TransLink pledges full review of HandyDart

Promise to rethink service standards, contracting out wins praise from users

HandyDart Riders Alliance co-chair Tim Louis praised new TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond's commitment to a full review of how HandyDart service is delivered.

HandyDart Riders Alliance co-chair Tim Louis praised new TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond's commitment to a full review of how HandyDart service is delivered.

TransLink will conduct an extensive review of how it runs the HandyDart system to decide whether the paratransit service should remain contracted out or brought back in house, as well as other potential changes.

The commitment from new CEO Kevin Desmond came after he met with disability advocates and agreed on the new process to address their long-standing complaints about the service operated by U.S. contractor MVT.

“We’re going to go through a review to find what the best way and what the best model is going to be,” Desmond said, adding review will happen in late 2016.

Also to be reviewed are service standards and policies, how they should be set and whether they should change.

“It doesn’t matter who is providing the service, it is our job and our responsibility to ensure our customers get quality of service,” Desmond said.

He said the review will also consider how much subsidized use of taxis should happen as an alternative to HandyDart.

TransLink had stepped up its use of taxis in recent years to accommodate more trip requests, reaching 8.3 per cent of HandyDart trips delivered by taxi last year.

HandyDart users have repeatedly complained about service from both the contracted HandyDart door-to-door shuttle service and taxis, as well as trip denials when the service isn’t available.

Desmond said some taxi use is common and a “best practice” in other jurisdictions, but said TransLink needs to get the balance right.

HandyDart Riders Alliance co-chair Tim Louis said he’s pleased Desmond has agreed to have an outside expert compare whether public or private sector delivery of the service is best.

He said the users believe the current contracted service means millions of dollars disappear from the region each year in profit to the private operator.

“If that profit were used instead here in the region to raise service levels, HandyDart service levels could be raised,” Louis said. “What we would like to see is a win-win situation where taxpayers get better bang for their bucks and users get a higher level of service at no cost to the taxpayer.”

A stakeholder advisory committee is also promised to oversee the review and Louis said that should help ensure everyone can come together behind whatever final service delivery model is decided.

He credited Desmond for helping find common ground and said the new CEO has made “very speedy progress” both on the HandyDart service concerns and in identifying a solution for disabled access through faregates.

TransLink’s contract with MVT to run HandyDart expires at the end of 2016, but it’s expected to be temporarily extended pending the results of the review.

 

Just Posted

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press photo)
Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Delta

Police say the thefts are on the rise across the city, with seven incidents on Thursday, June 17

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read