This blog deals with alerts on Skytrain (Vancouver’s Rapid Transit System) regarding elevators being out of service.
The standard policy I see so far is a small sandwich board somewhere in the station, I have seen it by an elevator and, last week, by the entrance to the station. This sandwich is roughly three feet high, white, and details are hard to see because the print is small, and often behind plastic. For some wheelchair or walker users who depend on elevators, it can be read smoothly. But for those who are blind and low vision, it is nearly impossible to read. The first time I saw one of these boards, I had to bend over to read, very small print.
This is what happened last Wednesday at Broadway/Commercial Station. This is one of Vancouver’s busiest stations due to the fact that it serves two lines.
On this day, I was using my walker and heading west on Broadway from the station. Broadway station is a central platform station that is north to south in direction. There is a skywalk that connects Broadway station to Commercial station. I know there is an elevator on the north end, across the skywalk, making it easier to catch a bus heading west. Imagine my frustration when I walked across that skywalk, expecting to get the elevator, only to find it out of service! There was no warning, and, even if there was, I would not have seen it because the busyness of the station and the smallness of the sandwich board.
Well, I fumed as I walked back across the skywalk, and through the station to the south elevator, crossed the street and caught the bus. This took me about 15 minutes from exiting the Skytrain to boarding the bus. While other people zipped up and down the stairs or escalators, I wasted considerable time!
But, I thought: Hey, at least I know that the South elevator will be working when I get back! Not so!
When I arrived back at Broadway, I entered the station on the south side, walked to the elevator, and was enraged to see it be Out of Service! What the? I did spy a sandwich board on one side of the station entrance, but it looked out of place, like a discarded candy wrapper. It was not eye catching, and it was also inaccessible to those with low vision!
I was fuming double time as I went back to the north side of the street, used the north elevator, and crossed the skywalk for the third time! It took me 20 minutes to make that afternoon journey, while other people zipped up and down the stairs or escalators.
Fair? Accessible? A loud NO to both! Yes, I know elevators need maintaining, but better, more visible, with larger print and, well, why not, braille, details are needed! Oh, and at a better height. The sandwich board is out of date, inaccessible, easily overlooked. I may be wrong, by most people ignore them because the look like they should be in second rate cafeterias displaying the daily specials than alerting people of elevator maintenance.
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Thank you for listening!