BCCPD applauds TransLink’s $1 million commitment to HandyDART

BCCPD are pleased that TransLink will add $1 million to HandyDART this year to provide over 30,000 additional rides to HandyDART customers. This will help ensure that people with disabilities and seniors get the rides they need through the HandyDART service.

TransLink states in its May 23rd announcement, “These additional taxi trips will add to the existing service provided by dedicated HandyDART vehicles. The increased use of taxis will be based on the customers’ individual needs and ability to take a taxi, and funding will also support safety and service training and initiatives to ensure customers experience the same high level of service regardless of the type of vehicle they’re travelling in.”

We know that the Vancouver taxi industry has worked hard to train its drivers so that they know how to best serve people with disabilities and seniors. For people with disabilities and seniors who are comfortable with taxis, this is an excellent move forward from TransLink.

We support the comments of our community partners contained in the press release below.

Press Release
For immediate release
May 26, 2014

Seniors and People with Disabilities Applaud¬†Translink’s $1 Million HandyDART Commitment

¬†“We are delighted that TransLink will add $1 million dollars to HandyDART this year”, notes Jill Weiss, Chairperson, City of Vancouver Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee.

“This will make a huge difference to people with disabilities”, continues Weiss. “In 2012, the number of people who were denied a HandyDART ride nearly tripled from 18,189 to 46,978. TransLink’s new measure, which will provide 30,000 new rides, will make a real difference ensuring that people with no other transportation options are able to go to the doctor, to school, to all activities”, continues Weiss.

“This will have a major impact on seniors”, adds Chris Morrissey, Chairperson, City of Vancouver Seniors Advisory Committee. “Three quarters of HandyDART users are seniors”, adds Morrissey, “and the freeze that’s been on all transit budgets for years has had a devastating impact on seniors using HandyDART, whose numbers are rising when funds have been frozen. This TransLink measure will significantly increase the number of rides for seniors who can’t drive or take the bus, and will make a difference to countless seniors”, concludes Morrissey.

“We would deeply like to think TransLink for their wisdom listening to what HandyDART users are saying”, continue Weiss and Morrissey. “TransLink held consultations with disability and seniors groups last year and they listened to our most important message: HandyDART is at crisis levels, and TransLink needs to increase the overall number of rides and the cost-effectiveness of HandyDART by increasing the number of rides provided by taxis”, continue Weiss and Morrissey. “Taxis provide twice as many rides as “dedicated”

HandyDART rides: seniors and people with disabilities and the independent auditor have been calling for increased use of taxis for years”.

For more information on the farsighted impact of the TransLink decision on seniors and people with disabilities, please contact:

Jill Weiss, (604) 608-0384
or
Chris Morrissey (604) 877-7768