Accessible travel: for all, to everywhere

This guide was written to provide advance travel information for persons with mobility, sensory and/or cognitive disabilities.

Preparing to travel? This guide will help. It will give you some ideas about how to plan and conduct your journey. It describes accessible services and features for people with disabilities who use airplanes, trains, passenger ferries and buses that cross a provincial or Canadian border. You'll know more about the services available for travellers with disabilities. You'll be able to plan your trip with confidence, and to take charge of your travel experience!

Canada's transportation system is open to all. More and more, the companies that move people across Canada are finding ways to meet the needs of travellers with disabilities.

As the transportation system becomes more accessible, though, a traveller with a disability cannot assume that all required services will be automatically available. Any journey takes some planning.

You'll find one important piece of advice repeated throughout this guide: talk with your transportation company ahead of time. Let them know how they can help. Not all disabilities are obvious, but when travel agencies and transportation companies know what you require and have the time to respond, they will usually do all they can to help.

How to use this guide

This guide is set up to help you plan your trip, anticipate the questions and prepare for the challenges that travel can present. It begins with some things to consider as you plan your route and select your transportation company. You'll find suggestions about how to make your reservations, either directly with the company, through your travel agent or online.

Then we move on to look at your journey from start to finish. First, we'll talk about the terminal, then about getting on board. We'll describe some issues that can arise along the way, and how to plan ahead to your arrival at the other end. We'll provide you with some handy reminders and some advice about what to do when things don't turn out as you expected. Also, at the end of this guide there is a section about useful information sources and an index to help with quick searches. We have also created a reservation checklist that can be removed from the centre of the booklet for your use.

This guide doesn't have all the answers because we are just one of many organizations that manage Canada's transportation system. We share responsibility with the provincial and territorial governments. Broadly speaking, the Agency can help you with accessibility-related information about travel by air, rail, provincial ferries and buses that cross provincial borders.

If you're not sure who handles what, give us a call at 1-888-222-2592 or by TTY at 1-800-669-5575. Or send us an e-mail at info@otc-cta.gc.ca. We'll point you in the right direction.

Planning helps

As a traveller with a disability, you should not face restrictions on when you can travel, or how, or on which fare. You should not be asked to pay extra for a disability-related service, but there are exceptions. You will need to plan your trip ahead of time, at least 48 hours in advance, and know how to get help if you need it along the way. By planning early, you can get more information about your options and ensure that the transportation company has enough time to provide the service you need.

Your preparations will make your travel easier and more enjoyable. Here are four useful steps:

  • Determine your needs;
  • Get information before you make decisions;
  • Identify which transportation companies can meet your needs; and
  • Get written confirmation about your accessibility arrangements when you book your travel.
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