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News : TransLink to Consider Taking HandyDart in House
Vancouver, BC, USA, Dec 9, 2015 -- TransLink said it will consider taking making HandyDart an in-house subsidiary after passengers complained Wednesday that the corporation running the service often leaves them waiting hours for a bus.
The contract with American-based MVT Canadian Bus comes up for renewal in 2017, at which time TransLink will look at all options, said outgoing TransLink board chairman Barry Forbes. He said TransLink will consider the pleas of HandyDart passengers as part of a review of the system, which caters to people with disabilities, early next year.
"All of us were pretty moved by the comments from the folks," Forbes said after the meeting Wednesday. "We are concerned. We had an offer to work with these folks more and we want to do that. We will consider (taking HandyDart) in-house as well as other options when we look at what are the ways we can provide service in the future."
At the meeting, Pam Winthrop said she drives her 20-year-old son from Ladner to Richmond every day so he can get a HandyDart to his Vancouver school. He never arrives on time. Bet Tuason, who is on kidney dialysis, said he has passed out three times — and has had to be resuscitated — while waiting for HandyDart to show up, while Sandra Bryan has missed her medical appointments and claims she has been abused by the HandyDart call centre after she complained.
Beth McKellar, who suffered a spinal cord injury 16 years ago, urged TransLink to do the right thing, noting that many people are told to take taxis instead of HandyDart, and wind up stranded because there are none available.
"I don’t know if any of you able-bodied people know what it’s like to live our lives, but you will," she said. "You’re getting older. This is so wrong on so many levels. Let’s make it right."
Bob Chitrenky, president of the Amalgamated Transit Unit, agreed there will be increased demand for HandyDart in the future and said TransLink should consider moving it in house. "We believe it’s time for TransLink to look at alternatives to contracting out," he said. "It’s time to provide service and not profit at the expense of the elderly and disabled."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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TransLink is Metro Vancouver’s regional transportation authority and is responsible for public transit, the major roads network, five bridges, cycling options and more in the region.
Published: Friday, December 11, 2015