We agree with Linda Meyer [Plan B to improve transit, Jan 13 Letters, TIMES] that a 30 per cent increase in HandyDART service over 10 years is not enough.
HandyDART service levels have been frozen for more than five years, while demand soars, and the number of people over 70 in Metro Vancouver is projected to increase by 40 per cent in the next decade.
But unlike Meyer, we are urging everyone to vote yes in the transit referendum to get this modest increase approved. Once the referendum is won, we can push for more substantial service increases and improved safety and service quality standards.
Politicians will interpret a strong yes vote as showing we care about accessible public transit, including HandyDART.
Accessible public transit, including HandyDART, evolved as our society acknowledged the benefits of allowing people with disabilities and older seniors to live and participate in society rather than being segregated in institutions or isolated at home.
The current transit funding crisis has resulted in overcrowding and unreliable service, making the conventional transit system less accessible to people with disabilities and older seniors.
Delaying increases HandyDART service would impose substantial costs on the public health system and family caregivers, as well as infringing on the rights of people living with disabilities.
Being denied reasonable access to public transit can be compared to being sentenced to house arrest without committing any crime.
Seniors, people with disabilities, and our families, vote. By voting yes in the March transit referendum we take an important step towards the high-quality, accessible transit system we need.
Beth McKellar and Craig Langston, HandyDART Riders Alliance