Saturday, March 27, 2010

TTC's "helpful" instructions to disabled for a broken elevator.

To anyone not familiar with the Toronto subway line, this is probably going to make no sense. But if you are... well... this is going to sound just completely bonkers.

So last night, I was on my way home, and just missed my connection to my bus @ St. George station. I was bored and looking around, checking up on social networks on my phone, and two things came together at once:

First, a friend on Facebook with MS was lamenting the not-uncommon case of "accessible" entrances often being extremely out of the way of the main entrance/exits to buildings.

And with that fresh in mind, I happened to glance upon a sign on the bus platform, indicating to those unable to use the stairs, what their alternatives might be should the elevator be broken. Picture is included at the end of the post.

And the more I read it, the more crazy it begins to sound... so I start thinking of the worst case, but possibly very real scenario, of someone who might:

- live in my general neighbourhood at Lansdowne and Dupont
- have a disability where using stairs was simply not an option, but otherwise mobile
- wants to go to Downsview station to do whatever might take them out there.

What would happen if they came upon the broken elevator, the contingency for which this sign is specifically designed to help?

Not knowing in advance of a situation here, the trip planning would likely be to take the 26 Dupont east to St. George, elevator down to the University line, and north. Easy!

So they set upon their way, get to the bus platform at St. George, and find the elevator to be broken, and read the sign, and come to realize their next steps are to:

1) Get back on the bus you just got off (hope it hasn't left yet...) and go back the way you came.

2) Go nearly 1/3 of the way back the way you came to Bathurst and Dupont St.

3) Wait for the southbound Bathurst bus, and take it to the Bathurst subway station on the Bloor line.

4) Take the subway east, past your intended transfer point (because the elevator to transfer subway lines is the same, broken one, causing this detour), to Yonge/Bloor station.

5) Take the elevator there (what are the chances both could be broken?) to the  Yonge line and go south.

6) Loop all the way past the 12 stops of the down-town loop then wave at the now very familiar St. George station, which you are now passing through for the third time, and continue to your destination.

So two extra buses, 14 extra subway stops, and probably close to 2 extra hours later, you have now reached your destination, thanks to the incredibly helpful instructions provided by this sign.

Now, are you ready to make the return trip home after?

So here it is... proof I am not making this up... the helpful sign by the elevator at the bus platform at St. George station (my apologies for the blurry picture, took it on a phone camera in the dark...):

So, I mean, most times this elevator is going to work, and this insanity will never need to be heeded, but seriously... this is the best option we can present people?

I sure hope not.


  1. yeah the elevator detours can let you really get to know Toronto, but the funniest part of the subway system to me is the fact that south of Bloor you can take wheelchair accessible buses to the stations without elevators but the Dundas West, Bathurst and Spadina are on streetcar lines.

  2. Interesting, but not really surprising at all. This is, as far as I'm concerned, pretty typical of TTC forethought and consideration towards it's patrons. Unrelated, but along the lines of inconsiderate, my bus home from work stopped for 6 minutes at a non-TTC stop along Eglington so that the driver could pick up a can of Coke for himself while everyone on the bus sat there waiting.