists of 153 accessible low-floor 18-metre-long articulated buses, which began to be placed into service on the TTC’s busiest routes in late 2013. These buses have improved accessibility features, including a larger front entrance, and larger stop request buttons at the mobility device positions.

The TTC also currently operates over 200 high-floor accessible buses. Equipped with a wheelchair and mobility device lift rather than a ramp, these buses otherwise have accessibility features comparable to the remainder of the bus fleet.

Toronto Rocket Subway Trains

All TTC subway and Scarborough RT cars have level-boarding and are accessible. However, the TTC’s newest subway cars are better equipped and more-readily meet the needs of customers with disabilities.

In 2011, new Toronto Rocket subway trains began operating on Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina). The accessibility features of these subway trains include dedicated seating areas demarcated with a blue outline with seats in the “flipped up” position by default, an accessible interior layout, tactile wayfinding strips throughout the train, visual and audio communications systems along with video surveillance for safety and security purposes, multiple customer information video screens and electronic trip maps, a passenger assistance intercom at each mobility device location, and an emergency detrainment ramp at each end of the train.

As of December 2013, there were 43 Toronto Rocket train sets available for service. Over the next few years, the overall order of 70 Toronto Rocket trains will completely replace the older H-series subway cars, which are accessible, but are not equipped with the modern accessibility features of the Toronto Rocket trains.

To resolve initial issues, the height of all Toronto Rocket trains has been adjusted downward to reduce the height difference between the train entrance and subway platforms. However, there are minor variations in platform heights along subway stations, so the height difference between trains and platforms can vary, with some differentials being more pronounced. A long-term plan is being developed to resolve these height differences.

Low-floor Streetcars

In advance of the introduction of the new low-floor streetcars, TTC has begun to complete minor modifications to existing streetcar platforms and shelters to improve accessibility and ensure that a ramp can be safely deployed from the new streetcars onto the platforms. TTC completed these improvements to the platforms on the Spadina streetcar right-of-way, Bathurst Street, Fleet Street, and Lakeshore Boulevard in 2012-13.

The City of Toronto also began to install curb ramps at on-street streetcar stops in 2013 to support the new low-floor streetcars. These curb ramps align with the second door of the new low-floor streetcars, where the ramp is located. The curb ramps also feature the first major installation on City of Toronto streets of new “truncated dome” tactile markings for improved safety and wayfinding for people with vision impairments.

Wheel-Trans Services

Vehicles

Over the past four years, 201 new low-floor specialized buses were acquired to replace the fleet of older Wheel-Trans vehicles, which will reach the end of their service lives by 2015. These vehicles are larger and better equipped than the older vehicles they are replacing. These vehicles are also now used to operate the TTC’s five (5) community bus routes.

Online Booking

In addition to automated RideLine telephone trip booking, or booking a trip directly with a reservationist, Wheel-Trans now offers online booking for its customers. Online booking allows customers to book trips up to a week in advance, at their convenience, with no waiting time on the phone. In 2013, 36% of all Wheel-Trans bookings were made online.

Same Day Service

Customers may request trips to accessible subway stations on the same day with a minimum of four hours’ notice. In addition, as of January 1, 2014, customers can request a ride on the same day of service to any destination, where space is available – again, at least 4 hours in advance of when the ride is required. These trips may be booked online or by phone.

Seven Day Advanced Booking

After successfully completing a pilot project in 2012, Wheel-Trans now allows all customers to book occasional (non-reoccurring) trips up to seven days in advance. Previously, customers could only book these trips one day in advance.

24 Hour Service

Wheel Trans launched 24-hour per day transit service on January 1, 2013, which added an additional 4.5 hours of service every day for Wheel-Trans users. With this change, the hours of service offered on Wheel-Trans and the TTC’s conventional services were harmonized.

Integration Pilot Project

In 2012-13, Wheel-Trans undertook a pilot project to encourage its customers to transition their trips to the conventional transit system, where possible. The pilot project offered customers with disabilities personalized training on how to use the conventional transit system, and a complimentary Metropass for three months. The initiative was expected to reduce costs, given the significantly-lower subsidy required compared to trips on the Wheel-Trans system. Feedback from customers involved in the pilot project was mostly positive. TTC is now reviewing lessons learned from the pilot project as it proceeds to develop a new service integration program for Wheel-Trans customers.

Previous page: System Accessibility Status | Next page: Customer Service Initiatives