HRA News – Help Out, Don’t Screen Out, HandyDART Riders!

TransLink is doing consultation on what they call the “HandyDART Modernization Program.” TransLink’s proposal is that their ‘medical professionals’ could deny access to HandyDART after an interview.

The intention of this invasive interview process is to refuse service to some applicants, instead of expanding service to meet demand. (They are also proposing other changes like accepting Compass Cards that could be OK.)

The outcome of the new registration process could be a decision that an applicant is not eligible for HandyDART. At first, this will only apply to new riders. But if this new system is put in place it will likely be applied to existing HandyDART riders later.

TransLink states that the process “would be similar to the current registration process in communities served by BC Transit.” BC Transit’s interview processes are primarily about denying service to reduce costs, and they have contracted much of the work out to large medical businesses.

This is not the first time TransLink has proposed a screening out process. In 2011 the City of Vancouver’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee (PWDAC) opposed invasive processes to screen HandyDART applicants as a way of reducing costs, asserting that:

“The process they are contemplating is an invasive, time-consuming, and upsetting process, which would discourage many people, especially persons with language issues, developmental disabilities, persons who are older, frail or confused, from applying for HandyDART. In essence, it solves the problem of not enough HandyDART rides by eliminating the most vulnerable of users.”

TransLink’s current proposal seems to be the same as their proposal a decade ago for “eliminating the most vulnerable of users” to reduce costs. Instead, TransLink should be cooperating with other agencies to help out people with disabilities rather than trying to screen out those they can get away with excluding.

Please write or call:

Some points you may want to include:

  • Instead of being denied service, people with disabilities need help to access expensive mobility equipment like mobility scooters and to learn how best to navigate our largely inaccessible region and transit system.
  • This is the same invasive screening process TransLink proposed in 2011, which was cancelled after many objections.
  • People with disabilities and transit operators are the real experts, not medical professionals without first hand experience.
  • HandyDART service must be increased to meet the increasing demand with our aging population, rather than denying service to the most vulnerable to reduce costs.

TransLink also has public engagement events and a LONG survey you can fill out (the question about the proposed registration process is on page 11). Find out more at www.translink.ca/hdm

As always, writing a letter to the editor of a paper is also a great way to get your message out too!

Mayors’ Contact Info:

West VancouverMary-Ann Booth604-925-7000mbooth@westvancouver.ca
RichmondMalcolm Brodie604-276-4000mayorea@richmond.ca
North VancouverLinda Buchanan604-985-7761mayor@cnv.org
New WestminsterJonathan Coté604-521-3711jcote@newwestcity.ca
Pitt MeadowsBill Dingwall604-465-5454bdingwall@pittmeadows.ca
Langley TownshipJack Froese604-534-3211jfroese@tol.ca
Langley CityVal van den Broek604-514-2800vvandenbroek@langleycity.ca
DeltaGeorge Harvie604-946-4141mayorharvie@delta.ca
BurnabyMike Hurley604-294-7944mayor@burnaby.ca
SurreyDoug McCallum604-591-4011mayor@surrey.ca
AnmoreJohn McEwen604-469-9877john.mcewen@anmore.com
Lions BayRon McLaughlin604-921-9333mayor.mclaughlin@lionsbay.ca
Maple RidgeMike Morden604-463-5221mmorden@mapleridge.ca
BelcarraJamie Ross778-980-2501jross@belcarra.ca
VancouverKennedy Stewart604-873-7011kennedy.stewart@vancouver.ca
CoquitlamRichard Stewart604-927-3000rstewart@coquitlam.ca
Port MoodyRobert Vagramov604-469-4500rvagramov@portmoody.ca
White RockDarryl Walker604-541-2122dwalker@whiterockcity.ca
Port CoquitlamBrad West604-927-5411westb@portcoquitlam.ca

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