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Assistive Devices and Public Transit

The first review of the AODA’s Transportation Standards became public in 2018. In this review, the AODA Transportation Standards Development Committee recommends changes to the existing Transportation Standards. In addition, the Committee also recommends action from other sectors of the province, to remove accessibility barriers that impact transportation. This article will discuss the Committee’s recommendation for passengers who use assistive devices and public transit.

Assistive Devices and Public Transit

Under the current Transportation Standards, each public transit vehicle must include at least two (2) spaces for assistive devices. In other words, passengers must be able to ride public transit while using wheelchairs or scooters. For example, public transit vehicles that must have space for passengers using assistive devices include:

  • Buses
  • Motor coaches
  • Streetcars
  • Subways
  • Light rail
  • Commuter rail
  • Inner-city rail

However, the Standards mandate limits on the size of assistive devices that vehicles can safely secure. For instance, these size limits include:

  • 1,220 millimetres by 685 millimetres in vehicles with twenty-four (24) or fewer passengers
  • 1,220 millimetres by 760 millimetres in vehicles with more than twenty-four (24) passengers

In other words, passengers who use larger assistive devices cannot safely ride public transit.

Therefore, the Committee recommends a campaign to educate passengers who use assistive devices about these size limitations. When a person is purchasing an assistive device, they should know that buying a larger device will limit their transit options.

This recommendation would not involve updating the Transportation Standards. Instead, the provincial or federal government could require manufacturers of assistive devices to place tags or stickers stating the size of each device. Alternatively, education or outreach about assistive devices and public transit could involve partners from various sectors, such as:

  • Transit organizations
  • Healthcare providers
  • Retailers
  • Manufacturers

All these sectors could alert each client that if they buy a smaller device, they will be able to ride public transit safely in their wheelchair or scooter.