As of January, the free transit ride for Hamiltonians with visual impairments and other disabilities is over. A change to Hamilton's transit policy will force riders with disabilities to pay full fare starting in the new year, the city announced Tuesday.
This is happening, the city's transit division says, because of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Hamilton council has interpreted a section of the Act to mean that the city cannot have a two-tiered fare system, where some ride for free and others with disabilities pay a standard $2.55 fare. Currently, riders with visual impairments are allowed to volunteer payment if they so choose.
The problem is that this may be a misinterpretation of the provincial act. Sandi Mangat, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services which oversees the legislation, says council’s understanding of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act is incorrect.
"That’s not the intent of the standard," she said. "The whole intent is to ensure that service providers don’t charge the disabled more."
You can read CBC Hamilton's full story by Flannery Dean here. Many who have read the story aren't happy with council's decision, juding by the social media buzz this morning. You can have your say in our Comments section below.