On April 4, 2017, Metro Vancouver Alliance asked the provincial party leaders to support our efforts on Economic Justice, Affordable Housing, Accessible Transit and a Strong Foundation for Healthcare at the provincial level.
Our listening campaign last fall identified a variety of transit problems: trip turndowns; taxi safety; full buses; poor timing; not enough services for seniors; long commutes; and a demand to expand all forms of custom transit.
HandyDART systems serve over 60,000 active clients each year across British Columbia, and half of the rides provided are here in Metro Vancouver. We found in our research that Metro Vancouver is not the only region where HandyDART is underfunded. A chronic shortage of HandyDART service has resulted in social isolation, missed medical appointments, and other negative effects.
The population of people over 70 years old will continue to increase rapidly in BC over the next decade. In 2014 the Government of British Columbia committed to become "the most progressive jurisdiction in Canada for people with disabilities—where disabilities are no barrier to living full lives."
At the assembly we asked candidates to:
- Commit to providing funding through a special grant to increase HandyDART vehicle service hours by 5% per year for the next four years, 2018–2021, for all TransLink and BC Transit HandyDART services. The funding for TransLink would be in addition to the service increases in 2018 and 2019 already supported through municipal property taxes.
And we committed to:
- Providing the Premier, ministers, and provincial government staff with political support, testimony, and case studies to bolster their funding decisions on HandyDART services.
Both John Horgan (NDP) and Andrew Weaver (Green) agreed to work with us. We will be following up in the weeks and months to come to see our ask come to fruition. "True mobility means no trip denials."
Watch video of the assembly. (Skip ahead to 2:20 to see Bet's HandyDART testimony.)