Disabled rights advocates file complaint against Montreal Transit Corporation

MONTREAL – A Quebec group of disabled rights advocates met Thursday to ask the City to improve the accessibility of its public transit.

Members of the Regroupement des activistes pour l’inclusion au Québec (RAPLIQ) say that the Metro’s inaccessibility prevents thousands of Montrealers from commuting freely.

They are also frustrated with the slow pace of making transit more accessible in Montreal.

Concerned that the STM’s budget, which will be adopted by the City today, does not promise to make any station accessible, they plan to take action.

The RAPLIQ intends to file complaints of systemic discrimination against the Montreal Transit Corporation (MTC).

The complaints, filed on behalf of a dozen disabled Montrealers, challenge the MTC’s failure to ensure that its buses and metro are accessible to people with disabilities.

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This is the first time in Quebec’s civil rights history that complaints like this have been filed.

The complaints are similar to class action lawsuits filed by disabled Americans against transit authorities in New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The City’s Triennial Immobilization Plan (2011-2013) expects to retrofit only one station with elevators within the next three years.

To add a wheelchair-accessible elevator costs around $15 million per metro station, although three quarters of this cost is covered by the provincial government.

Since the city began installing elevators in 2008, six of Montreal’s 68 metro stations have been made wheelchair accessible, and two more will soon have wheelchair access.

At this pace, the Metro would be completely accessible in 2194.