Surrey Leader - HandyDart service not keeping up to demand: Critics

Article by Jeff Nagel
Published May 2nd, 2012

Rising demand for HandyDart rides from the elderly and disabled who can’t easily take regular buses is outstripping TransLink’s ability to deliver the custom transit service, advocates warn.

“There are always more and more people needing to use the HandyDart,” said Jane Dyson, executive director of the B.C. Coalition for People with Disabilities.

But service levels are frozen at about 600,000 annual service hours – likely until 2015 – and TransLink is simultaneously under pressure to carve savings out of the program after an efficiency review.

The result: more passengers being denied rides or offered a one-way trip only but no guarantee of a return trip.

“They may be able to get a ride from Richmond to Vancouver but when they want to get back it’s very difficult,” Dyson said. “A ride one way is pretty useless if you can’t get back.”

She’s heard complaints from passengers who say up to half of their trip requests are denied because the system is over-subscribed, and that trips are getting longer as dispatchers organize trips to pick up more passengers than before.

“For people who have health conditions like bladder issues, or bowel issues or breathing issues, that can be very challenging,” Dyson said, adding it is undercutting the reliability and usability of the system.

“We have to remember this is a service for people with disabilities and seniors. There needs to be some understanding of that built into a budget system.”

To read more, visit this link: http://www.surreyleader.com/news/149906135.html

Metro Vancouver Public Transit Users: Audio Stop Announcement Change

Rob Sleath, Chair of Advocates for Sight Impaired Consumers (ASIC) advises of upcoming changes in the audio transit stop announcement. Effective Monday, January 9, 2012, Coast Mountain Bus Company will replace the current Trolley Clang that sounds prior to announcing the next approaching stop with the audible words “Next Stop” followed by the location. Upon hearing this new announcement, some customers may be confused and assume the bell has been rung and the bus will be stopping at the next stop. Please note that such an announcement does not mean that the bus will necessarily stop at the announced stop unless a passenger rings the bell to indicate their desire to disembark at that particular stop.

The request to alter the trolley clang to a different alert tone was raised by a group of transit operators who found the trolley clang to be confusing and often mistaken for other audible/alert tones on-board public transit buses. Following a community survey to which many of you responded, the results were presented to TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company. In consultation with the Access Transit Users Advisory Committee, a compromise was reached to alter the announcements as mentioned above.

An 18 second sample of the new announcement is provided below to familiarize you with the impending change. Coast Mountain will endeavour to minimize the time gap between each word in the announcements so as to provide a smoother delivery.

Sample of new Transit “next stop” announcement