TTC to increase accessibility

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is endorsing a plan to standardize subway platforms to make it safer for passengers with mobility issues.

The plan focuses on the wide gaps between the train and platform edges that pose a safety risk for people with mobility devices, who can get their wheels caught in-between the space.

Ryerson instructor Stephen Trumper said the gap can cause people to spill out of their wheelchairs.

“You only have to look at the gap to realize, ‘oh my god, my front wheels can get stuck in there and I would go down,’” Trumper said. “They would pick me up out of my chair, which is not a good thing for anybody. So, it’s an issue.”

A motion was approved by the TTC board of commissioners on Nov. 13 with a proposed retrofit standard of 89 mm horizontal between the platform edge and train door, and 38 mm in a vertical gap between the platform edge and floor.

The province signed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005, which requires the government to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025.

David Lepofsky, a Toronto lawyer and chair of AODA Alliance, said the TTC violated a promise that Premier Kathleen Wynne made in the last provincial election.

“One of the things that the government is committed in doing is to ensure that public money is never used to create new barriers against people with disability. Well guess what? The TTC did – they bought a bunch of subway cars that created new barriers against people using wheelchairs and mobility devices.”

Lepofsky said he wants to see the provincial government step up to the plate and effectively implement the accessibility law that was passed.

“They need to pass a detailed regulation that will prevent these types of barriers from being created,” he said.

Matt Vocino, a third-year sport media student at Ryerson University, said he was deterred from taking the TTC after hearing horrible stories, and now commutes by GO train.

“I personally don’t take the TTC and a lot of the reasons is because of the gap,” Vocino said. “I know a bunch of people who had terrible experiences trying to get onto the subway and had their tires get stuck in the gap and flipped over with their wheelchairs.”

The largest horizontal gaps are at stations where tracks curve as they enter or leave the platform.

The TTC will begin work on the gaps in 2018, prioritizing Davisville, St. Clair, Union and Dundas stations.

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