My 90-year-old mother was sent a taxi by HandyDart due to lack of buses.
She is recovering from an acute vertebrae fracture.
The “trained” taxi driver struggled to get her scooter into the bus then drove away without securing the chair or putting a seatbelt on her.
The average number of years of service for a HandyDart driver is 11. HandyDart drivers are given intensive training that has evolved over 30 years; they are also held accountable to professional standards.
It is unconscionable to argue that vulnerable people like my mom deserve anything less than safe affordable public transportation. Neither TransLink nor taxi advocates in the disabled community should be criticized for looking for efficiencies.
Reducing HandyDart service hours despite skyrocketing demand is myopic and solves nothing.
The high turnover in the taxi industry makes adequate training hard to sustain. The financial reality of driving taxi makes it hard for drivers to take extra time to safely help frail people to and from their homes.
The use of taxis comes at a human cost. Taxi trips may be cheaper in Vancouver city when trips are short, but anyone who has taken a taxi outside of Vancouver knows how quickly the meter runs up.
The provincial government continues to announce mega projects and subsidizes corporations by giving them one half of the carbon tax. TransLink is being forced to fund financial black holes.
Meanwhile taxpayers are being told that they should swallow inadequate transit solutions that hurt seniors and disabled people.
TransLink and taxi advocates should walk hand in hand to fight for a better, safer transit system rather than bicker over Christy Clark’s table scraps.
Meanwhile after years of safe HandyDart rides, my mom lives in fear of injury in a taxi.