Bike Lanes Victoria
(City of Victoria/Facebook)

The BC Human Rights Tribunal has found the City of Victoria at fault in a complaint around bus stop accessibility filed by the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB).

Oriano Belusic, the Vice-President of CFB, first filed the complaint in 2018.

Belusic alleged that “floating” bus stops built by the City around separated bike lanes are discriminatory and unsafe to transit users with visual impairments.

They also said that BC Transit had discriminated against blind people as a protected class, based on the operator “accepting and operating its public bus service at Floating Stops that are safely accessed by crossing a bicycle lane only by those members of the public who are not blind.”

On November 13, the Tribunal upheld the complaint against the City, while dismissing the complaint against BC Transit.

In the ruling, Tribunal member Norman Trerise wrote that BC Transit ceasing service at the floating bus stops would not improve accessibility to visually challenged persons.

“The only result would be to inconvenience all other Transit users, including those with mobility issues,” Trerise wrote.

In upholding the complaint against the City, Trerise ruled out a number of possible remedies to the design of the bus stops, including volunteer crossing guards, rumblestick technology, descending crossarms or underpass/overpass construction.

The Tribunal also said that moving the bus stops back to the curbside would create an “undue hardship” for the City and a major disruption to cyclists who use the separated bike lanes.

Trerise wrote that the solution of a pedestrian-activated audible flashing signal light would be sufficient to remedy the complaint.

However, he added that installing these signal lights “does not mean the City should not implement technologies that would provide fully guaranteed protection for blind pedestrians if such solutions become available in the future and would not result in undue hardship to the City.”

The Human Rights Tribunal will hold another hearing to determine the timing for installation of the audible signal lights.