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