TransLink is yet to reveal its long term plan for supporting customers with disabilities. And the need for it was made even more apparent today when Kayla Cox one of our listeners tweeted at me this morning:
Then followed it up with…
Back on April 18 B.C.’s minister responsible for TransLink said “the deadline is “now” for TransLink to find a long-term solution to the issue of fare gate accessibility for the disabled”
It’s now almost a month later and we’ve heard nothing from TransLink, who had publicly committed to their own three month time-line.
On March 2 when it was announced that fare gates would close, CKNW reporter Janet Brown asked TransLink how people with disabilities would tap in at the fare gates and access the system.
TransLink fumbled and said disabled people could use the phone to call ahead for someone to meet them at the gates. After we made a lot of radio-noise about this so-called solution TransLink revealed they didn’t have actually have a plan.
“Fair” gate ultimatum
From that noise Fassbender later that same day told TransLink to either come up with a solution or keep the gates open.
TransLink came up with an interim plan the next week where the gates would have attendants at peak times to help people tap in with their Compass cards. Outside of peak hours when no attendant was at the gates, TransLink said the disabled access gates would be left open—a fair interim solution.
Soon after, on March 11, Fassbender said he was satisfied with this Interim solution.
Now, two months on and TransLink is yet to come up with a viable solution.
And as for the interim solution, there’s been nothing but complaints from people with disabilities getting stuck at stations with no attendants.
Just search “TransLink” on the CKNW website and read the stories that pop up.
TransLink doesn’t have a plan
It told us it doesn’t “have anything to report at the moment, other than to say we’re working towards a solution for our customers who are not able to tap a Compass Card at fare gates. At a press conference last month CEO Kevin Desmond set a three-month timeline to determine the potential options for these customers.”
Until that plan is revealed and we get a chance to scrutinize it, the complaints will continue to roll in.
Quite frankly there should have been a solution before the fair gates were even installed. But TransLink knows that, it just doesn’t seem to care about making equal access for everyone a priority
Passengers with disabilities speak out
If Kayla Cox who uses a wheel chair wants to come downtown and the elevators are out on New West’s westbound platform, she needs to double back to Scott Road. In other words, just to get herself on the train heading in the right direction, she has to travel east towards Surrey. This adds an extra 15 to 20 minutes to her trip.
If Luke Galvani wants to use transit he needs to call ahead for an attendant as he cannot lift his arms to tap. He was stranded at the Burrard SkyTrain station last month as there were no attendants to help.
Our intern Ben Dooley, who uses a wheelchair isn’t able to get on the Expo Line SkyTrain at the Granville station because its elevator is unreliable. So, he has to hop on CanadaLine’s Vancouver City Centre Station and take the train to Waterfront Station where he can reliably transfer to the Expo Line. Dooley has to factor in an extra 10 to 15 minutes to his trip to our studios EVERYDAY.
Nearly a month ago, Fassbender told CKNW that the time for a solution “now.”
It’s time for TransLink to take this seriously and get a fix NOW. Not three months from now!
Disability advocates say progress is slow
On April 18 we asked Jane Dyson with Disability Alliance BC if TransLink had asked her organization for feedback on how to make fare gates more accessible. Dyson said TransLink hadn’t contacted her.
“No I haven’t (heard from TransLink) and I would welcome hearing from them,” she said.
I reached out Dyson this afternoon and she said she has been speaking with representatives from TransLink every 2 weeks. However hasn’t yet had a meeting with the new CEO Kevin Desmond, despite her requests.
Time for TransLink to act now
I’ve noticed since March anytime the media, including us here at CKNW, the TV stations or newspapers write of or talk about TransLink in a negative way there’s usually a half assed response from TransLink with a promise to work on it.
Well TransLink, you’ve given yourself three months to table a solution, but according to Fassbender claim that that time was April 18, which tells me you’re almost a month late on a solution. But in reality you’re seven years late, as this should have been squared away in 2009.