HandyDart users and drivers are aiming for a bull's-eye with the public and TransLink as they rally to save the service this weekend.
The group is planning to gather at the civic plaza outside City of North Vancouver municipal hall on Saturday at 11 a.m. TransLink has been cutting back the number of hours and runs of the shuttle for seniors and people with disabilities, and replacing the service by subsidizing taxi companies to drive clients instead.
"We're worried that TransLink is going to take another 5,000 (service hours) in 2014 and another 5,000 in 2015," said Bob Chitrenky, Amalgamated Transit Union local 1724 president.
"Before you know it, people are going to be forced into taxis where many of our people don't fit into sedan-type cars. Our drivers are trained to deal with special needs, whether it be a physical handicap, an age handicap or a mental handicap. The taxi drivers are just in and out because that's how they make their own money."
TransLink ought to be stabilizing or increasing funding for HandyDart as the population ages and demand for the services goes up, Chitrenky said.
"For us, it will mean a loss of jobs but that's not our concern at this point. In 10 years, I want HandyDart to be there,' he said.
"When we're talking about seniors and people with disabilities, I really do believe they deserve a quality service. TransLink keeps talking about rides, as if it's 'Take this parcel from here to there.'" Mayor Darrell Mussatto and former councillor John Braithwaite are expected to speak at the rally.
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