Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's complaints day!!! (TTC elevators)

From an incident coming home on Sunday where the subway elevator was so crowded that I actually couldn't fit on with the carriage:  it was full of people who looked (ok, I hate to jump to conclusions, but here I go) perfectly able-bodied.  I finally stood holding the elevator door and said, "if anybody here does NOT need an elevator, could you please get out???"  A guy quickly left the elevator, and I got on no problem with the carriage (Ted, YM and Naomi took the escalator, of course!).
 
So here's what I told the TTC - not that they will respond... they never reply:
"I'd like to let you know about an ongoing problem with the elevators at Eglinton West subway (mostly the northbound side).  I often travel with small children in a stroller or wagon, and when I do, we use the elevator.  (If I'm by myself, I happily use the escalators)
 
I've noticed that almost every time the subway comes, the elevator is immediately rushed by people who don't seem like they need an elevator.  That makes it very hard for people with a legitimate need to get an elevator - we have to rush or we won't make it, and if we do make it, sometimes it's too crowded for everyone to fit.
 
Obviously, it's not my place to decide who does and does not need an elevator, but many times, it usually seems like most of the people packed in are fairly young and seem to walk without difficulty - even sometimes sprinting to catch the elevator.
 
A friend pointed out two possible explanations:  on the lower level, the elevator is simply closer than the escalator, and also, upstairs, it drops off its passengers closer to the buses.  Taking the escalator involves the inconvenience of walking farther from the subway plus also walking farther to the bus.  To me, however, this doesn't excuse people for taking advantage of the elevator when they could easily take the escalator.
 
I really appreciate the elevators which have made the transit system reasonably accessible (I never took the subway or buses with my first two children).  And, beyond the immediate inconvenience of a crowded elevator, I resent their overuse, which will probably lead to excessive wear, additional expense and outages.
 
Perhaps the problem could be addressed with signage at the elevator door or in the elevators themselves, explaining exactly who the elevator is for (folks with walkers, wheelchairs, strollers, guide dogs, etc...not just people tired out at the end of a long day of shopping). 
 
I don't really know what else to suggest, but thought I'd call this to your attention in the hope that someone there might be some solution in the works, since Eglinton West is probably not the only station where accessibility features are being abused.
 
Feedback on this issue would be most appreciated."

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