Canadian Transit Forum - June 2010 / juin 2010 - (Page 23)

Feature ACCESSIBLE TRANSIT: SUCCESS AND FUTURE CHALLENGES CANADIAN TRANSIT SYSTEMS HAVE been playing an increasingly important role in providing accessible mobility to Canadians during the past two decades. Fully accessible conventional transit services, travel training programs, accessible infrastructure and expanded specialized transit services are examples of transit industry initiatives to ensure accessible mobility. Conventional Transit Conventional transit has changed dramatically since the early 1990s when lift-equipped buses Everybody wins with this special needs transportation solution Every transportation provider struggles with issues of accessibility—the challenges are many and the solutions elusive. The problems impact both public and private sector transportation services, and the problem is most acute in smaller communities. As our population ages, demand for services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities will increase. Special needs transit will grow in both the public and private sectors. A major issue for public transit providers in Ontario concerns expanding the schedule of accessible services to achieve parity with that provided to the non-disabled public. In December 2008 the Town of Cobourg, Ontario (pop 17,000), under the direction of Teresa Behan, Manager of Engineering, introduced an innovative solution that addressed the scheduling parity problem head on, eliminating it immediately and in a cost effective manner. A service contract was negotiated with a local taxi company whereby any trips required by registered WHEELS specialized transit users outside the regular WHEELS schedule but within the established schedule for normal bus service would be provided by the taxi firm. The same fare applied to regular transit and WHEELS service whether it was provided by the town vehicle or the taxi. Unlike the municipally-owned fleet the vehicle used for this expanded WHEELS service was provided and maintained by the taxi company. This provided a very important added benefit for the residents of Cobourg; when the accessible taxi was not being used to provide contracted services it would be used as a taxi at a metered rate. In one bold step, Cobourg solved the problem of achieving parity in service levels and created an environment where the private sector is now providing accessible transportation services on the same schedule as regular taxis. But it does not end there. The cost per passenger trip using the accessible taxi alternative is significantly less than the cost of operating a larger fleet vehicle. The taxi operator has found that servicing the needs of persons with disabilities is good business and a second accessible vehicle has been added to the taxi fleet. The Town of Cobourg received a 2009 CUTA award for outstanding achievement in recognition of this very successful and innovative project. —Jerry Ford, Cobourg were introduced and (the now common) low-floor transit buses. Fleet replacement programs have gradually led to a majority of accessible vehicles in transit fleets, with three quarters of all revenue vehicles reported to be accessible in 2008. Since 2002, the accessibility of transit buses has more than doubled, from 39% to 79% of the entire Canadian fleet. Most recently, transit systems of all sizes have become fully accessible. For example, Edmonton Transit, St. Albert Transit, Thunder Bay Transit, Kelowna Regional Transit, TransLink and GO Transit all have 100% fully accessible fleets. Accessible Transit Fleet Transit Buses Transit Vehicles 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Proportion (%) 2002 2003 2004 2005 Year 2006 2007 2008 Figure 1. History of Accessible Transit Fleet, 2002-2008 Accessibility of conventional transit services does not limit itself to vehicles, but also includes the built environment in which they operate: transit stops, shelters, stations and terminals. Transit systems of all sizes are planning to increase accessibility of their infrastructure. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) have, for instance, developed workplans to convert existing subway stations to full accessibility. The London Transit Commission (LTC) and Lethbridge Transit are examples of transit systems that are making transit stops accessible. Specialized Transit Most transit systems operate parallel door-todoor transit services for customers with mobility challenges. Ridership on specialized transit in Canada has increased by 33% since 2002 to 15.5 million annual trips. This represents a growth rate of 5% per year for the 2002-2008 period, nearly double the growth rate for conventional transit. 23 canadian transit forum | forum canadien sur le transport collectif

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Transit Forum - June 2010 / juin 2010

Canadian Transit Forum - June 2010
Message du président – Un enjeu qui se chiffre en milliards de dollars
Message from the President - A $53-billion Question
Vision 2040 Guest Editorial - Focusing on Customers Matters
Éditorial collaboration spéciale de la vision 2040 - Prioriser la clientèle importe
OC Transpo: Change in the Face of Success
OC Transpo: Le changement en temps de réussite
Accessible Transit: Success and Future Challenges
Transport collectif accessible : réussites et défis à venir
The Advocacy File - Transit Awareness Days 2010
Le dossier de la sensibilisation - Journées de sensibilisation au transport collectif 2010
People in Transit
Les gens du transport
Industry News
Des nouvelles de l’industrie
Index commercial et guide des acheteurs
Trade List & Buyers’ Guide

Canadian Transit Forum - June 2010 / juin 2010