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OC Transpo Formalizes its Accessible Customer Service Policy

News Posted by steve on May 18, 2011
Summary: Today, The Transit Commission received OC Transpo’s Accessible Customer Service Policy.

 Today, The Transit Commission received OC Transpo’s Accessible Customer Service Policy. This policy formalizes practices in place for several years in Transit Services, and helps strengthen the procedures and training related to improving accessibility and enhancing customer service to all residents,
including persons with disabilities.

“This is great news for all OC Transpo riders,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The new policy shows our commitment to providing public transit services that are customer-focused, safe, reliable and accessible to all persons.”

In 2009, the City approved its first ever Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Policy that met the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians
with Disabilities Act (AODA). Under the AODA, private, public and non-profit organizations are required to identify, remove and prevent barriers in order
to make the Province fully accessible for all people with disabilities by 2025.

Although not technically bound by the AODA because OC Transpo is federally regulated, Transit Services has continued to demonstrate its commitment to providing fully accessible transit service for all customers.

Some of its key accomplishments in this regard were reported in the 2010 City of Ottawa Municipal Accessibility Plan (COMAP) and include:

  • Implementation of bilingual automated next stop announcements. More than a 1,000 buses are now equipped with the Next Stop Announcement System;
  • Continuation of replacement of older high-floor vehicles with new low-floor accessible buses. By the end of the summer, all buses will be low-floor;
  • Provision of travel training to more than 1,000 seniors, new immigrants and persons with disabilities; and
  • Continuation of upgrades and improvements to transit stations and facilities, aimed at making them more accessible to persons with disabilities.

“These numerous initiatives demonstrate how accessibility is a vital part of OC Transpo’s planning and development,” said Councillor Diane Deans, Chair of the Transit Commission. “The goal of the new policy is to accommodate disability related needs while reflecting the principles of dignity and independence.”

In addition, Transit Services completed a comprehensive accessibility audit of the transit system in April 2010. It concluded that although effective practices were already in place, there was a lack of formally documented customer service policies, especially related to the provision of accessible services to persons with disabilities.

The Accessible Customer Service Policy has been developed to address this gap. The new policy, which comes into effect on June 1, 2011, closely mirrors the City’s policy to better serve all transit customers in Ottawa.

Reproduced from http://ottawastart.com/story/13927.php