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ACCESSIBLE TRANSIT IN OTTAWA Council on Aging November 1, 2006

Accessibility to People with Disabilities: 

Accessibility to People with Disabilities Aging population Seniors 11.6% of population today 12.3% by 2011 16.3% by 2021 City committed to improving access to all facilities Pressure on Para Transpo Low-floor buses make it easier for everyone Other disability communities

Providing Accessible Transit in Ottawa: 

Providing Accessible Transit in Ottawa Strategy Provide door-to-door Para Transpo service to those who need it, in the most cost-effective way Attract as many Para Transpo customer trips as possible to regular transit Low-floor fully-accessible buses Accessible facilities Travel Training Community Pass

Today’s Presentation: 

Today’s Presentation Para Transpo Accessible conventional transit Taxi Script Other programs

Para Transpo: 

Para Transpo provides specialized door-to-door transit services for persons unable to use regular transit Twelve thousand registered clients: 68% ambulatory and 32% with a wheelchair or scooter Total budget $22 million in 2006 690,000 customer trips a year are provided Para Transpo

Para Transpo Service Availability: 

Para Transpo Service Availability Little growth in service supply in 10 years 690,000 trips annually Annual trip refusals (5% - 35,000 trips) Para Trips per capita: 1.01 (third highest in Canada for municipalities with a population over 150,000) Canadian average: 0.67

Para Transpo Ridership: 

Para Transpo Ridership

2005 Contracts: 

Wheelchair Accessible Vans 478,000 trips provided (44% by customers in wheelchairs) Accommodated virtually all requests made by people in wheelchairs Sedan Service 143,000 trips accommodated Non-Accessible Taxi Service 75,000 trips provided In 2006 Accessible taxi contract Currently 7 vehicles Increase planned for 2007 2005 Contracts

Wheelchair-Accessible Van Service - 70% (FirstBus – expires June 07): 

Wheelchair-Accessible Van Service - 70% (FirstBus – expires June 07)

Non-Accessible Sedans Service - 20% (FirstBus – expires June 07): 

Non-Accessible Sedans Service - 20% (FirstBus – expires June 07)

Non-Accessible Taxi Service - 7% (West Way Taxi – expires March 09): 

Non-Accessible Taxi Service - 7% (West Way Taxi – expires March 09)

Wheelchair-Accessible Taxi Service - 3% (Coventry Connections – expires March 09): 

Wheelchair-Accessible Taxi Service - 3% (Coventry Connections – expires March 09)

Issues Facing Para Transpo: 

Issues Facing Para Transpo Expensive service Limited capacity/daily trip refusals Reservations 340,000 calls annually phone lines often busy

Accessible Conventional Service Offers Alternatives for Customers: 

Accessible Conventional Service Offers Alternatives for Customers

Kneeling Buses: 

Kneeling Buses Most buses can lower or kneel close to the curb for easier boarding.

Growth in Accessible Conventional Buses: 

Growth in Accessible Conventional Buses

Current Accessible Fleet: 

20 Nova LF buses (35 seats) 140 Orion VI buses (33 seats) 227 New Flyer D60LF buses (54 seats) Three Bombardier Talent train-sets (135 seats) Plus 239 40-foot Invero buses Para Transpo fleet 92 wheelchair-accessible vans 37 non-accessible sedans 30 +/- non-accessible taxis 7 wheelchair-accessible taxis Current Accessible Fleet

Bus Configuration: 

Fold-out ramp at front door Two rear-facing compartments – some customers prefer Aisle side of compartment defined by a stanchion Optional lap belt being added for stability Bus Configuration

Questions for the Future - Interior: 

Manoeuvring into the compartment has been difficult for customers with large electric wheelchairs A wider compartment results in a narrower aisle Removing the stanchion would increase the need for (or perhaps require) a lap belt for stability Other ideas for lateral stability? Contradiction between stanchions as support and as obstacles Questions for the Future - Interior

Bus Stops: 

6,300 bus stops 1,100 shelters, 1,300 benches New shelters have no step, wider doors and are large enough for a wheelchair to turn around New benches have armrests to make it easier to sit down and to stand up Measuring stops for accessibility Bus Stops

Criteria for Accessibility at Stops: 

Width and depth of hard surface at front door Absence of obstructions Access to curb ramp nearby Shelter size and type Criteria for Accessibility at Stops

Rapid Transit Stations: 

All 33 Transitway stations and 5 O-Train stations are accessible Downtown Transitway stops at street level All stops at Terry Fox Station have signs with raised lettering and Braille installed at an accessible height Rapid Transit Stations

Priority Seating: 

Priority Seating The buses have priority seating at the front of the bus, a special lap belt for wheelchairs and scooters.

Priority Seating Card: 

Priority Seating Card If you have an invisible disability that makes it difficult for you to stand in a moving vehicle, you can obtain a Priority Seating ID card.

Bus Hailing Kit: 

Bus Hailing Kit Free bus Hailing Kits are available for persons with visual impairments and those who have difficulty identifying the bus number.

Attendant Card: 

Attendant Card If you need assistance boarding and riding transit, you can apply for an Attendant Card that allows you to have a companion ride with you at no charge.

Service Dogs are Welcome: 

Service Dogs are Welcome Must be on a leash or harness Under handler’s supervision and control Should not block the aisle

Trip Planning: 

Trip Planning We are a phone call away from assisting you in personally planning your trip from start to finish.


Using the bus does not affect your eligibility for Para Transpo.

Taxi Script Pilot Project: 

Taxi Script Pilot Project Investigate feasibility of implementing a Para Transpo Taxi Script Pilot Project in 2007 Present results of investigation during 2007 service level discussions (Budget 2007)

Taxi Script – Other Municipalities: 

Taxi Script – Other Municipalities There are eight Canadian Municipalities with population over 150,000 that are operating a Taxi Script program These include: BC Transit Municipal System Vancouver Handidart System Victoria, BC Burlington, ON Hamilton, ON Kitchener-Waterloo, ON York Region, ON Longueuil, QC

Taxi Script Program – Hamilton, Ontario: 

Taxi Script Program – Hamilton, Ontario Specialized Transit customers purchase taxi script coupons at 60% of normal cost and use coupons to pay for taxi trips Maximum of two $40 booklets of coupons per customer per month (customer pays $26 each) Participating Customers must obtain a photo ID Customers call any participating Taxi company directly Taxi scripts are submitted monthly to the City for reimbursement

Going Forward: 

Going Forward Looking for ways to: Make conventional transit more accessible Make Para Transpo more responsive, more cost-effective Develop services that respond to need for spontaneity

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