FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IS TRANSLINK ACCESSIBLE?
Cerebral Palsy Association questions Translink’s commitment to people with disabilities
Vancouver, BC, Oct. 16, 2012 – There are renewed calls for Translink to ensure its services are available to people of all abilities after local media reported that a Surrey teenager with cerebral palsy had been repeatedly left behind by bus drivers.
“Can we claim to have truly accessible transit when bus drivers frequently fail to pick up passengers using wheelchairs?” asks Cerebral Palsy Association of BC President Craig Langston.
Surrey teen Brenden Parker uses a power wheelchair and relies on public transit to get to school and work. Parker reported having been left behind at an accessible bus stop twice in two weeks; according to many wheelchair users, this isn’t a rare occurrence.
"[The bus driver] had all sorts of excuses," Parker said, "including that he did not see us. It begs the question how a person whose job it is to pick people up, cannot see a full-grown man, a person in a wheelchair and my fellow student standing right in front of the bus stop bench.
"How many times has this sort of thing happened to other physically disabled people in my situation? I am angry and looking for some answers."
A quick look at online response to CTV News’ coverage reveals that “this sort of thing” happens all too often.
While there are legitimate reasons a driver may pass by a wheelchair user, the bulk of the responses makes it clear that people with disabilities are often being left behind without valid reasons, apparently to avoid inconvenience.
“We aren’t convenient passengers,” concedes Langston. “But neither is a little old lady with a walker, or a mom with a stroller in one hand and a toddler in the other. A bus driver wouldn’t think of just leaving them behind. We make room for them, and we need to make room for people using wheelchairs too. Transportation options are limited enough as it is for people with disabilities. We don’t need the transit system itself making things more difficult, especially here in Metro Vancouver, where transit calls itself accessible.”
Translink is investigating Parker’s complaint.