Accessibility on TTC needs work, residents say

Valentina Gal says the TTC has great customer service.

But its maintenance practice — or lack thereof —has become a major accessibility issue, she says.

This issue was addressed by the five leading mayoral candidates who assembled at Trinity Bellwoods Church on Wednesday for a debate focused ways to improve inclusion for those living with disabilities.

The candidates presented varying ideas about how to make transportation accessible for this community as well as answered questions from the audience.

Gal, 58, urged the TTC to quickly make changes in order to better serve the public.

“The TTC does not have enough money to clean up,” said Gal, who has a visual impairment. “When I travel on the TTC, I usually end up with a piece of garbage stuck to my cane.

“I can slip and fall on garbage,” she added. “Although the railing is dirty, I have no choice to put my hands on the rails.  I would like to see no food on the TTC from the stairway to the platform.”

The problem extends beyond the TTC and onto the city’s sidewalks, she said. It’s difficult to walk from her home to the subway station because of holes and cracks in the sidewalks.

According to Statistics Canada, the disabled community comprises at least four per cent of the population, and this number is even higher in Toronto.

Candidate Rob Ford says Toronto citizens have to take action to improve living conditions for all.

“ We have to be proactive,” he said. “If you see a crack in the road, call it in don’t wait for someone to trip.”

Ford also noted that city councillors get free TTC passes , which costs the city thousands of dollars.

“Twenty-one thousand people ride on the TTC for free. Last time I checked , I don’t think its for people with disabilities,” Ford said. “ If there’s anyone that should be riding the TTC for free its seniors and people with disabilities.”

Rocco Rossi also mentioned that there should be a cheaper TTC fare for those who have disabilities.

“Social assistance should be given to people who are on ODSP( Ontario Disability Support Program),” Rossi said.