Media Release: HandyDART riders say No vote in transit referendum threatens right to mobility

Bet 1cropMedia Release

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


2 responses to “Media Release: HandyDART riders say No vote in transit referendum threatens right to mobility

    . John Beeching | May 10, 2015 at 2:52 am (Edited and slightly modifies July 2015)

    ALL TRANSIT USERS – B.C. including HandyDART USERS .BC
2016 (?) BC Elections is a good year to start a ‘RIGHT THE WRONGS CAMPAIGN’ to correct the BC problems existing in TRANSLINK.

    About 35 years ago government introduced the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Act – TransLink. The prime purpose was to create a transit system that would provide an alternate way other than automobile. Since it has undergone numerous and confusing amendments to make it what it is now, an organization very much failing according to reports this year.

    The transit system in its entirety is vital in the South Coast of BC. The numbers of people it moves grows exponentially annually TransLink reports indicate funding problems based on TransLink income. It therefore is cutting back on services. Handydart has had its budget frozen for10 years for example. At the same time governments are pressed for financing. A problem faced because of a wrong-ended tax policy of reducing taxes on big business. Consider, if the workers did not have transit it would impact on profits. If customers could not get to the malls or stores again their profits would suffer. There are more.

    The first question seems to be where is the money to come from? We need to elect a government unafraid to make all taxation fair and equitable. The time has come to make Business and High Finance pay a fair share of the tax burden. TransLink has spent monumental amounts of money on road improvement, bridges and other highway improvements. It should be given to the Department of Highways and let TransLink work on people movers. The money saved here could well be in the billions. Next it is time to right the wrongs begun under the Campbell Premiership. Return TransLink Board to a mainly elected board of Mayors they are elected, it is more democratic. They know better transit problems in their area and are subject to their people’s approval through elections. The existing Board of professionals should be removed with a thank you only. Make all business corporations under TransLink non contracted services by removing ‘contracted service’ from their contracts.

    This or next year is an elections year. Voters have a chance to demand that your candidate, if elected, will do all in their power to make these three points in our position government policy. It would go a long way to improve public transit in the lower mainland. (South Coast BC).
Vote for a government unafraid to introduce fair taxation.

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