Metro Vancouver Alliance Letter to TransLink

Today, the Metro Vancouver Alliance sent this letter to the TransLink Board. It is great to have so many allies from diverse groups! Download a PDF of the letter here!

Re: Custom Transit Services Procurement

To the TransLink Board:

I am writing to you on behalf of the Metro Vancouver Alliance. We are a broad-based alliance of faith, labour, academic, and community organizations across the Lower Mainland. We are comprised of nearly 60 organizations, representing over 275,000 people in the Lower Mainland. We work together for the common good.

Transit and transportation is one of the areas that most impact our members’ lives – accessible transit in particular. Listening to our members over the last months and years, we have heard an overwhelming number of stories of problems with HandyDART, including trip refusals, barriers caused by borders, long trip times, late pick ups, system outages, circuitous and inefficient routes, lack of notifications, and poor service from taxis when riders are forced to use them. They only thing our members universally praise is the efforts of experienced HandyDART bus drivers to provide quality service in difficult circumstances.

Contracting this custom transit service out to a private company necessitates profit, taking money from the service and reducing accountability. It has detrimental effects on service to clients and the working environment for the workers.

We therefore support the call by MVA members ATU Local 1724 and the HandyDART Riders’ Alliance to bring the service back in-house.

If you should instead choose to approve the awarding of the contract to First Canada this afternoon, we ask that you do your utmost to ensure the current union contract is upheld and workers will keep their jobs and seniority. It is important for the continuity of service, for the clients who so highly value their experienced drivers and dispatchers, and for the workers who are committed their jobs. I have heard that First Canada has agreed to this already. Hold them to it.

Regardless of your decision regarding contracting out, we also look for better oversight and investment with this new contract. More vehicle service hours, better software, improved processes, and reduced reliance on taxis are all needed. We propose an open monitoring process for the new contract that includes riders, community and union representatives. MVA is willing to assist TransLink in bringing this about.

Finally, prepare to bring HandyDART in-house if the contractor fails to live up to the contract conditions, or when this contract ends.

Sincerely,
Maria Robinson

 

HRA In the news: HandyDART service awful, group says

Delta Optimist, November 19, 2017

It’s time to stop the poor service, says the HandyDART Riders’ Alliance.
The advocacy group representing people with disabilities and mobility issues is demanding TransLink assume responsibility of the transportation service, making their feelings known at a Mayors’ Council meeting this week. Continue reading

Media Release: HandyDART Riders to Remind Mayors of Responsibility for HandyDART

HandyDART Riders At TransLink Board Meeting

The HandyDART Riders’ Alliance and supporters will attend the TransLink Mayors’ Council meeting on Thursday November 16, 9 to 11am, to remind them of their responsibilities to HandyDART riders.

“The TransLink Mayors’ Council was once loud and clear in promising better HandyDART service, and denouncing unaccountable governance at TransLink” says HandyDART Riders’ Alliance Co-chair Beth McKellar. “Now that they claim to be fully involved in TransLink decision making, they need to take responsibility for those decisions.” Continue reading

HandyDART Riders Speak Out! Join us Thurs November 16 at 9 am!

The Mayors and the provincial government seem to need a reminder that this is a crucial time for HandyDART riders. Both the NDP government and the mayors have made some impressive promises about HandyDART and TransLink. But they need to hear you demand action!

HandyDART rider at July 2017 TransLink Mayors’ Council meeting

The TransLink Mayors’ Council is meeting on Thursday Nov 16 and we will be there. Please join us!

Join us at 9 am to 11am on Thursday November 16
#400 – 287 Nelson’s Court, New Westminster, BC

Share the Facebook event and invite your friends! https://www.facebook.com/events/1753966737978864/ Continue reading

HRA News – Write or phone your mayor & MLA today! New HandyDART report!

This is a crucial time for HandyDART, and we need your help today. Both the NDP government and the mayors have made some impressive promises about HandyDART and TransLink. But they need to hear you demand action!

A new report on HandyDART has just been released. It recommends bringing HandyDART in-house as a TransLink subsidiary, and restoring accountable governance of TransLink. The report was presented to the TransLink Mayors’ Council, but so far most of the mayors are not speaking out to support HandyDART riders. (The report is available here as a PDF. The Vancouver Sun and CBC covered the story.) Continue reading

Media Release: HandyDART Riders to attend meeting of board NDP denounced as “Liberal appointees”

Media Release: HandyDART Riders’ Alliance

HandyDART Riders to Press for Elected TransLink Board:
Group will attend September 28 meeting of board NDP denounced as “Liberal appointees” Continue reading

HRA News – Join us Thurs Sept 28 at 10 am! Time for HandyDART Riders to be seen again!

It has been an eventful few months for HandyDART riders. We now have a new government in Victoria that has made some impressive promises about HandyDART and TransLink. At the HandyDART Riders Alliance, we are hopeful but it looks like the new NDP government may need a reminder of the urgency of acting on these promises.

The NDP committed to fixing TransLink

During the election, the BC NDP made a number of promises. One of the most important is to “Fix TransLink” by restoring democratic control. The BC NDP platform states that the “BC Liberals made a mess of Metro Vancouver’s transportation governance, by undermining the mayors, giving power to Liberal appointees over elected officials [and] passing the buck when convenient.” Continue reading

Media Release: HandyDART Riders File Human Rights Complaint against Premier Christy Clark and TransLink

Beth McKellar at Human Rights Tribunal offices

Media Release: HandyDART Riders’ Alliance

HandyDART Riders File Human Rights Complaint against Premier Christy Clark and TransLink: Group alleges inadequate HandyDART service is discriminatory

The HandyDART Riders’ Alliance has filed a class-action complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal alleging discrimination in the form of inadequate HandyDART service. Continue reading

Media Release: HandyDART Riders will tell TransLink board to put contracting out on hold

HandyDART Riders At TransLink Board Meeting

Media Release: HandyDART Riders’ Alliance

HandyDART Riders will tell TransLink board to put contracting out on hold:
NDP TransLink Minister must have chance to complete public sector comparator Continue reading

HRA News: Get Out and Vote for More HandyDART! Tomorrow is Election Day

Tomorrow, Tuesday May 9, is Election Day. And the choices are clear if you want better HandyDART service. Your candidate’s campaign office can provide a ride to the polling place – just give them a call!

Bet reminded NDP Leader John Horgan of the NDP’s commitment to increase HandyDART service 5% per year for 4 years

This is what the BC NDP says about HandyDART in their platform:

“HandyDART service hours were frozen by Christy Clark and the BC Liberals in 2009, and as a result, trip denials went up over 600 per cent. Service quality has also deteriorated, with riders routinely forced to wait for hours.
 
›› We will work with TransLink and BC Transit to find long and lasting solutions to improve HandyDART service, reduce trip denials, and ensure that seniors and people with disabilities get the rides they need.”
John Horgan and the NDP have also committed to providing funding to increase HandyDART service hours by 5% per year for the next four years. The Green Party’s platform does not mention HandyDART, but does pledge more support for public transit. Continue reading