The Province is providing more funding to BC Transit to significantly increase handyDART service hours in Victoria, benefiting persons with disabilities and seniors, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone announced today.
Victoria is among the first communities in British Columbia, along with Chilliwack, Merritt and Kamloops, to cost-share with the Province this year for expanded handyDART services. It will receive 4,000 hours of handyDART service annually, starting this year.
“The expanded handyDART service hours in Victoria will help seniors, people with disabilities and those with mobility issues to get around town, to connect with family members, friends, attend health-care appointments, and community activities,” said Stone. “This investment will go a long way to reduce the number of trip denials and boost handyDART service for those with who rely on this important transit service.”
The provincial government 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. Kamloops is the first B.C. community to sign on for the expansion in handyDART services. BC Transit is also having discussions with other communities throughout B.C. to consider expanding handyDART services.
“With the support of the Province, we are now able to move forward with much needed service expansion in the Capital Region,” says VRTC chair Susan Brice. “This initial investment in handyDART service will help address an immediate need in the region.”
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.
Many senior citizens who have mobility issues use handyDART, and this investment will provide more service hours for them, to better integrate them with their community, and help them stay connected with family and friends.
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.