As of September, 2017, there will be 900 additional hours allotted to the local handyDART service. As it stands, the Comox Valley system has about 11,900 service hours.
The door-to-door service is designed for people with permanent or temporary disabilities that prevent them from using fixed-route transit. Drivers pick up customers at their homes and take them to the door of their destination.
But current scheduling is not altogether practical, for those who work full-time.
In the Valley, handyDART service hours run from 8-4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. There is no weekend or holiday service.
“As it is, I find it very hard when you work, and you are working in a place where there’s not a lot of bus scheduling, if any,” said Andrea Fisher, a member of the Comox Valley Accessibility Committee who walks with crutches. “The problem I have with it (handyDART) is there’s not enough room for the general public that doesn’t use it on a regular basis but still are qualified to use it.”
Fisher, who works until 5 p.m., wishes the local service would run until 6 p.m.
BC Transit will make decisions in conjunction with local governments as to how the 900 hours will be allotted.
“We have a variety of passengers,” said John Barry, manager of communications at BC Transit. “In most cases they have a physical disability. Some of our clients are able to take conventional buses. They have a
process in the Comox Valley to evaluate their needs with them. They talk to a registered physiotherapist who can make those suggestions — what’s the best transit for you.”
For more information, visit BCTransit.com. Click on the handyDART icon at the right.