May 24, 2014 9:29 pm

HandyDART users blast $1 million plan to shift passengers to taxis

A transit rider’s group is calling on Lower Mainland mayors to include the issue of adequate funding for HandyDART services in next year’s planned referendum.

This comes after recent documents show passengers living with disabilities were denied service more than 42,000 times last year alone.

Now, TransLink is hoping more taxis will pick up the slack and has given $1 million to a pilot project where cabs will be used to transport people when HandyDART isn’t available.

As part of the expansion, 78 new wheelchair accessible taxis will be purchased to add to the existing fleet of 111.

But HandyDART users say a taxi is no substitute, especially because drivers do not have the same training to assist with people who have disabilities.

Saturday’s rally was part of a campaign aimed at Metro Vancouver officials who are now in the process of putting together a public transit  wishlist that will be put to a referendum in about a year.

Campaign organizers say that in the next decade the number of people over 70 years of age will increase by about 40 per cent.

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