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

Just Posted

Surrey moves to ban sleeping overnight in RVs, motorhomes on city streets

Proposal comes amid complaints about homeless people living in recreational vehicles

Students, volunteers plant 300 trees in White Rock park

City partnership to ‘mimic the natural growth’ of Ruth Johnson Park

$50,000 reward for ‘extremely violent’ South Surrey murder suspect renewed

Offer for information on Brandon Teixeira to remain in effect through April, 2020

Surrey restaurant owner who pointed handgun at staff loses court appeal

Jawahar Singh Padda tried to get his 30-month sentenced reduced

South Surrey man allows smart meter installation ‘under duress’

BC Hydro says devices emit fraction of radio frequency from a cellphone

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Kamloops Blazers blank Vancouver Giants

A loss on the road for G-men

Man found dead inside Richmond business, IHIT investigating

Police believe the incident was not random

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Most Read