Letters to the Editor

HandyDART layoffs hurt those it serves

Last year, TransLink delivered more and better service “more efficiently” and achieved “record-level customer satisfaction.”

This is the opening statement in TransLink’s invitation to its annual general meeting on May 29.

That statement is a travesty. Over 30,000 HandyDART trips were denied last year. TransLink has taken 10,000 hours of Handy-DART service and given it to taxis. Up to 28 HandyDART drivers are to be laid off on July 22.

Devastating working people’s lives and forcing vulnerable people into taxis is no answer to a crisis. HandyDART passengers are not “satisfied” while being stranded in their homes. HandyDART passengers receive safe, door-to-door service in a HandyDART when they can get it. Taxi trips cannot replace HandyDART, a service that took over 30 years to build.

Eroding HandyDART by removing hours of service and dispatching cabs is not a solution. HandyDART’s drivers have training and accountability that will never be equalled by the taxi industry.

The provincial government ran under a “family first” banner. Now untold HandyDART passengers are put at risk and HandyDART drivers are forced on to the streets to look for employment.

Instead of taking the carbon tax and improving public transit, the provincial government and TransLink hurt the very people they are meant to serve.

 

Mark Beeching

Langley

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