The minister responsible for TransLink has given an ultimatum to the company where it concerns those with disabilities and the SkyTrain station fare gates.
Peter Fassbender says he told Translink the fare gates cannot be closed until they ensure everyone can get through including those with accessibility issues.
“We clearly have sent a message to TransLink that our expectation is that they will ensure that every person who wants access to transit will be able to do that. Before any gates are closed they will be working with the various people within that community to make sure they have a solution.”
Fassbender says the provincial government has told TransLink it cannot close the fare gates as scheduled on April 8th unless there is a solution for the disabled.
“It was very clear from the government’s point of view a solution has to be in place before any gates are closed so that those people that are affected will be assured that they have access.”
“I don’t know that they are looking at extending the deadline but if they don’t have a solution our expectation is that the gates would stay open.”
Fassbender was asked why Translink hadn’t figured this out when it had been working on the fare gates program for years.
He says they are working on it.
“They are looking to ensure that they have a solution for anyone whether they are a person with a disability, a senior, any of the people who need access to transit will be assured that they will have it.”
Jane Dyson with the Disability Alliance of B-C is applauding the move.
“I’m delighted to hear Minister Fassbender’s commitment to ensure that TransLink is required to keep the gates open until there’s a good solution to this problem.”
Dyson says this is a proactive approach from the province after her organization blasted TransLink’s proposed solution for the disabled.
“And we do look forward to working with TransLink and other community members to develop solutions which wil ensure that people with disabilities and seniors can access the Compass and fare gates unassisted.”
Dyson says seniors and the disabled want to access transit without having to ask for help, just like everybody else.
Yesterday TransLink said those with disabilities who cannot tap in and out will have to call at the station or arrange ahead of time for an attendant to help them out.