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TTC Bus with the Braze Mobility branding on it

Accessible Transit: the What, Where & How of Wheel-Trans!

09/03/2020

I took my first Wheel-Trans trip this past weekend, and had the chance to discuss the pros and cons of the system with someone who has much more experience with it than I do. I will share some of those thoughts with you, and hope to hear your opinion as well! Have you used Wheel-Trans or a similar service? Leave a comment below about your experience and let’s start a conversation about what is working well and how we can improve accessible transit.

Check out our blog post on accessible subway transit!

What?

Wheel-Trans provides door-to-door transit service in Toronto for people who have a disability that prevents them from using the wider TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) transit system. This includes both temporary and permanent disabilities. If you are unable to use any conventional TTC transit, or are unable to access certain services offered by the TTC you may be eligible for Wheel-Trans services. For example, if you are able to use the subway but the location you need to go is close to an inaccessible subway station, you may be eligible for Wheel-Trans for all or part of that trip. To apply for Wheel-trans, click here.

The service is available 24h a day, 7 days a week and costs the same as a standard TTC fare.

Where?

Anywhere the TTC goes, Wheel-Trans offers a door-to-door service.

How?

In order to book Wheel-Trans service, you can either call (416-393-4222), book online, or use their automated phone booking service (416-397-8000). Bookings can be made 7 days in advance, but must be made at least 4 hours prior to departure (between 5AM and 11PM). The driver will pick you up from your home, and will drop you off at the designated location. The driver will help you to enter and exit the vehicle and safely strap your mobility device in. If you require additional support during your trip, bring a support person free of charge with a Support Person Assistance Card.

What TTC is killin’ it on!

  • Wheel-Trans is growing! The government just announced a $41 million investment in the service. This will provide 120 new accessible busses, create 18 new access hubs, as well as improving the digital presence of Wheel-Trans, and making booking easier!
  • Wheel-Trans provided 4.1 Million rides in 2017
  • You might be traveling on a Wheel-Trans bus, or a contracted accessible taxi- all for the price of a standard TTC fare! Typically the system is fairly direct from origin to destination. 
  • Travel between Toronto and other transit regions is made easier by agreements made with Durham, York and Peel Region

Areas that can be improved:

  • Booking can be difficult over the phone. This is recognized as an issue by TTC, and they have begun to offer alternative services, such as an automated booking line and online booking. Phone services could still be improved though. 
  • The booking system is not good at determining optimized routes for the busses. Often, people traveling from the same location get sent separate busses, which adds unnecessary strain on wheel trans resources.
  • When busses are running late, and or trips have been cancelled, the Wheel-Trans staff often call last minute, causing stress for the person relying on the ride.

Contact Wheel-Trans:

Booking: 416-393-4222
Priority line: 416-393-4111
TTC customer service: 416-393-3030
Eligability: WTEligibility@ttc.ca
Customer Service:  wtcs@ttc.ca 
More information:
http://www.ttc.ca/PDF/Wheel-Trans/Wheel-Trans_services_summary.pdf

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Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures and Techstars unveil cohort for ‘Future of Longevity’ Accelerator

09/02/2020

A group of ten startups will spend the next 13 weeks coming up with innovative caregiving solutions for aging adults.

Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures and Techstars unveiled the first cohort for the new Future of Longevity Accelerator, a program that supports startups building products and services for caregivers.

Companies range from device makers to software platforms. Seven of the 10 CEOs are women, and nearly half of the founders are Black or Latinx. See the full list of companies below, with descriptions from the program.

  • Braze Mobility: Braze Mobility has developed the world’s first blind spot sensor system that can be attached to any motorized wheelchair, transforming it into a “smart” wheelchair. With Braze Mobility, users can more easily spot obstacles, helping to reduce the risks of injury and wheelchair damage and help users maintain their dignity and independence.
  • Candoo Tech: Candoo Tech provides on-demand tech support and training specifically designed to help older adults stay safe, independent, and connected. The company provides one-off sessions, device setup, and ongoing support for members looking to use technology to connect with family members, attend telehealth appointments, and go online.
  • Naborforce: Naborforce connects a network of community members, “Nabors,” to older adults for assistance with basic tasks and social engagement. These “backup” sons and daughters address the caregiver shortage while also helping combat loneliness.
  • UpsideHōm: UpsideHōm offers the only fully managed, shared living option for older adults to address the problems of loneliness and cost of housing.
  • ConnectCareHero: ConnectCareHero is an activities management platform that enables the teams supporting senior citizens to streamline state-required documentation, keep families easily connected, and provide a place where they can plan curated activities.
  • MemoryWell: MemoryWell is a digital platform that uses storytelling to improve the care of older people. Using its network of professional writers, MemoryWell works with families, senior living communities, and home- and community-based providers to replace intake questionnaires with brief, intimate stories designed to build empathy and be poignant keepsakes for families.
  • Rezilient Health: Rezilient’s robotic telehealth platform allows physicians to not only provide standard video visits, but also remotely control the positioning of medical devices that are located with the patient at another physician’s office, pharmacy, or nursing home, among other locations.
  • Rubitection: Rubitection’s skin health and care management tool improves the detection, risk assessment, and care management of dermatological and vascular conditions with an initial application to bedsores and diabetic foot ulcers for seniors at home, in nursing homes, or in hospitals.
  • Authored: Authored creates apparel that is thoughtfully engineered with discreet openings that adapt to body needs and limitations. The startup’s clothing promotes and prolongs independence, enables safer dressing, and reduces stigma and injuries.
  • Wysefit: Wysefit is a fitness app created specifically for older people. Taught by certified instructors and health professionals, the app’s programs address the needs of people as they age—from stretches to help with arthritis to exercises to build muscle and reduce lower back pain.

https://www.geekwire.com/2020/melinda-gates-pivotal-ventures-techstars-unveil-cohort-future-longevity-accelerator/

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