Meeting will air riders’ wish list
Commuters want advance warning of delays as well as easy access to transit information, especially via computer or hand-held devices.
TTC and GO Transit riders would also love to get the latest updates from monitors at bus stops or train stations. And how about ordering transit passes over the internet, using your credit card?
We have to be patient, but there’s hope.
The TTC is struggling to keep up with the rocketing pace of communications technology, so transit riders and internet experts are coming to the rescue.
Recently several local websites called for public input about the much-criticized but heavily-used TTC website, and the passionate response has surprised many. However, by the time people started sending in their suggestions earlier this month, the contract to redesign the site www.ttc.cahad already closed.
Such was the outpouring of free advice and criticism — which was welcomed and encouraged by new TTC chair Adam Giambrone —- that transit staff are taking another look at the plan.
It is now expected that the contract will be formally cancelled at tomorrow’s transit commission meeting.
The technology wish list of riders is likely to feature prominently during this busy session, to be held in Toronto city hall council chambers. Many transit users want a “point-to-point” trip planner, similar to the service available for several U.S. cities via “Google Transit.”
The TTC will move ahead with this and other technology initiatives, according to Giambrone, but separately from the plan to redesign the website.
Toronto web expert Joe Clark has been critical of the process to improve www.ttc.ca, suggesting the TTC needs to pay closer attention not only to web-savvy transit fans, but all internet users including those with visual impairment.
If the TTC does not make sure the site is accessible, he warns, “it would a magnet for a human rights complaint or a lawsuit.” He says the new site needs to “meet web standards, meet accessibility guidelines” and be tested extensively. He says it must work properly on most computers — not just the ones in the TTC’s head office.
Clark, who plans to give a design critique of subway station signage at this week’s TTC meeting, is just one of many transit observers looking for a practical and appropriate way to offer their expertise to the transit commission. This weekend, some of the same transit fans who rallied around the website issue are planning a “TTCamp” at the Gladstone Hotel.