In July 2007, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ordered the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to call out stops on all its surface routes after hearing a case by David Lepofsky, a blind lawyer who uses transit and argued that not calling the stops violated his rights.
This was the second such case. Two years previously, Lepofsky had successfully argued for the same service on subways, but the TTC had stubbornly refused to extend the stop calls to its surface routes without a second case.
Amazingly, the HSR argued at the time that the OHRT decision was not binding and would not apply to Hamilton transit.
However, the Ontario Human Rights Commission now requires that all public transit providers announce all transit stops. As a result, the HSR will install an automated system to call stops as part of a planned radio system upgrade this year.
With council voting to approve an additional $530,000 to expand the scope of the investment, the new system [PDF link] will cost $3.7 million to install and be paid out of the federal gas tax transfer.
It will include: new radio systems for fleet vehicles to communicate with central dispatching; a second transmitter to maintain radio contact even if one transmitter fails; fully automated audio and visual stop announcements; and automated vehicle location via GPS.
Possible future enhancements could include a web-based API with realtime data on vehicle location so transit users can see exactly where their bus is.
The existing radio system was installed in 1982, has far outlived its design life, and has failed four times since last Christmas.
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