Chilliwack/Victoria – Chilliwack will see expanded handyDART service hours that will benefit seniors and persons with disabilities, thanks to funding earmarked by the province and the City of Chilliwack.
Chilliwack will receive an extra 800 hours of handyDART service annually, starting in 2017.
“handyDART is an important service for people who cannot use conventional transit and we’re providing more funding to BC Transit to help reduce the number of trip denials and increase the number of handyDART service hours,” said John Martin, MLA for Chilliwack on behalf of Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We are committed to working with BC Transit and local communities to ensure that people are getting the transit services they need to get around town, including handyDART.”
Chilliwack is the second B.C. community to cost share with the province this year for expanded handyDART services. Many senior citizens in the community who have mobility issues use handyDART, and this investment will provide 800 more hours of service to them, to better integrate them with their community, and help them stay connected with family and friends.
“As more communities sign on for expanded handyDART services, more British Columbians will have access to the services they need,” said MLA for Chilliwack-Hope, Laurie Throness. “Glad to see that Chilliwack understands the importance of handyDART to so many of their residents.”
“The handyDART service is an important part of many residents’ lives here in Chilliwack because it allows them to experience everything the city has to offer from doing their day-to-day business to participating in community events,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “By providing more handyDART service hours, we are providing a better quality of life for people with mobility issues.”
The province has increased funding for BC Transit by $12.7 million and will now be providing $324 million in operating contributions over the next three years. This funding will help municipalities throughout B.C. increase their transit services, including expanding door-to-door handyDART services in targeted communities, adding an extra 8,000 hours of handyDART services each year.
This investment aligns with Accessibility 2024 – the B.C. government’s 10-year action plan unveiled in 2014 which lists cross-government commitments that will help improve accessibility in B.C. for people with disabilities. Accessibility 2024 lays the roadmap for making B.C. the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities by 2024.
handyDART is an accessible, door-to-door transit service for people with permanent or temporary disabilities that prevent them from using fixed-route transit. The driver of the fully accessible handyDART vehicle picks the customer up at their home and takes them right to the door of their destination.