Grassroots action by people with disabilities, seniors saves Taxi Saver

Congratulations to the activists, especially Jill Weiss, chair of the city’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, who kept up the polite, factual, relentless pressure that resulted in Translink’s decision to keep the Taxi Saver program.

Today’s announcement by Translink board chair Nancy Olewiler, reversing the decision to cancel Taxi Saver, is a direct result of the public forums organized to give people with disabilities and seniors a voice on this issue. They continued to speak up even after the media focus had moved elsewhere.

Olewiler’s statement this afternoon said:

TransLink’s Board of Directors will maintain the TaxiSaver program, reversing its original decision to eliminate the program.

The original decision grew out of discussions on how to meet growing demand for custom transit services, including HandyDART. The goal was to redirect funding from TaxiSavers to improve these services. On May 30, the board put that decision on hold pending further engagement with a broader range of stakeholders. For the past several weeks, TransLink’s board and staff have been participating in meetings in the region to listen to concerns and discuss ideas. We have heard that the TaxiSaver program provides a valuable service to those in need, and is integral to making the transit system accessible for them.

Through this engagement, TransLink has also heard many good ideas and suggestions on how to make overall custom transit services better for those who need it most. We are committed to working closely with Access Transit’s Users’ Advisory Committee, persons with disabilities, seniors and other stakeholders from across the region on an ongoing basis to help find ways of improving these services. By continuing to listen to a broad spectrum of stakeholders on their ideas, TransLink’s goal is to continue to provide reliable, valuable and sustainable custom transit services.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the meetings, wrote and called us. We appreciate that you shared your insights with us. On behalf of the TransLink board, management and staff, we sincerely look forward to your continued feedback to help us improve accessibility of the public transit network for everyone.