TransLink, and its operating subsidiaries, Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), SkyTrain and West Coast Express (WCE), have taken the lead role to provide “Universally Accessible Transit” for the Metro Vancouver region.
More than two years ago, TransLink went to the experts transit users with physical, sensory, cognitive or other mobility challenges plus agency and community representatives to conduct an extensive review and pinpoint key issues and develop a framework for making transit more accessible. The result was a comprehensive action plan called “Access Transit” that is designed to remove both physical and logistical barriers that prevent people with disabilities from effectively using public transit.
The following is a snapshot of proposed and existing accessible features that support universal accessibility:
In the development and/or Pilot Phase:
- ‘Universal Accessibility Guidelines’
- Path-of-travel and tactile way-finding aids
- Universally accessible bus stop design criteria and guidelines
- Visual and auditory aids
- Elevator and ramp characteristics
- ‘TMAC’ (Transit Management and Communications)
- Audible and visual ‘Next Stop’ features provided for all stops; a pilot to be launched January 7, 2008 testing TMAC and these attributes on 4 new trolleys and 4 99-BLine buses. 316 buses have been equipped with the audio-visual next-stop feature and will go into service following the pilot.
- Strategizing to equip all Metro Vancouver transit buses with the audible next-stop feature.
- Global Positioning (GPS) feature provides real-time service adjustments and enhances emergency response.
- Humanware’s Trekker GPS device – Currently pilot-testing data within this hand-held GPS unit that will provide the user with audible directions within 30 feet of a bus stop.
Current Applications available to our customers at present:
- Google Transit – web-based tool, compatible with VIP screen-reading applications, allows for easy trip planning. In addition to being completely accessible to adaptive technology users, the site is available in 121 languages- a real bonus for those whose first language is one other than English. It provides text-based instructions for trip-planning including estimated “walk times” to and from the nearest bus stops.
- SkyTrain & West Coast Express Stations, Bus Stops and Transfer locations – SkyTrain and West Coast Express rail transit provide audible station and stop information.
- VIP Assistance Line for accessible transit users to access assistance on the SkyTrain system.
- Bus Operators call major stops and transfer points; all stops on limited-stop and/or express routes; and, all customer-requested stops.
We strive to meet your needs every time you access our transit system and should we fail, we urge you to contact TransLink Customer Relations at 604-953-3040. Whenever possible, providing bus or train number, date, time and any other specific details will ensure our ability to act on your behalf.
Through continued consultation with our partners in the disabled community and input from individual citizens, we’ve been able to raise our level of awareness from a state of responding to the needs of people with disabilities to anticipating them. The introduction of the Universal Accessibility Guidelines and a complete installation of TMAC and the enunciator system will continue to improve our performance in meeting the goal of a universally accessible transit system.