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.) http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/careers/about-the-bc-public-service/diversity-inclusion-respect/accessibility2024_update_web.pdf TransLink Custom Transit Service Delivery Review – Broader Stakeholder Engagement - Summary Report. 2017. p. 16.
Attention Metro Vancouver Alliance members: Let's talk transit fares.
TransLink is undertaking a review of their fare structure, and MVA has an opportunity to get involved. We are listening to our members’ challenges around transit fares to develop a proposal to bring back to TransLink. What do you think about how and what you pay for transit? Are costs too high? Are zones annoying? Do you want options for family travel? What about paying different rates for off peak hours, or on less-used routes?
Based on feedback from half a dozen house meetings, our online Ethelo forum, and more, we have drafted three proposals:
- Free transit for children under 12, and 50% discount for children 12-18
- Low income transit pass
- Fare capping
We have shared our draft proposals with the TransLink Fare Review team and they are running them through their modelling process this summer.
In the meantime, we want to come back to you, our members, and keep talking. We did our best to create proposals that would meet most of the needs of most of you. How did we do? What could be improved?
Here are some options for us to explore the proposals together:
- Invite us to your next community/organization meeting
- Schedule a house meeting
- Conduct a series of one-on-ones
Call us. Email us. Invite us to dinner. We want to hear from you.
Not an MVA member? Contact us anyway! It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Email us at email@example.com to get a copy of the proposal or to schedule a meeting. We'd like to talk to as many of you as we can.
Public transit service levels in the Metro Vancouver area have remained practically unchanged over the past seven years. In that same period demand has soared. Extreme overcrowding has eroded reliability and safety, especially for those with disabilities or frailties. HandyDART service is limited and has seen an eight-fold increase in trip denials in only the last four years.
Metro Vancouver residents will be asked to vote on a 0.5 per cent hike in B.C.’s Provincial Sales Tax to fund new transit projects, in a referendum this March. The referendum is seeking a public decision on the transportation funding measures identified by the Metro Vancouver Mayor’s Council.
The Mayor’s funding plan advocates for more transit routes, more buses and HandyDART vans, more options for cyclists, and increased service all over the region.
A yes vote in the referendum means
• More buses
• An increase in service levels
• More safety & security for passengers
• Less overcrowding
• More reliability
• Less of a carbon footprint on the environment
• Infrastructure improvements
For more information download our leaflet.
A yes vote in the transit and transportation referendum is a fair and equitable solution.
Will you help us get a yes vote?
What is RouteSpeak?
RouteSpeak is a citizen led transit improvement network which will develop proposals for TransLink to address and provide accountability back to the community. The goal is to make transit more accessible, affordable and reliable and to build a civic structure which will increase the strength of our communities through engagement and leadership development.
Through transit forums held by MVA across Metro Vancouver, the following became clear:
- The immediate, deep, and broad impact of public transportation on the health and inclusion in public life, particularly for vulnerable people.
- The general lack of knowledge and cynicism concerning civic authority and service delivery, which addresses legitimacy of governance.
- The powerful response by participants, showing that neighborhood-based education and engagement had significant potential to activate a broad range of citizens, especially among people who would find it difficult to participate otherwise.
RouteSpeak will develop a true consultative relationship between TransLink and interested citizens and replace cynicism with positive action through education and prioritized needs of local communities.
What is RouteSpeak doing now?
We have a cluster of member organizations in South Vancouver that are coming together through the RouteSpeak project to solve local transit and transportation issues.
We had our first neighbourhood walk on Saturday April 9. About twenty of us canvassed the area around the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House at 49th and Victoria. We talked to people getting on and off busses; we talked to local businesses; and we walked the streets watching for accessibility impediments. We found residents and people passing through that area very eager to talk about public transit.
Our second walk in the Champlain Heights neighbourhood was on Saturday May 28. The loudest complaint we have heard from the South Van cluster is about the rerouting of the 49 bus. The route changes went into effect at the end of June. We will continue to work in this area to understand how the rerouting is affecting people, and then develop a proposal to bring reliable and accessible service back to this neighbourhood.
We are also turning to the residents who live south of Marine Drive. There is very little transit available down here. We surveyed shoppers and vendors at the River District farmers market in August to find out more. We're now compiling all the data we've got, looking to fill in some holes, and brainstorming route-based solutions. TransLink and City of Vancouver planners are listening.
If you live in the area, or you have computer skills to help us with the data analysis, join the team!