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TTC Introduces Blue Priority Seating

Eye-catching seats are part of a two-year project that aims to improve transit accessibility.

Photo courtesy of the TTC.

It’s more than a new look—bright blue velvet is the brand new symbol for priority seating on TTC vehicles. Installing new, loudly coloured chairs is part of an effort by the TTC to improve accessibility by strengthening and raising awareness of its priority seating policy.

Previously, a distinction was made between “courtesy seating,” intended for pregnant women and the elderly, and “priority seating,” set aside for those considered legally disabled. Those groups will now all be considered part of the “priority” category.

The blue seats are slated to pop up on TTC vehicles over the next two years, and with them will come stricter regulations. If a bus or streetcar isn’t full, customers who don’t qualify for priority seating are free to occupy the blue chairs, but they are now required to give up their spots if seats are needed for pregnant, elderly, or disabled patrons. While transit operators won’t actively enforce the new rule, they may ask customers to move—and riders who fail to comply with such a request could be looking at a fine of $235. TTC spokesperson Brad Ross says, “Now the difference is, it’s not just a nice thing to do—it’s a requirement.”

The TTC will be installing a series of informational advertisements to explain how the new system works.

“It’s as much about doing the right thing as anything else,” says Ross.


  • OgtheDim

    So, if I’m on a bus and the young things don’t move when the old lady comes on the front, we all go looking for a transit cop?

    • iamrobfordsaneurysm

      I’d be happier if they’d enforce a bundle buggy/stroller/suitcase-free zone at the front of the bus, so the elderly, disabled and pregnant can get on in the first place.

      • UnknownTransit

        Yes, we all agree but it’s hard to actually get a stroller out the rear doors on busy buses. The new articulate buses are nicer. They have wider rear doors and aisle but the older buses are kinda cramped. For people’s sake of conveniences, they won’t move those strollers back cause they will have to fight their way to the front to get off.
        I personally think they should ban strollers during peak hours on busy routes. They should also consider flip chairs like the new subway and streetcars.

    • Sarah

      No, you can remind her of the rules. Regulations work because it makes bad behaviour socially unacceptable.

  • Notcleverguy

    It’s a good idea, and is indeed the right thing to do, unfortunately those who are rude now, will continue to be rude.

    • andrewtraviss

      If they want to pay $235 for the privilege of being rude…more power to them, I guess?

      • Notcleverguy

        In 44 years of riding the TTC, I have seen a TTC special constable twice.The rule is great in spirit, but they have far from the manpower to enforce it. If they did, the five guys who openly smoke on my in-station bus platform everyday would have been busted by now, but it’s been 10 years and nothing.

        • andrewtraviss

          Now that it’s actually a rule instead of a courtesy, the driver themselves can actually turn around and say “hey, move”. Doesn’t take a constable to deliver the message.

          • Notcleverguy

            ” While transit operators won’t actively enforce the new rule, they may ask customers to move”

            It’s right in the text of the article, like I said originally, it’s a good idea, but those who ignore it now, will continue to do so.

          • OgtheDim

            Maybe they can get a canned message like the “please stand behind the white line” thing, where they push a button that says:

            “Please move your lazy butt out of there cause somebody pregnant, elderly or disabled deserves that seat – don’t make me call your Mom.”

          • andrewtraviss

            What we really need are seats that the driver can physically eject people from by pushing a button.

          • TheSotSays

            Oooooooooo Ogderp, just push the button, very good idea.
            You’re soooooooo clever!

  • wklis

    What about junior-senior and senior-senior? At what age should a senior-senior get to use the seating?

    • UnknownTransit

      We humans should have the intellectual knowledge to tell if someone needs those seats. I mean, if someone can get on the bus without the driver lowering the bus, they don’t need the seat.

  • Alison

    Now to get people to stop blocking the subway car doorways and rushing in before everyone is out.

  • Sarah

    This should have always been a requirement. Otherwise what is the point?

  • OgtheDim

    The % of young things on transit who are able bodied is high enough that the driver should be able to make that call easily enough. If the person isn’t able bodied, they’ll speak up for themselves.(Who ever said dealing with dealing with diversity is easy and that rules will be simple is trying to sell us something)

  • Aaron Wytze

    This has been around for many years in Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, and now Beijing and Shanghai. In Taipei where I live, usually there’s no need for a special constable, the kind reminders to keep the seats open from others and occasional evil glances to the able bodied who take up these seats is enough to keep these seats unoccupied.

  • ginnee

    Hah! I wish they’d regulate off-duty transit operators standing at the front talking to the driver, blocking people getting on and off. They’re the worst.

  • rich1299

    I can see issues around determining if someone is pregnant or just
    large especially in winter when wearing heavy jackets. If you’ve ever
    made the mistake of assuming someone was pregnant but they weren’t
    you’ll never ever make that mistake again. Some women find it very offensive even if you just ask if they’re pregnant.

    It’d be helpful if
    there were some way teenagers, and most everyone else, could be shown
    what it feels like to be old or to have various health issues like
    arthritis, muscle weakness, and so on. It seems many able bodied people,
    and teenagers especially, think everyone else feels like they do. Its
    not easy to know what it feels like to stand on a crowded bus for
    someone whose body is failing them until you start getting close to that

  • Elto Desukane

    Priority Seating, only for VIPs and CEOs.