What is the Transportation Standard?
By Greg Thomson | Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, December 17, 2018
The Transportation Standard of the AODA requires transportation service providers to make the features and equipment on routes and vehicles accessible to passengers with disabilities.
The Transportation Standard requires transportation companies to inform the public about accessible equipment and features on their vehicles, routes and services. They must provide this information in accessible formats upon request. Furthermore, when accessible equipment is not working, companies must find other ways to accommodate passengers. They must also ensure that the equipment is fixed as soon as possible. Moreover, companies must train workers and volunteers to:
- Use accessible equipment and features safely
- Find solutions if accessible features stop working or if routes contain barriers, such as construction
- Ensure passenger safety during emergencies
Emergency response plans must be accessible to the public.
Furthermore, conventional and specialized transportation companies should transport support persons free of charge.
Conventional transportation includes many types of transportation, such as:
Conventional transportation service providers shall:
- Deploy lifting devices, ramps, or portable bridge plates upon request
- Ensure that passengers have time to board, be secured, and deboard
- Store mobility aids
- Transport passengers with medical aids
If a transit stop is not accessible, passengers must be able to board or deboard at the nearest safe accessible location along the vehicle’s route. Drivers must report inaccessible stops and temporary barriers.
Transportation companies must provide marked priority seats for passengers with disabilities, located near vehicle entrances. Signs should direct non-disabled passengers to vacate the seats if passengers with disabilities need them.
Companies must provide visual and verbal announcements of routes and stops on their vehicles.
Additionally, companies must fulfill AODA technical requirements for special features, such as:
- Lifting devices
- Grab bars and handrails
- Floor surfaces
- Stop-requests and emergency response controls
If a company knows in advance that its services on a route will be disrupted, the company must find an accessible way to transport passengers with disabilities. They must also inform passengers of these changes in accessible formats.
Mobility aids should be stored in passenger compartments where their owners can reach them, whenever possible. Otherwise, they must be placed in storage compartments and returned to their owners immediately. Companies cannot charge for storing mobility aids.
Finally, if people cannot use certain payment options because of their disabilities, others should be available.
Specialized transportation service companies must create an eligibility application process including an independent appeal process. Information about these processes must be made available in accessible formats upon request.
Companies operating both conventional and specialized transportation must:
- Charge fares less or equal to conventional transportation rates
- Provide the same fare structure and payment options for both services, and additional payment options if needed
- Provide the same hours and days of operation for both services
- If conventional and specialized transportation are offered by different companies in the same location, the specialized transportation company may charge no more than the highest cost of conventional transportation.
Specialized transportation companies requiring advanced booking must allow passengers to book on the day of travel whenever possible, or up to three hours before the end of the day before the day of travel. Passengers must be able to book trips in accessible ways. Companions may travel with passengers if there is space. Dependent children may also travel with a parent who uses the service.
If there are service delays half an hour or more after a scheduled pick-up time, companies must inform passengers about the length of the delays.
Taxi owners and drivers cannot charge a passenger with a disability a higher price than they would charge a non-disabled passenger for the same trip. Likewise, they also cannot charge extra fees for storing mobility aids. Drivers must allow passengers who are blind to ride in taxis with their guide dogs. Taxi owners and drivers must place identification and registration for their taxis on the cars’ rear bumpers. They must also make this information available in accessible formats upon request.
Public school boards must provide integrated accessible school transportation. When that is not possible, or not the best option for a student, school boards must provide appropriate alternative accessible transportation.
School boards, along with parents or guardians, shall develop individual school transportation plans for each student with a disability. Plans should include various types of arrangements. For instance, boarding, securement, and deboarding. Plans must also describe the roles of the transportation provider, the parents or guardians, the student, the driver, and any school staff involved.
Why do we need the Transportation Standard?
Transportation is a vital part of living. We travel to work, on social outings, and to shop for our basic needs. Finally, the Transportation Standard ensures that every person can live fully by moving freely.
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Link to Original Article: https://aoda.ca/what-is-the-transportation-standard/