The handyDART is a fully accessible bus ideal for persons with mobility issues.

Local handyDART service not as handy as it sounds

Current scheduling leaves full-time workers stranded

  • Jul. 8, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

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.

 

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