Making public infrastructure, such as transit services, accessible is a priority, and the new vivaNext BRT design more than complies with all the requirements. Formally, accessibility requirements are legally concerned with people with disabilities, but that’s actually only one component of how we’ve made the stations accessible.
The vivaNext commitment is to ensure everyone feels equally welcome on the station platforms and is able to board the viva vehicles, whether they have mobility or other physical limitations, or are pushing a baby stroller, or for any other reasons they might feel uncomfortable accessing transit service.
In addition to meeting the accessibility requirements set out in Provincial and local regulatory frameworks, we’ve gone to great lengths to design the platforms so all users have a comfortable and pleasant customer experience, and obtained advice and input from the CNIB and York Region’s Accessibility Committee during the design process.
Here’s what we’ve built into the new stations to ensure all users feel safe and comfortable.
- The ramps to the platform have a shallow incline and handrails on either side, and there are no changes of grade or tripping hazards anywhere on the platform. For people with impaired vision, the platform edge is clearly indicated through the use of domed tactile tiles in a contrasting colour. At the primary bus stop location there are directional tiles which provide directional grooves going toward the bus, which will be helpful for people using canes for guidance.
- People using wheelchairs will have no difficulties getting in and out of the heated enclosures, which provide wheelchair-turning radius inside, and have doors at either end to simplify access. And the enclosures will have barrier free doors which have been designed to meet the highest accessibility standards including their button placement and operations such as door opening speed and how the door responds if it contacts an object.
- We’ve included benches inside the enclosure and outside, complete with grab bars for people who appreciate a little help getting up and down. And for anyone who dreads the chilly experience of sitting on a metal bench in a Canadian winter, we’ve planned for that too – the benches are constructed from durable Brazilian Ipe wood which will make sitting a little warmer in the cold weather.
- The electronic ITS elements are designed to ensure using the equipment is equally successful for all our customers. Our fare equipment is designed to be functional for people at wheelchair height or with other physical limitations, with angled screens, clear, bright graphics and large push-buttons. The VMS will provide clearly visible information on buses, routes and the time. We extensively researched and analyzed our PA system to make sure it’s clearly audible, and provides full coverage along the platform and in the enclosures. The notice holders for system updates are posted at the right height so they’re easily read whether you’re walking or in a wheelchair. And we’ve installed large map cases at each platform, illuminated to make it easy for everyone to navigate their route.
Overall, our objective has been to provide a comfortable, safe and welcoming experience for all our transit riders with no barriers or restrictions.