Write, Call or Speak to Vancouver Council – Support the Keeping HandyDART Accessible to People Living with Disabilities motion!

Please consider writing, calling or speaking in support of the motion Keeping HandyDART Accessible to People Living with Disabilities, which will be discussed at the Tuesday June 8 Vancouver City Council meeting.

TransLink is proposing an invasive and adversarial interview process to refuse service to some applicants, instead of expanding service to meet demand. The outcome of the new registration process could be a decision that an applicant is not eligible for HandyDART, rather than further assistance for those who need it. 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 massive medical companies.

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:

“Access Transit (TransLink) has been contemplating a new process to deal with increasing demand for HandyDART without increasing funding to meet the need. 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 expanding their voluntary Travel Training for people with disabilities as well as increasing HandyDART service to meet the increasing need.

Please support Vancouver City Councillor Jean Swanson’s motion B7 – Keeping HandyDART Accessible to People Living with Disabilities that:

1. City Council directs the Mayor to urge TransLink to maintain HandyDART’s current, accessible application process; and to ensure that the proposed in person interview is not mandatory; and

2. City Council directs the Mayor to urge TransLink to provide information about accessible transportation options to HandyDART users and to their public healthcare providers so everyone involved is aware of options to HandyDART including taxi’s, buses with ramps, the Sky trains and the Seabus.

Take action:

Write an email to Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Vancouver City Councillors using these emails – kennedy.stewart@vancouver.ca; CLRbligh@vancouver.ca, CLRboyle@vancouver.ca, CLRcarr@vancouver.ca, CLRdegenova@vancouver.ca, CLRdominato@vancouver.ca, CLRfry@vancouver.ca, CLRhardwick@vancouver.ca, CLRkirby-yung@vancouver.ca, CLRswanson@vancouver.ca, CLRwiebe@vancouver.ca

Phone City Councillors before June 8 – Numbers listed below (leave a message if you get voice mail).

Speak to City Council by phone on June 8https://vancouver.ca/your-government/request-to-speak-at-meeting-form-1.aspx (for more information on speaking to council by phone see https://vancouver.ca/your-government/speak-at-city-council-meetings.aspx#prepare )

Writing a letter to the editor of a paper is also a great way to get your message out!

Phone contacts

Mayor Kennedy Stewart          No number listed
Councillor Rebecca Bligh         604-873-7249
Councillor Christine Boyle        604-873-7242
Councillor Adriane Carr             604-873-7245
Councillor Melissa De Genova   604-873-7244
Councillor Lisa Dominato           604-873-7248
Councillor Pete Fry                   604-873-7246
Councillor Colleen Hardwick       604-873-7240
Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung       604-873-7247
Councillor Jean Swanson           604-873-7243
Councillor Michael Wiebe           604-873-7241

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