A letter writer offers a solution for what she says is inadequate service from HandyDart.

More taxis equals problems solved

Montreal uses over 90 per cent taxis and they provide almost twice as many rides as Metro Vancouver HandyDart does.

The increased use of taxis within HandyDart is something that disability advocates have been requesting for years. We’ve been asking for increased taxi use because HandyDart levels are inadequate and taxi use significantly increases the number of HandyDart rides that can be provided within the same budget.

For example, the Montreal custom transit system uses over 90 per cent taxis and they provide almost twice as many rides as Metro Vancouver HandyDart does, for about the same budget.

Throughout North America, custom transit operators use taxis as part of their transit system to provide more needed rides. The independent auditor of TransLink services recommended that TransLink increase the use of taxis to increase the number of rides provided. This same recommendation was recently passed by the City of Vancouver Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee.

HandyDart currently does not meet people’s needs. Taxis are an excellent way of meeting this unmet need because they are about half as expensive as a ride on a regular HandyDart vehicle.

In a system where there aren’t enough rides, where need and the seniors’ population are increasing, and where public funds are limited, it is crucial to find ways to provide more needed service within the same funding envelope. Increasing taxi use within HandyDart is an established international best practice to do that.

Also, while it is true that travel with an untrained driver is unsafe, it is also true that this can be remedied.  For over a year, a group of disability and seniors organizations, including the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities, the Coalition of Senior Citizens Organizations of B.C., GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, the City of Vancouver Seniors’ Advisory Committee, CNIB, and the City of Vancouver Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, have been working with Vancouver taxi companies to design a taxi driver training program to provide safe and appropriate service.

All Vancouver taxi drivers will be required to take this training and pass it. It will start in about two weeks. We hope this will also be implemented in other areas soon.

In summary, the recommendation that TransLink increase the use of taxis came from the disability community, is an international best practice, and was one of the recommendations of the independent auditor. Required taxi driver training and testing is about to be implemented. The safe use of taxis within HandyDart for persons with disabilities and seniors who want to use them should substantially increase the number of rides available and should significantly reduce the trip denial rate in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

 

Jill Weiss, Chair

City of Vancouver Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee

Vancouver

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wally Oppal says policing ‘too important’ to be left to the police

Oppal was keynote speaker at a Surrey Board of Trade “Hot Topic Dialogue” breakfast event Wednesday

White Rock man says landlord ‘threatened’ tenants for seeking cash after no heat over Christmas

Porte Realty VP says original notice was harsh and quickly replaced

Surrey man charged with murder in West Kelowna tries to change guilty plea

Following an shocking guilty plea on Feb. 25, Tejwant Danjou applied to retract that plea on Feb. 26

17 medals for Delta athletes at 2020 BC Winter Games

More than 1,000 athletes from across the province competed in Fort St. John Feb. 20-23

Surrey skater speeds his way to four golds, a silver at BC Winter Games

‘I just really enjoy going fast on the ice,’ says Barnett Liu, 14

VIDEO: Minister says consider coronavirus outbreak when planning for spring break

Foreign Affairs minister points to rash of new cases appearing in places like Italy and Iran

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Donations pour in for family who lost father, son in fatal crash on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Alberta tourist dies after plunge from 70-metre cliff in Stanley Park

The 26-year-old hopped a fence at Prospect Point on fell to a walkway below, police said

B.C. man who pulled a gun on off-duty cop gets two years in prison

Encounter also led police to a home where 100 guns and explosives were found

New Westminster woman’s ‘out of character’ disappearance probed by police

She left without telling anyone, prompting investigation by Major Crimes Unit, police say

EDITORIAL: Fraser Health needs to be transparent to fight coronavirus panic

Fraser Health and other authorities are not helping by being vague in recent communications

Most Read