Edmonton transit needs improvement: says report

Edmonton transit needs improvement: says report

Edmonton states it’s working to develop enhancements and an accessible transit service.

Edmonton Bus

A new report says Edmonton needs to improve accessibility on its transit system.

A new report says Edmonton should improve accessibility on the city’s transit system.

The report is the result of a collaboration between disability rights advocates Radical Inclusion, John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights and the University of Alberta.

Between March and July 2022, researchers created focus groups to understand the obstacles people with disabilities and mobility issues face when using public transit.

Some key issues the report notes include steep ramps, lack of sensitivity, disregard for accommodations for people with disabilities and a lack of bus shelters.

The report also publicizes some recommendations for Edmonton to improve conditions such as inputting hearing loops in stations, fixing ramps and servicing elevators.

Brad Bartko, a disability consultant who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, says when he plans his trip, there are often challenges once he reaches his method of transportation.

“I was going to take the LRT so I looked online to make sure the elevator was working at the station,” Bartko said. “Once I got there I saw there was no elevator, it was undergoing construction. Somebody forgot or did not update the status of the elevator on the website.”

Bartko said when he encounters barriers the rest of his day takes a turn for the worse. He says finding an alternative mode of transportation is becoming increasingly difficult.

“I have had Ubers cancel on me upon arrival even though I note that I am in a wheelchair,” he said. “There have been times when I have had four Ubers in a row show up and cancel because they can’t accommodate my wheelchair.”

In an email, Paul Schmold, with the city operations accessibility action committee for Edmonton Transit Service, states the city is developing an accessible transit service and currently implementing enhancements.

Some initiatives include audits on public transit infrastructure, staff accessibility training, and enhancing real-time information and online trip booking features.

Joshua Evans, one of the researchers on the report, said there needs to be more consultation with people with disabilities to better understand their specific needs and implement changes they suggest.

“These recommendations, I think, will be forthcoming, and the plan is to work as a group to engage with the City of Edmonton with transit directly as well to try and make some of these changes,” Evans said.

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