TransLink's budget for the HandyDart door-to-door custom transit service has been frozen for the last five years. An increase may depend on it being included as a priority to be voted on in a 2015 referendum.

HandyDart service denials ‘house arrest’

TransLink tax referendum needs seniors' yes votes to win, planner says

HandyDart trip denials climbed again in 2013 and critics say the increasingly constrained access to TransLink’s custom transit service is unfair to the disabled and elderly.

There were 42,418 service denials where requests couldn’t be accommodated due to constrained capacity – 3.5 per cent of all trips. That was up from 37,690 in 2012 and represents an eight-fold increase in the last four years.

“We have committed no crime and yet are sentenced to house arrest when demand for rides outstrips capacity to provide rides because politicians won’t make transit funding a priority,” said HandyDart Riders Alliance spokesperson Tim Louis, a former Vancouver councillor.

A further 0.9 per cent of HandyDart trips requested were refused, meaning they couldn’t be provided at the requested time and the customer wouldn’t accept an offer of an alternate time of up to an hour sooner or later.

TransLink’s HandyDart budget has been frozen for five years and no new money is available.

But Coast Mountain Bus Co. transit services director Martin Lay said the number of trips provided has been increased by shifting 10,000 service hours from HandyDart mini-buses to taxis.

Lay said the strategy is to provide as much service as efficiently as possible with the money available.

Transportation planner Eric Doherty said the population of older seniors and people with disabilities has rapidly increased in Metro Vancouver, and the number of residents over 70 is set to grow 40 per cent over the next decade.

He said it appears extra money for HandyDart will depend on Metro Vancouver mayors making it one of the expansion priorities to be voted on as part of a 2015 referendum on new TransLink taxes.

Both demographics and politics support including an increase for the HandyDart budget in TransLink’s expansion plan, Doherty argued.

“There’s obviously a crisis in the HandyDart system,” he said. “Seniors vote. If the mayors actually want to have this referendum pass, they need to make sure that seniors can vote for things like HandyDart and washrooms at transit stations – things that specifically speak to their needs.”

Just Posted

First-time Langley mayor’s gala raises $856,000

Final numbers are in for last month’s gala – $856,000 raised, $600,000 of which goes to hospital.

Langley ‘Gala’ helps fund ER expansion

Langley Mayor’s Gala raises $600,000 for Langley Memorial Hospital expansion

Young Giants make Worlds

Two forwards from the Langley-based WHL team were picked today to represent Canada.

Where to find Langley election results

Times reports as ballots are tallied Saturday

Langley Rams look for repeat victory Saturday, heading into semifinals

Finishing second in the regular season, Langley hosts its first playoff game in four years.

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Most Read