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Automated system needed for deaf transit riders

Re: “It’s go for automated stop calls,” Aug. 27. Island Deaf + Hard of Hearing Services is perplexed that B.C.

Re: “It’s go for automated stop calls,” Aug. 27.

Island Deaf + Hard of Hearing Services is perplexed that B.C. Transit’s implementation of a voice call-out system for transit stops will benefit neither users who are deaf nor those with a wide range of hearing loss. It is self-evident that this population of individuals will not get the full benefit of a voice annunciation system and to whom, therefore, equal access is being denied.

The survey Canadian Health Measures Survey: Hearing Loss of Canadians indicates that 20 per cent of adults had hearing loss, including a staggering 50 per cent of adults aged 60 to 79. As reported in the 2011 census, B.C.’s share of seniors 65 and older was 15.7 per cent, above the national average of 14.8 per cent, while Victoria came in at 18.4 per cent.

Many jurisdictions in Canada have visual stop information-display systems. The Vancouver and Calgary transit systems, for example, currently have voice and visual stop announcement systems to announce and display pre-recorded stop information, before arriving at a stop.

It is hoped that integrated systems will be implemented on all transit routes across Victoria and Vancouver Island. It is not just the deaf who would be serviced by a visual stop-display system, but also those with hearing loss who find hearing in a noisy environment a significant challenge.

Richard W. Letourneau

Chairman of the board

Island Deaf + Hard of Hearing Centre

Victoria