For immediate publication
Toronto - The Ontario Human Rights Commission today announced that thirty-one transit providers have committed to begin announcing all stops by this fall. This result was obtained after the Commission launched an inquiry into Transit Stop Announcements in the fall of 2007 to help riders with disabilities.
In its Report entitled “Next Stop, Accessibility,” the Commission states that, of the 38 provincially regulated transit providers surveyed:
- 25 committed to begin announcing all stops by June 30, 2008
- 2 more are almost ready to do so.
- 4 indicated that they would begin announcing all stops in the fall of 2008
- 2 described plans for longer term compliance over the next 2-4 years
- 2 made no commitments, referring instead to commitments to meet future standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
- 3 did not provide sufficient information about their intentions or timelines for implementation.
At the outset of the inquiry, only the Toronto Transit Commission was announcing all stops. The transit providers that have since committed to announce all stops span the province, and range in size from small to very large systems: their efforts represent a considerable advancement in transit accessibility. “The result is that over a relatively short period of time, persons with visual impairments and other transit riders will enjoy a significant improvement in services that are so essential to their daily lives,” said Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall.
In 2007, the Commission noted both progress and setbacks relating to accessibility in transit for persons with disabilities. In July 2007, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario released an important decision, Lepofsky v. Toronto Transit Commission, requiring the TTC to begin announcing all stops on buses and streetcars that summer. Yet one month later, the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario’s Transportation Standards Development Committee proposed a standard that would delay the calling of stops by years.
“Transit providers have taken many important steps in recent years to become more accessible, despite competing demands and financial pressures,” commented Barbara Hall. “The Commission believes that rather than addressing barriers one human rights complaint at a time, it is preferable that municipalities and their transit providers improve accessibility for riders with disabilities proactively and cooperatively,” added Hall.
To view the Commission’s Report on Public Transit Stop Announcements in Ontario or its submission on the proposed standard please visit www.ohrc.on.ca.
For more information:
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Sr. Communications Officer
Communications and Issues Management
Senior Policy Analyst
Policy Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch (PEMO)
Ontario Human Rights Commission