Laura Baziuk | Email news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
Advocates for seniors and people with disabilities are speechless after Translink announced it is phasing out the TaxiSaver service.
For the past 20 years, TaxiSaver allowed HandyDart customers to call for a cab ride at half the price.
Translink expects the move will save more than 3 million dollars over the next three years -- to be reinvested into HandyDart.
But Jill Weiss, chair of the City of Vancouver’s persons with disabilities advisory committee, says thousands of people will likely suffer 'devastating' effects.
"That option is no longer going to be available for seniors and people with disabilities. And I just have no words to describe what that's going to mean."
She says if she was running Translink, she would double both the HandyDart and TaxiSaver services because they are just that important for people.
“If you're running a fever and you need to go to the doctor and you can't get a HandyDart ride, you can use your TaxiSavers.
She adds HandyDart is unable to provide same-day service most of the time.
“Translink has said they're doing this so that people will get proper care with their rides. Excuse me, but when you spend 45 minutes to an hour (waiting) for a five-minute HandyDart ride, that is not proper care. If you use your TaxiSavers, the taxi comes in five or ten minutes and it just takes the same amount of time as driving. That's proper transportation."
Translink says the program will be phased out starting in July.
Coupons will no longer be accepted as of June 2013.