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Ontario Public Transit: Accessible for Everyone

When people with disabilities are using Ontario public transit services, they should find and experience accessible service. Under the IASR, companies that provide public transit have to create and put in place policies and plans to make their services accessible. Since this law has been enacted, public transit has taken steps to make it easier for riders to use their services.

Public transit includes:

  • City buses
  • Trains
  • Streetcars
  • Taxis

In this post, we outline some of the mandated accessibility features for Ontario public transit. For instance, we discuss accessible:

  • Stops, shelters, stations, and platforms
  • Vehicles
  • Audio and visual announcements
  • Transit info

Ontario Public Transit

Accessible Stops, Shelters, Stations, and Platforms

AODA requires that all new and updated:

  • Bus stops
  • Bus shelters
  • Train platforms
  • Train stations

are level or ramped for use by people with mobility devices.

Shelters, platforms, and stations should be wide enough so that people using devices can turn around.

Also, riders should find that signs have good colour contrast and have large print. Signs should be found in or at:

  • Shelters
  • Stations
  • Stops
  • Platforms

Accessible Vehicles

Buses should either have level entrances, ramps, or lifts. Emergency response and stop request buttons should be at a height that people using mobility devices can easily reach. There should also be seats near the front of the bus for riders using assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or scooters. Riders may also bring smaller devices, such as canes or walkers.  Service animals are allowed on all buses and taxis. Notably, taxis that store mobility devices cannot charge an extra fee for doing so.

Audio and Visual Announcements

Buses have audio announcements that speak the name of each stop as they approach it. This system allows riders who are blind or visually impaired to know where they are and when they have reached their stop. Audio announcements also indicate which bus is coming. Visual display of the same info is equally helpful for riders who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Blind or visually impaired taxi riders should disclose their disability to dispatch when they call a cab so that drivers will know to identify themselves. If riders are blind or have very low vision, they can ask drivers to describe exactly where they are when they reach their stop or ask drivers to take them to a nearby landmark.

Accessible Transit Information

People with disabilities can go online to find out about:

  • Bus times and routes
  • Delays and detours during winter and construction season

Also, any info not on the website should be available in other formats, such as Braille or large print, upon request.

Public Transit Benefits Everybody

Accessible public transit allows people with disabilities to get around cities and the province with more ease. Other groups of people will also benefit from these services and rides, including:

  • Parents of kids in strollers
  • Older adults
  • Newcomers
  • Travellers with luggage
  • Shoppers with carts

Ontario is one of the leading provinces in accessibility. Transit is one of five IASR that is making it possible for the province to reach its goal of a fully accessible province by 2025.