Ryan King’s autism support dog Walter was initially refused access to a TransLink community shuttle on Nov. 10, despite the fact the BC Guide Dog-certified yellow lab had all the proper documentation as well as the signature blue vest. (File photo)

TransLink apologizes for White Rock driver’s autism-support dog comment: grandma

Investigation into Nov. 10 incident ongoing

A White Rock woman who filed a complaint with TransLink after a driver initially denied bus access to her grandson’s autism-support dog says she has received an apology.

READ MORE: Autism support dog refused bus access for being a ‘pet’

Margaret Kay told Peace Arch News Monday (Nov. 18) that she received an email “basically saying that they apologize for the comment that the bus driver made” on the day in question.

The email didn’t specify which comment, but Kay emphasized that TransLink has also advised that their investigation into the matter is ongoing, and she is hopeful it results in better education and awareness around service dogs in public.

TransLink officials on Friday confirmed that its customer support team had reached out to Kay, but would not disclose any details of the interaction to PAN, citing privacy.

Kay filed a complaint with the bus company on Nov. 10, after she and her grandson Ryan King were told by a community shuttle driver that they couldn’t bring King’s autism-support dog, Walter, on board as he was “a pet” – a description Kay vehemently disputes.

The trio had wanted a two-block ride on the shuttle, after King, 20, became too tired to finish the return stretch of their round-trip promenade walk.

But while nine-year-old Walter was harnessed and properly attired with a blue vest identifying him as a support dog, and despite Kay providing proof of provincial certification for both herself and King, the driver “didn’t want us on the bus,” King told Peace Arch News last week.

Kay told PAN she argued with the driver about Walter’s public-access rights for 20 minutes before another passenger pointed out a notice on the back of the driver’s seat that states service animals are permitted.

Then, it was another five minutes of reviewing Kay and King’s certification documentation before the bus continued on its route, with the trio among its passengers.

Shortly after, when King activated the next-stop signal, the driver commented, “all that for two stops?” Kay told PAN.

Media relations officer Dan Mountain confirmed to PAN that bus operators “are trained that assistance animals certified by the British Columbia Guide Animal Act are allowed on public transit.”

Kay reiterated Monday that her main goal of going public with the experience was to raise awareness around the accessibility rights of service dogs.

“That’s what we’re after, that people be aware that service dogs have rights,” she said.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock’s promenade to close to the public

Public access to popular waterfront walkway closing April 10: city

Christopherson Steps, 1,001 Steps closed due to COVID-19

Access restricted to Crescent Beach over Easter weekend, City of Surrey announces

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

APRIL 8: White Rock to close its promenade, 45 new COVID-19 cases, including five more deaths

Young Muslims offer helping hand to isolated residents throughout Lower Mainland

Neighbourhood Helper campaign aims to get help to people who can’t leave their homes

Earl Marriott rugby alum named winner of prestigious UBC award

Michael Smith presented with Jama Mahlalela Award for accomplishments on and off rugby pitch

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read

l -->