Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Save Our HandyDART Coalition Presents to Langley City Council

Last night, the Save Our HandyDART Coalition (which includes the Langley Human Dignity Coalition) presented to Langley City Council at our public meeting. The Coalition has been raising the visibility about some of the challenges with HandyDART service in our region.

The Coalition released the report "Access for Everyone? Publicly Operated HandyDART In Metro Vancouver" earlier this year. You can read a summary of this report in a previous post.

As I mentioned yesterday, HandyDART service has specially trained drivers and purpose-built vehicles to provide transit service for people with a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability who cannot use conventional public transit without assistance.

Because there is a lack of HandyDART drivers, sometimes trips are replaced with taxi services. In 2022, 17% of trips were via taxi. Taxi drivers do not have the same special training or vehicles as HandyDART drivers.

Last night, the Coalition told a few stories about folks in Langley who use HandyDART but no longer trust the system.

One story was about someone who used HandyDART between home and work in Gloucester Industrial Estates, but their service was replaced with a taxi. The taxi arrived 90 minutes before that person's shift ended and left as the person was still on shift. This person had to find another way home.

They also told the story of a Special Olympian in our community who was asked to go for a coffee by a taxi driver, which isn't professional. They told another story of a Special Olympian who doesn't use HandyDART anymore because of the lack of predictability of the system; they have to rely on others to get around, which limits independence and dignity.

The Coalition noted that they believe there is enough money already to fund HandyDART service. They asked Langley City Council to support an open letter to TransLink asking to:

  • Fulfills TransLink's original pledge to limit the percentage of taxi trips to 7% or lower of total trips
  • Conduct an unbiased Public Sector Comparator to compare costs and benefits of insourcing vs continued outsourcing
  • Develop/implement plan to bring HandyDART in-house as a subsidiary of TransLink

Council Alberect put forward a notice of motion recommending to support the Save Our HandyDART Coalition's requested actions. At the meeting, all members of Council expressed their support, and Council will vote on the motion at our next meeting.

1 comment:

Diane Young said...

The taxi’s are fine and WAY more comfortable - better shocks and suspension
The Handidart buses belong in the early 60’s - no shocks, no suspension
The Handidart drivers are working with a (ten or more year old, GPS system ) Drive left, drive left, recalibrate.
It is a absolute wonder to me as a rider how come there hasn’t been a horrendous accident resulting in a huge legal case because the GPS are So OUTDATED!
Whoever spent our Government money to purchase these rattly, banging, hard on the back, vehicles needs to be replaced by someone who knows about rideability on vans or buses. They get me there but sometimes they have driven right past where they should have let me out because the call centre has forced the drivers to do what they say. The drivers cannot vary from the ‘rules’or their job is on the line. This has resulted in riding an extra half hour picking up someone in the other end of WR only to come back to the address I was supposed to get out. Infuriating!
I feel that the’ new’ buses need to be sent back to the factory and equipped with proper suspension.
I challenge anyone in your department to take a ride from Langley to White Rock and they will see what I am talking about.
In other words probably a bit more money needs to be invested! And increase the fare to minimum $3.00 per fare to cover cost of upgrading.