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No cutbacks, just changes
Re: Overhaul HandyDart, Aug. 15 letters.
In response to Phyllis Ogis’ letter to the editor, I would like to assure your readers that HandyDart service is not being cut back.
In fact, the number of trips is being increased for persons with disabilities in Metro Vancouver.
TransLink strives to find ways to serve the transportation needs of people with disabilities, while also operating efficiently and within our means. We are working hard to make the best use of existing resources and delivering as many trips as possible.
HandyDart trip bookings are based on customer demand. This year, trip denials have risen – from 1.5 per cent of trips provided in 2011 to three per cent in 2012 – and continue to be an ongoing concern.
In response, TransLink began a pilot taxi project last April that reallocated 10,000 hours of budgeted HandyDart service to taxis. Under this pilot, those who are able to make a trip by taxi on select routes will have that service, freeing up trips for others whose needs are best met by HandyDart vehicles.
It is expected that through diverting these service hours, HandyDart will realize an increase of 7,000 customer trips without an increase to the budget. More importantly, this will reduce the number of trips that are denied for our most dependent customers, who have limited or no other transportation options in the region.
TransLink recognizes the growing demand for both conventional and custom transit. The people who live here and the officials who they elect to represent them are discussing how best to meet that challenge.
The use of taxis to provide some HandyDART trips is one step in developing a more efficient and sustainable transit system that will continue to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities.
Doug Kelsey, TransLink CEO