Under the Transportation Standard of the AODA, colleges, universities, and hospitals that offer transportation services around or between their campuses must make those services accessible upon request. Accessible transportation for colleges, universities, and hospitals applies to all:
- Public hospitals in Ontario
- Colleges of applied arts or technology in Ontario
- Ontario universities, including affiliated or federated colleges, that receive yearly government operating grants
Moreover, these organizations may use integrated or equivalent services.
Some colleges, universities, and hospitals may run their transportation services using accessible vehicles. The section of the Transportation Standard dealing with colleges, universities, and hospitals gives little guidance about what accessibility involves. However, earlier sections of the standard dealing with conventional transit in general offer detailed lists and descriptions of accessible features that should be useful as a guideline for organizations integrating their services. For instance, these features include:
- Level entrances, ramps, or lifts
- Spaces for people using mobility devices
- No charge for storing mobility devices
- Courtesy seating for passengers with disabilities
- Audio and visual announcements
- Stop request and emergency response buttons at a height someone using a mobility device can reach
- Information about services, such as routes, times, and delays, in accessible formats
In addition, other features of vehicles, such as steps, floors, handholds, signage, and lighting, should conform to regulations in the Standard.
Colleges, universities, and hospitals are not required to retrofit vehicles that do not adhere to these guidelines. Instead, if their vehicles are not accessible, organizations must offer equivalent transportation services for passengers with disabilities. Furthermore, these equivalent services must have similar routes, schedules, and payment structures to those of the organizations’ conventional transit.
Why we Need Accessible Transportation for Colleges, Universities, and Hospitals
Students, patients, and others must be able to easily go from one point on campus to another or between hospitals in different parts of a city. Therefore, transportation is a key part of college, university, and hospital life. Accessible transportation for colleges, universities, and hospitals ensures that all people have this freedom of movement.