More GO Transit riders flag issue with accessibility at Exhibition Station

After shedding light on accessibility issues at Exhibition GO station - more people are sharing their experiences. Shauna Hunt with the growing calls for Metrolinx to provide a better solution – while their elevators are out of service.

By Shauna Hunt

Just one day after CityNews reported on the accessibility issues plaguing the Exhibition GO Station, another wheelchair user said they were left stranded on the platform.

Calls are now growing louder for Metrolinx to provide a better solution for those who rely on the elevators while they remain out of service.

Hannah, who relies on a wheelchair, was left stranded on Friday night after taking the GO train from Oshawa to see a concert at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage.

Before arriving at the North Platform at Exhibition Station, she was informed the elevators were out of service. Her friend Sara called GO Transit directly to find a solution.

“The gentlemen said the only way to get there is to walk around, ‘You need to book 48 hours in advance. It’s plastered all over our website,’ so now the only way to get there is to walk,” explained Sarah.

The elevators have been out of service since November as the busy station undergoes a revamp for the Ontario Line.

Act of kindness from strangers helped woman 

In the meantime, GO Transit has hired Dignity Transportation shuttle service to connect people with mobility issues to either platform, but those trips need to be pre-arranged, and users tell us they have been unreliable.

Hannah said wheeling the 40 minutes it would take to get around was not an option, so they called an Uber, but the accessibility issue was compounded after two drivers refused to take her wheelchair.

“It’s not my fault for having a disability it kind of made it seem that way,” said Hannah.

The women say it was the kindness of two strangers who eventually helped Hannah overcome these barriers by carrying her wheelchair up the stairs.

While Hannah and Sara eventually made it to the concert thanks to those good Samaritans, they are calling on Metrolinx and Uber to do better.

“It’s never a good feeling to be like, ‘I have no other options, and I can’t get to where everyone else is’,” said Hannah. “A concert should not be everybody else goes but you, just fix the problem … because everybody should get to go.”

CityNews reached out to Metrolinx to ask if regular shuttle service would be an option but did not receive a response.

When approached Tuesday, Metrolinx said during major sports and cultural events, there should be shuttles and staff available to help direct customers.

Meanwhile, Uber told CityNews what happened was inexcusable. A statement said they would be investigating the rider’s reports and will take appropriate action.

Original signage on the elevators said they should have been up and running by the end of March, but Metrolinx now said that the timeline has been extended to early summer.

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