TTC Subway/RT Station Accessibility Backgrounder

The TTC revealed it intends to contravene the law and not make all subway/RT stations accessible. Its current plan leaves 17 stations inaccessible in 2025, and provides no commitment that these stations will ever be accessible. Annual TTC Access Plans reveal a track record of broken promises and slow progress in achieving their 1990 commitment to full accessibility.

The Law

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires that all subway/RT stations be fully accessible by 2025. Equal access by persons with disabilities, older Ontarians, and families with young children to adequate, dignified public transit services is also a right protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.[i] 

The Need and the Impact

Everyone – including people with disabilities, seniors, families, and visitors - deserves access to transit in Toronto. While not everyone may give it a thought, most of us will likely require universal access at some point in our lives – if not for us, then for a loved one.

As baby boomers age, more than 20% of our population will be seniors. Seniors are more likely to require basic amenities such as elevators to get around and maintain their independence and quality of life. The TTC is more cost effective, timely, and flexible than Wheel-Trans as its ridership swells with the aging population.

Accessibility is good for everyone, from a parent with a stroller, a commuter carrying a package or with a sprained ankle, or a person with a disability who statistically is more likely to rely on public transit for work, medical appointments, shopping, and leisure. Without adequate transportation people with disabilities cannot maintain gainful employment.

TTC Commitment to Accessibility

1990: TTC set goal to make all subway stations accessible.[ii]

2003: TTC committed to full station accessibility by 2020.[iii]

2009: TTC introduced a new “target” of 2024 for station accessibility.[iv]

2011: TTC revealed it would only achieve subway/RT accessibility by 2025, the year mandated by the AODA (2005).[v]

2014: TTC reneged on its commitment to full accessibility. The TTC revealed it intends to contravene the law. Its current plan leaves 17 stations inaccessible in 2025, and provides no commitment that these stations will ever be accessible.[vi]

June 26, 2014 - TTC Chair Maria Augimeri said: “I am warning you that we are going to be in contravention of the law.” [vii]

TTC Plans and Progress

32 stations are accessible.[viii] (This represents a combination of new stations built since 1996, TTC retrofits, and developer-installed elevators.)

38 stations remain inaccessible.[ix] Approximately 3 stations need to be retrofitted each year to comply with the AODA deadline of 2025. Only 4 stations were made accessible since 2008.

Each year the TTC outlines plans for elevator retrofits in its annual government-mandated access plans, but then fails to enact the plan and pushes deadlines back in the next plan. For instance, the 2009 Access Plan identified 14 stations that would be made accessible by 2014[x] and the 2010 Plan listed 17 stations to be accessible by 2015[xi]. However, today only 3 of the identified stations have been made accessible.

The TTC’s 2014-2018 Multiyear Accessibility Plan identifies 17 additional stations to be accessible by 2020.[xii] They propose to complete only 3 of these stations by 2016; the other 14 stations would have to be completed in only 4 years.

Under the 2014-2018 Plan[xiii], the TTC would break the law, leaving 17 other stations inaccessible: Greenwood, Wellesley, Lansdowne, Keele, College, Spadina, Chester, Christie, Castle Frank, Summerhill, <image001.png>High Park, Museum, Rosedale, Old Mill, Glencairn, Warden, Islington.

[i] Ontario Human Rights Commission, http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/consultation-report-human-rights-and-public-transit-services-ontario

[ii] This statement appears in several documents including “TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION REPORT NO. October 19, 2011, EASIER ACCESS PHASE III KEELE STATION

[iii] Accessible Transit Services Plan, Year-End 2003 Status Report, Toronto Transit Commission

[iv] Accessible Transit Service Plan September – 2009 Status Report, Toronto Transit Commission

[v] Accessible Transit Service Plan September – 2011 Status Report, Toronto Transit Commission

[vi] 2014-2018 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, pg. 1, Toronto Transit Commission

[vii] $240M shortfall means TTC can’t make all subway stations accessible, City TV

http://www.citynews.ca/2014/06/16/240m-shortfall-means-ttc-cant-make-all-subway-stations-accessible/

[viii] 2014 CAPITAL BUDGET BRIEFING NOTE Easier Access Phase III Station Accessibility Status, December 17, 2013, Stephen Stewart, Project Manager, Engineering, Construction & Expansion Group, TTC, (416)393-7895;steve.stewart@ttc.ca

[ix] 2014 CAPITAL BUDGET BRIEFING NOTE Easier Access Phase III Station Accessibility Status, December 17, 2013

[x] Accessible Transit Service Plan September – 2009 Status Report, Toronto Transit Commission

[xi] Accessible Transit Service Plan September – 2010 Status Report, Toronto Transit Commission

[xii] 2014-2018 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, Toronto Transit Commission.

[xiii] Four inaccessible Scarborough stations were eliminated from the TTC’s retrofit plan as they anticipate replacement by a subway. Of the remaining 34 inaccessible stations, 17 are scheduled to be accessible by 2020 and 17 more have not been allocated funding in the TTC’s budget.

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