Building an Accessible Toronto
Toronto must work to be a fully accessible city of inclusion. Persons with disabilities face too many barriers and as a city we must create fully inclusive environments or risk losing out on significant contributions these residents can make. We must stop segregating, and enable and encourage the full potential of all our citizens.
Wheel trans currently provides service for persons with disabilities, but it requires pre-booking and customers receive poor level of service, often left waiting for hours. Having an entire management system working on logistics, when our cab companies already have efficient systems set in place, is unnecessary and expensive duplication that should be eliminated.
Wheel trans currently meets with every applicant in order to assess their eligibility and needs, and they should continue this service. But the average cost for wheel trans per trip is $31. Provincial law does not allow the TTC to charge more than $3 per trip and Toronto is now subsidizing an average of $28 per ride. The province should contribute at least 50 percent of the subsidized funding required and a Sarah Thomson administration will work to secure this.
Currently 3.5 per cent of cabs are accessible but most are contracted to Wheel Trans and unavailable to tourists. The city has mandated that all cabs be fully accessible by 2024. But another important shift Toronto should make is to require that all cab drivers receive training around serving persons with disabilities.
Sarah Thomson states, “I am calling on all drivers to receive training in how to properly serve those with disabilities. I propose that we gradually eliminate the transit service side of Wheel Trans moving transit service provision over to our cab companies, and shrink the department to become a smaller entity that monitors each trip and qualifies the eligibility of those receiving special exemption.”
Accessible transit stations
The city will work to make all transit stations (32 remaining) fully accessible by 2025. The city is on track to having all streetcars fully accessible by 2015, and most busses are now there.
Currently Toronto has only two parks that are fully accessible – Earl Bales Park and Oriole Park. A Sarah Thomson administration will work require all new parks be fully accessible and will work to redesign at least 25% of all our parks, to be fully accessible by 2025.
A Sarah Thomson administration will bring the public and private sector together to raise funds to redesign our parks and raise awareness for the need to be a fully inclusive city.
Toronto must be a city that unites and enables persons with disabilities to gain full potential from their contributions to our city.