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Passengers with Disabilities Boarding 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 recommendations for passengers with disabilities boarding public transit.

Passengers with Disabilities Boarding Public Transit

The current Transportation Standards require accessible seating on public transit for passengers with disabilities. However, there is no requirement mandating priority boarding for these passengers. In other words, passengers with disabilities board at the same time as non-disabled passengers. Just as not all passengers with disabilities need courtesy seats, not all passengers with disabilities need priority boarding on public transit. Nonetheless, priority boarding could assist some passengers who need more time or space to reach and secure themselves in their seats.

Therefore, the Committee recommends a campaign to educate the public about extending more courtesy to fellow passengers when boarding public transit. In addition, on-board announcements could remind all passengers about the need for improved priority boarding for passengers with disabilities.

The current Transportation Standards also require pre-boarding and on-board audiovisual announcements on all vehicles and routes. For example, at every stop, announcements should tell potential passengers about the:

  • Vehicle’s route
  • Direction of travel
  • Destination or next major stop

Audio announcements should be loud enough so that people waiting for a vehicle can hear which one has arrived. Signage should be visible at the entrances where passengers board.

While the vehicle is moving, announcements should tell passengers about each potential stop. Announcements for each stop should sound and display when the vehicle approaches the stop so that passengers can request to deboard. In addition, an announcement should also sound and display when the vehicle has reached a stop.

The Committee recommends that the Transportation Standards should require public transit companies to closely monitor their progress implementing pre-boarding and on-board announcements. Companies should report on this progress every year in the status reports of their multi-year accessibility plans. Finally, the second review of the Transportation Standards should investigate compliance with the requirement for audiovisual pre-boarding and on-board announcements.