Transit solutions are possible

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

December 4, 2007 Ed Cartoon

A petition organized by a group of media and public interest students asks whether respondents would support making all London Transit Commission buses that pass through campus wheelchair accessible.

Given that the petition proposes no solutions as to how to make this possible, it raises a number of questions about the feasibility of such a motion.

The LTC is cash-strapped as it is. The cost of retrofitting outright all buses that pass through campus to make them wheelchair accessible is prohibitive. While this is no excuse not to try and accommodate the disabled, the basic proposal is not feasible.

The LTC’s policy is to replace all aged buses with wheelchair accessible models, which is the very least that can be expected. Add to this its Paratransit program and it is clear the LTC is doing what it can to accommodate the disabled.

Still, more can be done, and there are a number of options worth considering.

It is odd that some of London’s major routes are not more accessible. The 2 Dundas, 10 Wonderland and 13 Wellington routes span the city, yet the number of wheelchair-accessible busses that cover the routes is limited. Meanwhile, wheelchair-accessible buses fully cover many other routes.

With such limited resources at its disposal, one solution would be for the LTC to spread out accessible buses more to meet the needs of the Western community. Pulling wheelchair-accessible buses from predetermined, lower-traffic routes to cover the 2 Dundas, 10 Wonderland and 13 Wellington routes at specific intervals would benefit not only the Western community but the disabled throughout the city.

If this is not possible, the LTC could at least do more to make the number of wheelchair-accessible buses on these routes more frequent. The times they come could then be indicated on the routes’ schedules.

Another possibilty is to continue to focus on improving the Paratransit program, currently plagued with inadequacies. Having to book rides at least three days in advance and cancel bookings at least 24 hours prior are highly problematic. There is room for improvement, but presently the Paratransit system is the best method for meeting the specific needs of the disabled community.

The LTC and the public must continue to work together to find a solution. In the meantime, we must listen to the disabled community to ensure they are able to participate in public, and that public services can meet those needs.

While the petition offers no solutions, initiating this dialogue is exactly what its organizers aim to achieve.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette