Mother says bridge toll company discriminates against parents of special needs kids

Mother says bridge toll company discriminates against parents of special needs kids
WATCH: A Maple Ridge mother says the company responsible for bridge tolls is discriminating against parents of special needs children, and costing her hundreds of dollars of year. Catherine Urquhart reports.

Melissa Crowhurst is a busy woman. The Maple Ridge mom has three children under the age of five, all of them on the autism spectrum.

Charlie, Andrea and Max require daily therapy sessions and that means multiple trips over the tolled Port Mann Bridge every week.

“It’s several hundreds of dollars a year to get over the bridge to get to therapies,” Crowhurst said.

TReO does offer a disability exemption, but it excludes children because they can’t own or lease a vehicle.

“You can have more than one owner so we went to ICBC to try to get our oldest son registered as one of the co-owners of the vehicle,” Crowhurst said. “Our insurance person told us she would look into it and then she called me back and said she talked to ICBC and they wouldn’t do it.”

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“This could be very costly. It’s very disappointing to hear about this lack of exemption for families with kids with disabilities,” disability advocate Jane Dyson said.

The Transportation Investment Corporation, which manages the Port Mann Bridge, admits they have received multiple complaints about the fact disabled children don’t qualify for the tolling exemption.

It’s now promising to review the issue.

“Right now we’re in the early stages of a review,” Transportation Investment Corporation’s Greg Johnson said. “We recognize that there are customers that want to be included. We want to make sure that we can do that so that’s why we’re going back and doing a review.”

Crowhurst remains hopeful that a change in tolling policy is forthcoming.

“It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it adds up,” she said.

– With files from Catherine Urquhart