Spinal Cord Injury BC asked TransLink about what they are doing to make our transit experience more accessible. This is what they had to say:
If you are a public transit user, you may have noticed that TransLink’s Regional Transportation Strategy Strategic Framework is available on our website. One of the key elements of the strategy is for the system to be efficient and user-focused, making it as accessible as possible for people of all ages and abilities. As part of that commitment, TransLink has a number of accessibility initiatives underway.
Reaching our goals
Did you know that TransLink has an accessibility goal for bus stops? We want to increase the overall number of wheelchair accessible stops by 2% each year. We are pleased that we continue to meet our goal! In fact, we have surpassed it in the last couple years with a 3.6% increase in 2011, and a 4.7% increase in 2012. As of June 2013, 66.5% of bus stops throughout Metro Vancouver are wheelchair accessible.
Most bus stops are owned by individual municipalities, so we work together with them and share the costs of retrofitting stops. If you want a particular bus stop to become wheelchair accessible, contact both your municipality and TransLink with your recommendation.
If you have visited Joyce-Collingwood Bus Exchange in the past year, you will have noticed the stops are very unique. Our Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee reminds us that a fully accessible bus stop is more than just wheelchair and scooter accessible. To meet more needs, we launched a Universally Accessible Bus Stop Pilot, which assists people with a variety of abilities and special needs with finding, boarding and getting off buses at TransLink bus stops. There are four new characteristics of the pilot bus stop:
- Signs with visual and tactile information for customers including bus arrival and departure times
- Tactile information panels that have raised and Braille lettering for people who are blind or partially sighted to confirm they are at the right stop
- Tactile surface indicators on the sidewalk to assist people who are blind or partially sighted by indicating the placement of a stop, with the raised portions pointing towards the location of the bus stop pole
- Benches to provide convenient seating for passengers who cannot stand while waiting for the bus.
The project team is in the process of collecting feedback on the sample stops. If you have feedback to share about the bus stop, we would love to hear from you. You can complete a short online survey to tell us what you think!
The original SkyTrain stations are aging, and along with time come changes in standards. Main Street- Science World Station in particular doesn’t meet our minimum accessibility standards and is one of the stations where accessibility upgrades are needed the most. As the fifth busiest station on the system, TransLink committed to station upgrades that will increase capacity, accessibility and safety.
The key accessibility upgrades for Main Street-Science World Station will enhance passenger flow and safety. This includes removing the existing entrance and stairs from Terminal Avenue and adding a new, continuous staircase from ground level, as well as two continuous escalators connecting the ground level and the platform level; one escalator will travel up and the other down. The current elevator on the west side will also be upgraded.
The east side of the station next to the park is used by 55% of the station’s passengers and needs substantial accessibility upgrades. When retrofitted, there will be a new and expanded east station house, a new ‘up’ escalator and a new elevator.
If you are interested in helping shape accessible public transit in Metro Vancouver, consider joining the Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee. This group provides ongoing accessibility advice on TransLink plans, programs and initiatives. The application to serve on the Committee in 2014 will be posted on the TransLink website from mid-August until the end of September.