Senior citizens and persons with mobility issues in Comox Valley will benefit from an expansion of the handyDART service in the community, thanks to funding set aside by the province and the Comox Valley Regional District.
Comox Valley is among the first communities in British Columbia to cost-share with the Province this year for expanded handyDART services. It will receive 900 hours of handyDART service annually, starting in 2017.
“We are committed to improving quality of life for seniors and individuals with disabilities by making public transportation an easy and reliable way for them to access community services and supports,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone said. “We’re providing more funding to BC Transit to help bring the handyDART service to communities like Comox Valley, to ensure people are getting the service they need to get around town.”
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 across 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.
“I’m so pleased that Comox Valley residents who need it will have access to the services of handyDART,” Comox Valley MLA Don McRae said. “This service will make it much easier and more convenient for our seniors and those with mobility issues to get to appointments or go on outings.”
"Having the handyDART service in Comox Valley will make a positive difference in the lives of many of our residents, providing them with better access to appointments, shopping and visiting with friends and family,” said Bruce Jolliffe, chair of the Comox Valley Regional District board. “Many senior citizens and people with disabilities in our community have mobility issues and this investment will help them to better engage in the community and live their lives to the fullest.”
“handyDART is an important part of our overall strategy as it supports independence for people and keeps them connected to their community,” said Manuel Achadinha, president and CEO of BC Transit. “The additional funding from the province and the Comox Valley Regional District allows us to continue to expand sustainable transportation services across the province.”
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.