CNIB applauds Halifax Transit for enhancing accessibility of transit system

9/21/2015

​Using public transit can be a monumental task when you have vision loss or are blind.

Imagine arriving at a busy bus terminal with multiple bays. How would you know where to stand to catch your bus? What if you had to cross multiple lanes of idling and moving buses to catch the right one?

Now imagine you’re on the bus. How will you know when you’ve reached your destination if you cannot see out the window?

Or worse. Imagine disembarking in the wrong location. How would you get back to where you need to be when you cannot see where you are?

I’m pleased to share with you that Halifax Transit has made tremendous improvements over the last few years to address these issues.

CNIB consulted with Halifax Transit on a number of key accessibility features that were introduced during the construction of the Dartmouth Bridge Terminal and the new Lacewood Terminal.

New Tactile Walking Surface Indicators – which have a texture that can be felt underfoot and detected by a long cane – guide passengers with vision loss to each bus bay platform. Designated bus bays make it easier for individuals to locate where to board their bus.

One-lane bus traffic ensures passengers no longer have to cross multiple bus lanes to board and disembark their bus. Multi-lane bus traffic posed a significant safety risk to passengers with vision loss as they would often have to cross in front of idling and moving buses.

The new large-print font and colour-contrasted bus signage as well as the tactile and braille bay numbers at the new terminals enable passengers who are partially sighted or blind to read bus information more easily.

Last year Halifax Transit partnered with CNIB on a campaign called Service Animals Belong, which helped raise awareness that guide dogs are allowed anywhere their handlers go – including restaurants, shopping malls, office buildings, taxis and buses.

But Halifax Transit’s efforts to make our community more accessible and inclusive don’t stop there.

From 2016 to 2018, Halifax Transit will begin introducing announced stops in its fleet that will enable passengers with vision loss to know when they’ve reached their destination – without having to rely on others to tell them.

CNIB applauds Halifax Transit for making tremendous improvements to our transit system to make it more accessible to passengers who are blind or partially sighted.

And we commend Halifax Transit for their efforts to create a more inclusive, barrier-free society for individuals living with vision loss in our community.

Pamela Gow-Boyd is CNIB’s Executive Director and Regional Vice-President for the Atlantic Region.

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