Rules for municipalities

There are accessibility requirements for municipalities that:

  • offer conventional transportation services such as buses and other public transit provided by local transit organizations (e.g., Toronto Transit Commission, London Transit Commission, North Bay Transit)
  • license taxis (including both accessible and regular taxis)

Additional requirements for public transit organizations

There are further requirements for public transit organizations. The requirements impact both conventional and specialized public transit organizations. Consult the Guide to Ontario’s accessibility regulations.

For conventional transportation services

When providing transportation services, municipalities need to:

Step 1: Plan to provide accessible bus stops and shelters in your community. This applies both to building new ones and to renovating or replacing existing ones.

Step 2: Consult on the need in your community for accessible bus stops and shelters. You must consult both:

If your municipality contracts out the responsibility for bus stops and shelters to a third party, you must include this organization in your planning and consulting process. Third parties may include local transit organizations and private companies. In some cases, several organizations may be involved.

Step 3: Set out the steps you will take to build accessible bus stops and shelters in your municipality’s accessibility plan.

For accessible taxis

An accessible taxi is a vehicle which can safely and comfortably transport a passenger with a disability who needs to remain seated in his or her mobility aid during the trip.

The accessibility laws apply to accessible taxis you hire in the same way any other taxi is ordered. For example, people can order one by phone or flag one on the street as it drives by. The laws do not apply to accessible taxicabs that are part of a specialized transportation service and are not available to the general public on demand.

When providing accessible taxi service, municipalities need to:

Step 1: Consult on the number of accessible taxis needed in your community. You must consult both:

Step 2: Report your plans and the progress you are making toward meeting your community’s needs for accessible taxis in your municipality’s accessibility plan. Include the steps that you will take in the future as well as today.

For regular taxis

If your municipality licenses taxis, you must ensure that the owners and operators:

  1. charge the same rate to persons with and without disabilities (no higher fares or additional fees allowed, including fees to store mobility aids or assistive devices)
  2. place vehicle registration and identification information on the rear bumper of the taxi
  3. provide vehicle registration and identification information in an accessible format to persons with disabilities who are passengers

For example:

  • Jasmine uses a manual wheelchair. When a taxi driver picks her up, he or she cannot charge a fee for folding it up and placing it into the trunk.
  • The Town of ABC requires taxis to provide their vehicle registration and identification information in large print. The card is placed in the plastic sleeve located on the back of the seat that holds the taxi’s licensing information.

Rules for hospitals, colleges, universities

There are requirements for hospitals, universities and colleges that provide transportation services. Transportation services offered by campus security do not have to meet accessibility requirements.

By law, you must make these services accessible to people with disabilities by either:

  • using accessible vehicles for your main transit routes, or
  • providing an equivalent service on request (this service must offer similar fares, schedules and routes)

You do not have to change your vehicles to make them accessible.

Examples:

  • A college shuttle bus transfers students from one campus to another or from the local train stop to the campus. This shuttle bus is equipped with two spaces for people with disabilities who use mobility aids. The service is available at all campus stop locations.
  • A hospital shuttle bus drives people between two city hospitals. This shuttle bus cannot be made accessible for people with disabilities. As a result, the hospital sets up a contract with a taxi company to provide an accessible taxi on request.

Rules for school boards

School boards that provide transportation services for students must provide integrated accessible school transportation services when possible. Integrated transportation means that all students, including students with disabilities, travel on the same vehicles.

School boards must provide an appropriate alternative in cases where they determine that integrated transportation:

  • is not possible, or
  • is not the best option for a student because of the nature of their disability or safety concerns

What you need to do

Step 1: consult with the parents or guardians of students with disabilities to identify those who have disabilities:

  • before the school year begins, or
  • during the school year if the needs of the student changes

Step 2: develop Individual Transportation Plans for students with disabilities who use either:

  • a regular school bus
  • an alternative accessible transportation vehicle

This includes students with disabilities who use the regular school buses but do not require other formal disability accommodations.

How to develop an Individual Transportation Plan

This plan is separate from a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). It must explain in detail what assistance the student requires, including when they:

  • board the vehicle
  • take their seat
  • leave the vehicle

Roles and responsibilities

A school board must consult with the parents or guardians of students with disabilities when developing individual school transportation plans. This is to

  • the transportation provider (usually school bus companies that have contracts with the school board)
  • parents or guardians of the student with the disability
  • students with a disability
  • driver(s) of the vehicles used to transport the student
  • other appropriate school staff

Examples

  • Aruna requires door-to-door service at the start and end of each school day. After consulting her parents, the school board arranges for a private taxi service for Aruna.
  • Ross needs a lifting device for his wheelchair. After consulting his parents, the school board arranges for an accessible taxi for Ross.
  • Paul does not need help climbing the steps when he boards the school bus, but does need help going down them when he leaves it. After consulting his parents, the school board arranges for a bus monitor to assist Paul when he arrives at the school each day.

Additional accessibility laws

Your organization may have to meet additional accessibility requirements. Keep track of the past and future deadlines to comply with accessibility laws, and find out when you have to file accessibility compliance reports.

Updated: July 26, 2021
Published: September 14, 2015