For immediate release
When: Wednesday December 9, 10:30 am
What: HandyDART riders demonstrate and speak at TransLink Board meeting
Where: 287 Nelson’s Court New Westminster, near Sapperton SkyTrain Station
The HandyDART Riders’ Alliance says that faceless corporations can’t respect the rights of people with disabilities, and are demanding that HandyDART service be run by a public or non-profit organization. At the open TransLink board meeting on Wednesday December 9, the group will propose terminating the contract with the present US-based contractor when it expires in 2017.
“Private corporations always put profits above dignity and human rights, and they cost more. We are not packages; we want a real say in improving HandyDART,” says Beth McKellar, HandyDART Riders’ Alliance Co-coordinator. “HandyDART must either be brought in-house as a TransLink subsidiary or turned over to a non-profit agency.”
The group is pushing for both more funding to meet the increased need for HandyDART service with an aging population, and a real say in how HandyDART is run.
“People with disabilities must be involved in running and monitoring the system,” says McKellar. “We need more service, and people with disabilities need to have a real impact on decision making.”
HandyDART service hours have been frozen in Metro Vancouver since 2009, and as a result trip denials went up over 600% before the US 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.
For more information please contact:
Beth McKellar, HandyDART Riders’ Alliance Co-coordinator 604 444 9289