HandyDART riders call for TransLink board to be sacked

. Jeremy Lye / CKNW

Advocates for disabled transit users have taken their concerns to TransLink’s board — and one of their issues is the board itself.

Protesters with the HandyDART Riders’ Alliance gathered at the transit authority’s board meeting on Thursday, where they attacked members as “Liberal appointees.”

READ MORE: Shorter wait times and more rider availability needed for HandyDART users: Study

Alliance co-chair Beth McKellar said the group was targeting board members rather than the provincial government.

“Because I can’t get over to Victoria, and I don’t walk on water. [The] TransLink board, they shouldn’t even be there. They are still Liberal people with Liberal agendas. They are not an entity to themselves.”

READ MORE: HandyDART should not be run by a private contractor: users

That agenda, according to McKellar, includes contracting out HandyDart service, something she said would further diminish an already stretched service.

“We just don’t mean anything to people that are politicians, because we’re disabled, we’re old,” she said.

“Well guess what, people? You’re going to be that one day, too. Maybe not disabled, but you’re going to get old and when you get old, you do tend to fall and break your hip or you need a knee surgery.”

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READ MORE: New TransLink CEO faces questions over HandyDART

A province-wide survey of riders conducted earlier this year by B.C.’s seniors’ advocate found significant dissatisfaction with HandyDART service.

One third of respondents said it was failing to meet their transportation needs, with two in 10 saying it is too expensive.

McKellar said the HandyDART Riders’ Alliance wants to see the board replaced with new members more sympathetic to disabled transit users’ concerns.