Most White Rock bus stops don’t fare well on ‘accessibility’

TransLink focuses on improving accessibility for wheelchair and scooter users

One of White Rock’s 100 bus stops.

One of White Rock’s 100 bus stops.

Wheelchair and scooter users may have a difficult time getting on a bus in White Rock.

Only 48 of the city’s 100 bus stops are accessible, according to Translink’s Access Transit department.

Out of 19 municipalities surveyed, White Rock has the fourth lowest percentage, ahead of Belcarra/Anmore, Pitt Meadows and Port Coquitlam.

By comparison, 76 per cent of Surrey’s 1,370 bus stops are accessible.

Nearly one-third of people living in White Rock are seniors, making accessible public transportation particularly important in the city. One of the biggest obstacles for wheelchairs is a lack of concrete pads at bus stops.

“The concrete pads are quite large and it’s challenging to put these in front of homes,” said Greg St. Louis, White Rock’s director of municipal operations, adding the city is aiming to increase the number of wheelchair-accessible bus stops by working with developers when a project is built.

But, he added, these results are hindered by the lack of new construction in White Rock.

Providing accessible bus stops is difficult for a number of Lower Mainland municipalities because of tough geography, Sarah Chung, Access Transit community relations co-ordinator, told Peace Arch News last week.

“We’ll probably never get to 100 per cent because of the grade of certain areas,” she said, adding that when bus stops aren’t equipped properly, riders with limited mobility are forced to get off at another stop.

White Rock is reaching Access Transit’s goal of increasing the number of accessible stops in the Lower Mainland by two per cent each year. Since February 2013, the number has jumped four per cent, while Surrey’s inched up one per cent.

St. Louis is aiming to see the number increase similarly in the next few years.

Bowen Island and West Vancouver, at 100 and 89 per cent respectively, fared the best in the survey, although only a limited number of stops were examined. Closer to home, Langley’s 340 bus stops have a 74 per cent accessibility rate, while Delta’s 538 stops rated lower, at 51 per cent.

 

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