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.

 

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

Just Posted

Fraser Health has announced another COVID exposure at Brookswood Secondary. (Google Maps)
Brookswood Secondary latest Langley school with COVID exposure

The alert follows alerts at five schools over the weekend

Langley 4-H junior member, Juliet, was a Field to Fork winner. (4-H BC/Special to the Aldergrove Star)
VIDEO: Field to Fork challenge brings together youth and BC grown foods

Two Langley residents earned recognition for their cooking creations using homegrown ingredients

Langley Regional Airport terminal building. (Langley Advance Times files)
Police refuse to comment on fate of arrested border jumper

It has been more than a year since the ERT arrested a man at Langley Regional Airport

Around 50 Township firefighters responded to a barn fire in Aldergrove Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)
Send your letter to the editor via email to <a href="mailto:editor@langleyadvancetimes.com"><strong>editor@langleyadvancetimes.com</strong></a>. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Governments need to do more to aid businesses during COVID

Consumers need to realize the economic impact that buying online has on struggling local companies

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Most Read