Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of BC (COSCO) and The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2012
Groups oppose TransLink’s Plan To Eliminate TaxiSaver Program for HandyDART Users
Vancouver: TransLink’s Board has voted to eliminate the Taxi Saver Program which provides people who are registered HandyDART users a 50% subsidy for taxi rides. While timelines have yet to be finalized it appears that TaxiSaver coupons will not be accepted after June 2013 and that registrants after July 2012 will not be able to purchase them.
The Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of BC (COSCO) and the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) are extremely disappointed that the program is slated to end. “This will definitely have a negative impact on seniors living on low income and frail seniors who use taxi savers,” said Lorraine Logan Vice President of COSCO.
BC Transit’s website explains that TaxiSavers “provide registered handyDART clients with greater convenience for spontaneous travel when HandyDART cannot accommodate their travel needs.” But at a meeting this week, TransLink representatives told COSCO, BCCPD and other stakeholders that it wants to eliminate the program and apply the savings to HandyDART so that it can provide more rides. TransLink said savings can be made because its records show that only 13% of TaxiSaver users ride on HandyDART.
Stakeholders pointed out that the decision does not make financial sense: people who use TaxiSavers pay half their taxi fare. By taking away the subsidy many will only use HandyDART which per ride is a more expensive option than taxis.
Lilo Ljubisic, a totally blind Paralympian said, “TaxiSavers are an essential lifeline that bridge the gap when regular transit and HandyDART can’t provide the support I need. I use TaxiSavers as a last resort as part of a blended approach for my transit needs. Eliminating this program will limit my independence and impact my confidence about getting around because knowing I can call a taxi when I need one makes me feel safe.”
“Many people with disabilities and seniors live in poverty,” said the BCCPD’s Jane Dyson. “We’re concerned that they will have less access to the community and that their quality of life will suffer. We are urging TransLink to re-think this cut.”
For more information please contact:
Jane Dyson – 604-875-0188