What does the TTC Pass mean to our clients?


The program that provides free TTC transit passes to people with vision loss in Toronto is being defended by CNIB against possible cuts. We asked participants how they feel about the program. Here is what they said.

George Ziten

I am writing to you to express that with my limited vision I would not leave my house.

With the TTC pass I am not afraid to get out and go to CNIB meetings and various doctor appointments. I am retired and on a fixed income any additional expense would be bad.

It is very important to me to be active and with the TTC pass I am active and I good health.

Please do not change anything with the TTC pass arrangement with the CNIB.

Debra L.

Dear Kat:

Since spending seems to have increased at City Hall, this news comes as no surprise to me. However, perhaps a means test could be done, so that blind Torontonians who are gainfully employed could pay the regular fair. Those clients on ODSP would find it most difficult to pay regular transit fees, and we would also find it cumbersome to use the Presto card. Another suggestion would be to charge a fee towards transit to obtain the metro pass, perhaps $50, for example. Although it could pose a challenge for some of us, it is doable and definitely worth it! However, with all due respect, this would not make a dent in the shortfall.
Furthermore, I don't think 3,000 passes makes a significant difference in the shortfall either. However, I understand that many others are receiving this benefit, including City Hall staff postal workers, policemen, and their own transit employees. These people can obtain a driver's license, unlike those of us who are totally blind or have low vision. We have no choice but to ride our wonderful transit system which has been most beneficial to date. The drivers are courteous, and the GPS calling out the stops has been great! I am certain that if those passes given to the professions mentioned above were added up, it would be much more than the metro passes given to blind Torontonians.

It is shameful that City Hall is stooping so low as to affect one of the most disenfranchised faction of Toronto citizens when so much money is wasted. In fact, it is dangerous to walk the streets due to excessive traffic and far too many innocent pedestrians are killed. Please don't deprive us of our socialization, increased opportunities to participate in society, and our transportation needed to do so.



Rylan Vroom

Hi Kat, I’ve written multiple little testimonials for you. They all pertain to me but I figured you’d appreciate being able to use them in little segments depending upon your needs during the meeting.

As a white cane using blind person, my walking speed is reduced compared to that of a sighted person, especially on the crowded streets of downtown, where I have to slow down even further to avoid texters and others just not paying the same level of attention to their surroundings. Without the CNIB TTC pass, I would be unable to use transit to bypass certain trouble intersections or long straights that would take 15 minutes or more to walk.

Not only that, but what about snow in the winter? Walking long distances on uncleared sidewalks and streets poses a significant safety risk to someone who is blind. My nearest grocery store is approximately 1.5k away from my home. According to my GPS, I walk 1k every 20 minutes in optimal walking conditions. (Remember that most intersections are not accessible so I have to wait for the start of a new traffic cycle to ensure I cross safely, I can’t cross at the tail end of a light like the sighted do.). Thus, getting to the store will take a half hour, then I have to get the groceries and walk back with heavy bags on my arms, which I’m guessing will take 40 – 45 minutes for the return trip which in summer will start ruining any refrigerated food I was carrying.

Without the CNIB TTC pass I would have to cut out all recreation I currently take part in. Just one trip to Goal ball (a city of Toronto run program) would cost $6.50 per week. Add in blind tennis and blind hockey in the winter and we triple that number. Never mind the loss of the volunteer work I also do with a homeless mission.

With the loss of the CNIB TTC Pass I have calculated that my most cost effective option is $125 a month which will get me to and from work. I will have to walk everywhere else and cut out anything not in walking distance which is everything in a city the size of Toronto. This is necessary because though I have a job, I know I am paid less than my colleagues while I do the same work they do. I think this has partly to do with the stigma and stereotypes I must fight every day as a blind person, and partly to do with the cost of accommodations at work so I can do my job. (screen readers and braille technology aren’t cheep, nor do they grow on trees). Check out this CBC story about StatsCan’s latest numbers on disability, employment and the wage gaps between those who are disabled and those who aren’t. http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/less-than-half-of-canadian-adults-with-disabilities-have-jobs-statscan-1.2858954.

Without the CNIB TTC pass, staying fit would no longer be an option for me. My gym is 1.5k away from my house, but it’s on the wrong side of little India. Without the option of using a streetcar to bypass little India, my walks to and from the gym would take over a half hour. I would have to walk at glacial speeds for safety reasons. First, little India loves to put out illegal sidewalk obstructions like sandwich boards, planters and food stands. I’ve reported them to the city many times and experienced no change. Second, the citizens of little India tend to let their little kids run with seemingly very little supervision. I can’t count the number of times I’ve almost stepped on a little one simply because they got inside my cane sweep and they’re so tiny I don’t hear them over the speakers blasting Indian music outside of stores and eating establishments.

Maria Corindia

Dear Kate Clarke,

I read the news from an email that was sent to me from CCB.  I have very little vision am a senior and under the poverty line.  

I depend on the TTC free card to get around, do shopping, get to the Doctors, hospitals and blood work.  

If i were not to have the TTC free card I wouldn't be able to get out, visit family and others things that need the TTC card.

I am disgusted to think that our representatives can put cuts to the TTC card, the only thing of survival for people with vision problem.  with little money and vision, the representatives mite as well locks us in a room.  because that is what they will be doing to us.

I would like to see them, walk in our shoes!!

Kat please represent me on November 21, 2016.

Your frustrated CNIB client.

Sincerely yours,

Maria Corindia

Charles Pothier

I do not believe that can cancel the annual TTC passes. The deal was an agreement between Colonel Baker, founder of CNIB, with the Federal Secretary of State and the Canadian Passenger Association. TTC was not a signatory. Air travel was not available at that time, consequently, airlines are not compelled to offer ths concession. I suggest that TTC look at their salary structure to trim the budget.

Charles Pothier

For more information, please contact:
Kat Clarke
Specialist, Advocacy & Community Impact
416-486-2500 ext. 7651

For media enquiries, please contact:
Shannon Simpson
Manager, Communications
519-685-8420 ext. 5147

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