Metrolinx working to make customer journeys more accessible

Accessibility public meetings showcase improvements to GO, UP and PRESTO and give opportunity to share feedback

When Debbie Gillespie goes online to plan her GO Transit journey, she expects the website to be intuitive and easy to navigate. As someone who uses software to help read her computer screen, it can be a challenge.

Through her work at the CNIB though, she knows firsthand how the transit agency is making strides for continual accessibility improvements.

Gillespie has participated in user testing for Metrolinx applications since 2012, starting with the GO touch screen ticket vending machines. This past year, she’s helped test updates to the Triplinx website and the soon-to-be launched PRESTO mobile app.

Both of these applications were topics of discussion at public meetings held last year. Metrolinx was able to get feedback on the functionality of services and how upcoming projects were being designed to keep accessibility top of mind.

“There’s a big difference between usability and accessibility,” Gillespie said. “Metrolinx is working hard to make their applications and the user experience for the end user much more efficient and that’s why they have an accessibility committee.”

The latest updates to Triplinx are aimed at going above and beyond basic accessibility requirements, striving to improve usability for all users. Working closely with CNIB staff members who are blind, several improvements were made to functionality of the site when using screen reader software. That includes everything from the search function to the feedback form to the trip planner.

“You need to make sure the icons on the apps are labelled clearly for those with visual disabilities who aren’t able to see the image or text on the screen,” said Gillespie. “Metrolinx took our feedback and made the changes, and the process continues.”

With the PRESTO mobile app set to launch by the end of 2018, extensive user testing has been undertaken with the aim of ensuring excellent usability and accessibility from the start.

Key features of the app include being able to manage multiple PRESTO cards and load funds through your phone. As a result of testing by end users, several improvements have been made to the screen reader.

“We continue to remove barriers and ensure we’re preventing new barriers as we expand our service and develop new services,” said Jeff Short, a senior advisor for universal design at Metrolinx. “With the increased focus on universal design as an organization, it’s really going to help ensure we’re meeting the broadest possible range of customer needs.”

Metrolinx relies on customer feedback through regular channels and yearly accessibility public meetings to better understand what the priorities are for users of transit agency’s services.

Discussions include a range of topics in addition to web updates, covering everything from infrastructure improvements like ramps and tactile strips to wayfinding and more consistent communication for customers.

The latest round of meetings begin November 7 in Whitby with additional meetings throughout November spread across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

We ask that you please confirm your attendance with an RSVP to accessibility@metrolinx.com or call our contact centre at 1-888-438-6646, or 1-800-387-3652 (for TTY teletypewriters only).

  1. East – Whitby: Wednesday, November 7, 6:30-8:30pm
    Abilities Centre, Theatre/Multi-Purpose Room (second floor)
    55 Gordon Street
    Whitby, Ontario, L1N 0J2
    In partnership with Durham Region Transit
  2. Central – Toronto: Wednesday, November 14, 6:30-8:30pm
    Metro Hall, Rooms 308 & 309 (third floor)
    55 John Street
    Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3C6
  3. Teleconference: Wednesday, November 21, 5-6:30pm
    RSVP required; please submit questions and comments in advance of meeting
    Teleconference details will be provided to registrants
  4. West – Hamilton: Thursday, November 29, 6-8pm
    Hamilton Public Library Central Branch, Hamilton Room
    55 York Boulevard
    Hamilton, Ontario, L8N 4E4
    In partnership with City of Hamilton/HSR