The ongoing struggles that HandyDart clients are suffering can be directly attributed to a lack of service hours.
The disabled and senior users of the system had to fight TransLink and the provincial government to get rid of eight contracts that posed ridiculous barriers. It took 30 years to provide a training program that truly met the needs of HandyDart passengers. Three decades was too long to struggle for a basic human right.
Now TransLink is forced by continual downloading by the provincial government and financial mismanagement to find cost savings. Now disabled people and seniors are asked to pay. Constant cries that there is no money is never questioned despite massive cost overruns, executive raises and corporate tax cuts.
Sadly, rather than recognizing there is money to provide a service that saves the health care system money, the ridership are being asked to accept that taxis are a feasible solution. It is a ludicrous suggestion that investing heavily in training process for taxi drivers could replace the intensive regimen of training and evaluation that HandyDart drivers go through yearly.
It is short-sighted and unfair for TransLink to plan to cut HandyDart hours and increase taxi hours in the next three years. The provincial government must stop its drive to feed the one-per-cent’s pockets and making the least able in society pay for necessary services.
Mark Beeching, Langley