Revolt of the HandyDart Riders

ED. TransLink’s management incompetence is evident in it’s incapacity to negotiate a proper service agreement with the American firm MTV now running the HandyDart services.  The agreement allows MTV to reduce service reliability, increase profits however it wishes, and completely ignore customer  needs. An agreement like this should never have been signed. This is just another example of how TransLink treats ALL it’s customers and how the current government bends over backward to give business whatever they want.

By Todd Brayer, Yesterday, TheTyee.ca

Demanding end to strike that keeps them at home, 50 storm Translink’s office.

More than 50 HandyDart riders from all over the Lower Mainland flooded TransLink’s Metrotown head office yesterday to protest in support of striking drivers.

So many came that while protesters met with TransLink communications director Ken Hardie in a board room, more than 20 waited outside in the small waiting area on the 16th floor of the Metrotower II building. Office workers looked on as elevator after elevator unloaded people in wheelchairs, on walkers and on foot.

Afterwards in the company waiting room, HandyDart user Candice Larscheid delivered a speech to acting TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis and Hardie demanding they “help the elderly, sick and disabled get back their mobility.”

The daughter of long-time B.C. sports commentator Tom Larscheid, she shared his oratory skills.

“What’s going on around here is uncalled for,” said Larscheid, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

“Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of staying home,” she said.

Robert Lepage's The Blue Dragon.  Feb 2nd-27th, 2010

“Since HandyDart has been on strike, I’ve spent over $700 to get around,” she said. “Half of us are spending our life savings to get out or not getting out at all.”

Many HandyDart riders have had to take taxis over the last month, she said.

Service said to drop under MVT

Larscheid said TransLink did not take riders into account when it signed an agreement with MVT Canada Bus, a subsidiary of MV Transport, an American company based in California who bid successfully on the contract to run HandyDart last year. They took over HandyDart operations in January of this year.

The quality of the service plummeted when they took over, Larscheid said.

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