HandyDART Riders’ Alliance
For immediate release –Thursday July 2nd, 2015
HandyDART riders say No vote in transit referendum threatens right to mobility
The HandyDART Riders’ Alliance says with the No vote there is now a danger that people with disabilities and older seniors will again be isolated in their homes or in institutions as they were in the past, just as the first baby boomers enter their 70s.
“Denying mobility and access based on ability can be compared to sentencing someone who has committed no crime to permanent house arrest,” says Beth McKellar, a HandyDART Riders’ Alliance Co-coordinator. “And the person whose rights are denied may be you or someone in your immediate family.”
The Metro Vancouver transit referendum was sometimes framed as being just about a few major rapid transit projects. But the Mayors’ Council included a 30% increase in HandyDART service in the plan – adding 100 HandyDART vans to the present fleet of about 300. HandyDART is a door-to-door transit service for people with disabilities and older seniors who cannot use the regular transit system for at least some trips.
HandyDART service hours have been frozen in Metro Vancouver since 2009, and as a result trip denials went up over 600% before the contractor changed procedures to disguise the crisis. A similar freeze on bus service has led to overcrowding, and made riding conventional transit less convenient and safe for seniors and people with disabilities. For safety, many people with disabilities and older seniors need door-to-door transit service provided by trained and experienced HandyDART drivers.
“The HandyDART Riders’ Alliance is going to keep on campaigning for more and better HandyDART service” says McKellar. “We are not going to let the politicians forget about us.”
For more information please contact Beth McKellar 604 444 9289