The minister responsible for TransLink says the transit utility’s solution to help disabled SkyTrain riders get through fare gates will do… for now.
Peter Fassbender says the move to post staff at fare gates during peak periods and keep a gate open during off peak travel times is fine for the short term.
“I believe as an interim solution what TransLink is going to do is going to meet the needs of people with disabilities, which was our concern that they needed to be treated with respect and have full unfettered access to the system like anyone else does. I believe their solution as an interim step will do that.”
But Fassbender admits keeping a fare gate open during off peak periods for disabled riders will create opportunities for fare cheats.
“Well I think there is a risk that the same people who are disingenuous and are not paying their fares may take advantage of a gate being open. I think that is sad. I think they have a responsibility to be responsible. But that is a bit of a measured risk that TransLink knows they are taking.”
Fassbender says TransLink needs to find a more robust long term solution like giving disabled riders radio frequency chips automatically triggering a fare gate to open.
Good first step
A former Vancouver city Councillor who uses a wheelchair and has lost mobility of his arms call change a “move in the right direction.”
But Tim Louis says a more permanent solution is warranted.
“With the amazing power of technology it us unfortunate that TransLink has not found a technology solution that would enable not just equal access but equality.”
“I have to say it is particularly astounding that TransLink did not put their mind to this problem far in advance of the Compass Card roll out.”
Louis also calls the compass card roll out a “disaster.”
Fare gate fix
The transit authority announced its solution to allow people with disabilities to get through Compass fare gates earlier this afternoon.
A staff member will be on hand to open the gate for someone with a disability during peak hours.
During off peak hours if it can’t have someone at the fare gates, then the accessible gate will be left open to allow disabled riders to come and go.
Translink says the fix will keep things within existing budgets.
And it will also allow it to stick with its plan to begin closing fare gates on April 4th and have them all closed by April 8th.
They found themselves in hot water after initially telling disabled riders they would have to call ahead or in station to be let through gates.
That didn’t cut it with TransLink minister Peter Fassbender who told the transportation authority to find a fix before closing the gates.