HandyDART riders file human rights complaint against Premier Christy Clark and TransLink for inadequate service

Beth McKellar outside Human Rights Tribunal offices in Vancouver.

THE HandyDART Riders’ Alliance on Wednesday filed a class-action complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal alleging discrimination in the form of inadequate HandyDART service. The complaint alleges inferior transit service is provided to people with physical and mental disabilities compared to people who can use conventional public transit.

“We are filing this complaint today because we want it to be clear that Christy Clark and the BC Liberal government are responsible for this discrimination people with disabilities have faced since 2009,” said HandyDART Riders’ Alliance Co-chair Beth McKellar who filed the complaint on behalf of all HandyDART riders. “We hope the Human Rights Commission will order future provincial governments to improve the quality of service and increase the HandyDART service hours provided by fully trained drivers in HandyDART buses.”

The complaint states: “People are being denied access to transit because they are unable to use conventional transit without assistance. Dignity & self-esteem are damaged. Safety is put at risk. People are being isolated from family, friends and community.” The complaint also notes that TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond stated that bringing HandyDART in-house to improve service quality would cost too much.

“People have been feeling imprisoned in their own homes for years as a result of this unjust treatment,” said HandyDART Riders’ Alliance board member Roseanne Shannon. “But this is not just for people who are disabled now, our population is aging rapidly and with that the number of people needing HandyDART will increase rapidly too.”

The complaint was filed against Clark, former TransLink Minister Peter Fassbender, and Minister of Transportation Todd Stone, along with TransLink and the US-based corporation TransLink contracts to run HandyDART.