HandyDart provides bus service to people with disabilities who are unable to access traditional transit.
HandyDart drivers were supported yesterday at a rally by delegates at the BC Federation of Labour convention.
Late yesterday the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities, the BC Association for Community Living and the Social Planning and Research Council of BC together called on all parties, including TransLink - which contracts the work to MVT - to resolve the dispute and resume service
The following is their news release:
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Community Agencies call for Immediate Resolution to HandyDART Strike
The BC Association for Community Living (BCACL), BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) and the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC) are calling for an immediate end to the HandyDART strike in Metro Vancouver.
“We are extremely concerned about the impact that this service interruption is having on
people with disabilities and their families in our communities,” said Faith Bodnar, Executive Director of BCACL.
The Lower Mainland’s HandyDART service is only available to people who need it for kidney dialysis or cancer treatment. The thousands of people with disabilities and seniors who rely on HandyDART to get to work, volunteer, attend medical appointments, go shopping, or visit family and friends have been stranded now for over four weeks.
“HandyDART is crucial for people with disabilities and seniors’ ability to live with
independence in the community,” said Jane Dyson, Executive Director of the BCCPD. “Most people who use HandyDART live on very low incomes, cannot afford to take taxis and have very limited transportation options available to them.”
ATU, the HandyDART staff’s union, has asked MVT, the company that operates
HandyDART, to agree to binding arbitration. MVT has rejected this proposal.
“This service interruption must be resolved as quickly as possible,” said SPARC BC Manager Emese Szucs. “We are urging MVT, ATU and TransLink to come together so that this very serious situation ends now.”
“People will become increasingly socially isolated and this is a great worry to us. With the service interruption having no end in sight, our organizations are concerned that it will drag on into the holiday season. This strike must end now,” said Dyson.