Toronto Transit  Commission Wheel-Trans engages new inclusive eligibility criteria & new application process

Wheel-Trans, the public, door-to-door, specialized transit service for persons with disabilities in the City Toronto, has adopted a 10 Year Strategy  to enhance accessibility for all Torontonians and to comply with requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.  Over 45,000 registered customers currently use the service which presently provides services for person with mobility disabilities, providing transportation access to accessible buses, contracted accessible taxi minivans and sedan taxis.

New Eligibility Criteria
In accordance with the AODA, new eligibility criteria were launched on January 1, 2017 enabling extension of service to a broader range of persons with disabilities that prevent them from using conventional transit services.  This may include persons with sensory, cognitive, mental health or physical disabilities.  The eligibility criteria also define new categories of eligibility:
  • Unconditional eligibility – for persons with a disability that prevents use of conventional transportation services
  • Temporary eligibility -  for persons with a temporary disability
  • Conditional eligibility – for persons with a disability where environmental or physical barriers may limit their ability to consistently use conventional services
New Application Process

After an extensive consultation, there is a new application now available.  This two-part application is for new applicants/representatives and their health care providers. Occupational therapists are amongst those professionals who may authorize the application.  The TTC is committed to providing a fair and objective eligibility process for all applicants. To ensure a match of transit services to abilities, persons may be requested to attend a functional assessment, in addition to submitting an application, to assess abilities in performing activities related to travelling on transit. A functional assessment is a specific standardized evaluation that is administered by a registered occupational therapist. The functional assessment could be related to a physical, cognitive, sensory or mental health disability or a combination of disabilities. The results of the functional assessment will be sent to TTC staff and will determine whether you are eligible for service and the category of eligibility, i.e. conditional, unconditional or temporary.

Service for current TTC Wheel-Trans customers is not affected, however they will be asked to re-register over the next three years to assess them on their service requirements.

Family Services Pilot

TTC will also be launching a Family of Services Pilot in Q2 2017 with volunteer customers using a pre-selected set of accessible services (specific routes, stops and stations).  This will allow us to fine tune the service on a manageable scale before full implementation across the system.
These changes are just the beginning of the many improvements coming to TTC Wheel-Trans as part of the organization’s 10-Year Strategy. 

Implications for Occupational Therapists

OTs working with clients in the TTC Wheel-Trans jurisdiction will wish to keep abreast of changes to the city’s transportation system as they may affect their clients’ ability to access and utilize community based public transportation.

Registered occupational therapists have been identified as health professionals who may authorize and endorse an application as a person’s health professional.  To this end, OTs should be familiar with the Wheel-Trans Eligibility Application  Form.

In addition, the profession will also be involved with those applicants for whom it is determined that a functional assessment is required to ascertain eligibility status. Occupational therapists will be the professionals who perform these functional assessments.  We await more information on this aspect of the application assessment process. TTC is planning an information session for stakeholders in early April.  An invitation with details will be posted closer to the date.