Every city has a love-hate relationship with its transit system. Toronto is no exception and we love to hate our dear ol’ Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Just take a look at the news article linked here.
Do they have a legal obligation to make everything fully accessible by 2025? Yes!
Can the system be made more accessible? Most certainly – yes!
32 subway stops that have elevators (out of 69) is barely a passing grade. The article highlights that nearly 14 per cent of Canadians live with a disability. It is not just the community of wheelchair users that needs accessibility. Seniors as well as parents with strollers stand to benefit.
Accessibility is enshrined in the Canadian Charter and is a basic human right. Service improvements, including more elevators are estimated to cost over $400 million, however the TTC’s capital expenditure budget till 2024 is $170 million short. TTC is looking expectantly at the City authorities. Even the 2015 allocation, which is a part of this, may prove grossly inadequate as the City struggles to pass a budget for the year
This second article again highlights the inadequacy of budget allocations to ensure full compliance of the transit system with the promises enshrined in the AODA by 2025. (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act). Unless the funding commitments are made year-after-year, the funding shortfall can never be bridged. By 2025, all wheelchair users are expected to gain full accessibility which goal is growing more inaccessible each year.
A user report on the newly re-opened Dufferin subway station
Two weeks ago, I travelled on the TTC subway to Dufferin station to check out the new accessible features. They have improved the subway stop (about half-way from Bloor-Yonge to Kipling) and the new station was inaugurated with much fanfare.
Travelling from Bloor to Dufferin was easier as most of the exits are clearly marked. However the elevator that leads you to the street is tucked away in a sort of alcove. I had to move around a bit before I could push through the exits and find it. The connecting bus (Route 29) stops on the street and does not enter the subway area. I think it will be difficult to spot an incoming bus at night or in bad weather.
I got off at Dufferin Mall, a half-kilometer away. It has the usual stores, but not much of a food court. On the return journey, I took the same bus in the opposite direction. I asked specifically for it and was given a bus transfer. I showed it the attendant and regained access to the subway.
Unless it is to meet a friend, I don’t see myself making that trip again. It is heartening that one more station on the subway system now has elevators. There was no washroom in sight – so I do not know where to go if I need to go.