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UP Express Guide to Accessible Travel

Published: May 12, 2023

May 18th is Global Accessibility Awareness Day and at UP Express, we take pride in making travel accessible for everyone, year-round. We are committed to ensuring our services and operations are fully accessible for all travellers, no matter where you are from. Whether you are visiting Toronto for the first time or call the city home, we are ready to welcome you on board with confidence.

To help make your visit to Toronto and beyond as smooth as possible, check out our guide to accessible travel.

UP Express Stations

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All of our stations feature accessible features including ramps and elevators to provide access for everyone. All UP Express trains board level with the platform to ensure ease of boarding. You’ll also find station signage using pictograms and information in plain language with service information provided in both visual and audible formats.

UP Express is happy to provide inclusive and accessible information for guests. To request the accessible format of a communication please call 1-844-GET-ON-UP (1-844-438-6687). We’re also pleased to offer a TTY line for travellers with hearing or speech disability. Simply use #711 or call us at 1-800-855-0511.

At UP Express, safety is our top priority. If your immediate safety is a concern at our stations, platforms or on board, travellers can discreetly report immediate safety or security concerns by texting “HELP” to 77777. The Customer Protective Services team will reply to the text within 90 seconds and will converse with you to understand the concern.

On Board UP Express

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Once on board UP Express, you’ll find priority and courtesy seating for guests using wheelchairs and/or mobility aids to help you feel at ease. All trains are wheelchair accessible and feature accessible washrooms, as well as places to store mobility aids on board. Relax in our comfortable coaches as you enjoy the 25-minute ride between UP Express Pearson Airport and downtown Toronto’s Union Station. Each of our trains offers free Wi-Fi, charging stations, luggage storage, and visual flight information screens.

In case of an emergency while travelling on UP Express, MIKEY defibrillators and first aid kits are located in every train.

Travelling With A Support Person Or Service Animal On UP Express

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We welcome support workers and service animals on board our trains. Guests who require assistance during their UP Express ride may be accompanied by a Support Person and/or a service animal, free of charge. Please note larger service animals must always be on a leash while smaller support animals must be in a carrier at all times. As per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, we encourage customers to travel with documentation supporting their needs in the event it is requested.

UP Express welcomes any feedback related to system accessibility. If you have a comment or suggestion on how we can improve our accessibility, please get in touch using the Contact Us form

Assistance At Pearson Airport And Union Station

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We are pleased to provide assistance at UP Express Pearson Airport and Union Station to help make your travel easier. Guests requiring assistance at Union Station should call 1-844-GET-ON-UP (1-844-438-6687) at least one day prior to their trip to help ensure UP Express staff are fully equipped to support your needs. Please note assistance is not available at UP Express Weston or Bloor Stations.

UP Express does not offer baggage handling services at our stations. Guests requiring assistance with baggage at the airport at the start or end of their journey may request Porter Service from Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Once at the airport, guests requiring assistance can contact the Airport Customer Assistance Program (ACAP) or call 1-877-297-ACAP (1-877-297-2227).

Accessibility At Toronto Pearson Airport

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There are many accessible services and facilities throughout Toronto Pearson Airport designed to help passengers with a disability travel independently.

When you arrive at Canada’s busiest airport you’ll find accessible self-service check-in kiosks featuring braille and tactile buttons for single hand use as well as a headphone jack for audio instructions. All washrooms and family washrooms include wheelchair-accessible toilets as well as assisted change rooms in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.

Self-service wheelchairs are available at Pearson as well as new charging stations for electric wheelchairs and mobility devices allowing passengers to enjoy travel without the added stress of low batteries. As well, you’ll find a free in-terminals shuttle service with easy-to-spot designated waiting areas for those requiring mobility assistance.

For passengers travelling with service animals, they are welcome to walk around the airport but must remained leashed at all times. Smaller pets or non-working animals must remain in their travelling cases. Pet relief areas are available in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.

You can find more details about the accessibility services and facilities at Pearson here.

Extra Planning Considerations

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Toronto Pearson Airport works with apps and services to make independent travel more accessible for all guests.

The Aira app uses technology and human assistance to give those with sight loss the ability to navigate the airport independently with on-demand, personalized access to visual information to help them navigate their environment. Find out more about Aira here. Available in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, the free self-voicing BlindSquare app uses Smart Beacons, small Bluetooth devices, to enable GPS-based navigation and greater independence for persons with sight loss as they journey through the airport. Find out more about BlindSquare here.

Hearing loops have been installed at multiple locations throughout Pearson including U.S. Customs and Canada Border Services counters. The hearing loops enable the person behind the desk is able to speak into a microphone which will amplify their voice for passengers with a hearing device set to “T” for Telecoil. Find out more about hearing loops here.

For passengers who are hard of hearing, have limited use of English, or use American or British Sign language, the LanguageLine with live audio or video interpretation with a Passenger Service Representative via tablets at information desks throughout the airport.

Developed for people with Autism, MagnusCards can help autistic and neurodiverse people accomplish travel skills independently and prepare for new situations they may encounter while travelling. There are 20 Toronto Pearson card decks with simple step-by-step instructions available for free download to help travellers navigate common airport processes like airline check-in and boarding a plane. Download MagnusCards here.

Accessible Flying

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Not all airlines operate the same way, so it is highly recommended to reach out to your airline at least 48 hours before any flight to let them know how they can assist you during boarding, your flight, and one you’ve arrived at your destination.

For more details on what to expect while flying, visit the Canadian Transportation Agency’s website.

Take Charge of Your Travel

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Travelling should be exciting and safe for everyone. For helpful tips and ideas on how to plan your journey, visit the Canadian Transportation Agency’s website for more details including your accessibility rights and standards in Canada.

No matter if you are starting or ending your trip in Toronto, UP Express wants to make your journey between Pearson Airport and downtown’s UP Express Union Station as smooth and quick as possible. With trains running every 15-minutes, seven days a week, we make accessible travel a breeze so you can get out and explore.