TransLink is defending its operation of HandyDART, after a critical letter from the union president. (HandyDART Users Guide)

TransLink is defending its operation of HandyDART, after a critical letter from the union president. (HandyDART Users Guide)

LETTER: TransLink boosted HandyDART service while reducing fees, VP says

Public transit provider lays out improvements and upcoming initiatives

Dear Editor,

Re: [LETTER: TransLink mayors and board shortchanging HandyDART, union says, mapleridgenews.com, June 13]

HandyDART is a critical service for nearly 25,000 customers who are unable to independently use the conventional system, approximately 70 per cent of whom are seniors. I want to be clear that we are committed to expanding and improving HandyDART for our customers.

Here is why and how we are going to do that.

We will increase HandyDART service by three per cent next year, which follows a 17 per cent increase over the last five years. We are also seeking to increase service by 60 per cent over the next decade, while extending service hours to 24 hours a day.

The electrification of our entire HandyDART fleet is also planned for, as laid out in our Climate Action Strategy. This is a major part of TransLink’s plan to reach net zero emissions, as we collectively work to combat climate change.

We recently lowered HandyDART fares for seniors and introduced Compass readers on every vehicle. This not only made HandyDART more affordable, but also made the service easier to use.

We work hard to make sure HandyDART delivers excellent customer service, and we are committed to constantly making it better by listening to our customers. We regularly hear from users about their experience, and satisfaction scores for HandyDART remain high. The current overall satisfaction, on-time performance, and ease of booking scores all exceed the ratings we received in 2019. With 94 per cent of trips arriving on-time last year, HandyDART provides reliable service for our customers.

We know approximately one-quarter of our customers rely on HandyDART to get to critical dialysis treatments, around one-fifth use the service to get to important medical appointments, and so many more use the service for groceries, or visiting family and friends.

HandyDART is an essential resource for the community that we’re dedicated to investing in and improving.

Sarah Ross, TransLink VP, transportation planning and policy

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• READ MORE: Mask mandate lifted for public transit except HandyDART

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