Letters to the Editor

Handy-Dart ride denials ‘a frightening prophecy’

Editor: The article “Handy-Dart offers couple one way rides” (The Times, Dec. 31) is a frightening prophecy for 2014.

According to a study by Eric Doherty, a respected transit consultant, the denials for Handy-Dart trips has gone up sevenfold since 2008 to a staggering 37,690 at the end of 2012.

The crisis that Gordon Chappell is having in trying to find his wife rides is one horror story in an avalanche of horror stories. Disabled people and seniors have been put under virtual “house arrest.”

TransLink has been forced by provincial government underfunding to attempt to fix a massive problem with inadequate solutions.

Sadly every time this crisis is illuminated, Access Transit answers that 7,000 rides will be provided by a taxi pilot.

This pilot, which saw a 10,000-hour cut in Handy-Dart service hours, in no way will stem the tide of suffering caused by denials.

Doherty’s report shows that the taxi solution is not cost-effective, as TransLink claims, and the training for taxi drivers is woefully inadequate by Handy-Dart standards.

It is disheartening to read of the suffering of so many people denied affordable, safe public transportation.

More upsetting though, is that sustainable funding is not being provided by the provincial government. Provincial vaults are open when it comes to multibillion dollar mega-projects.

At the same time people like Gordon Chappell and his wife will struggle to get to life-sustaining dialysis.

Mark Beeching


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