The chair of the Fredericton transportation committee says one way to clamp down on the number of costly cancellations for the city's Dial-A-Bus service is to require people to explain why they backed out of their ride.
Dial-A-Bus, operated by Fredericton Transit, provides scheduled pickups for people with physical and cognitive disabilities on two wheelchair accessible buses for $3 a ride.
'People have to be responsible with the service that we're providing' -Henri Mallet, Fredericton Transportation Committee
"If you have to go explain why you're missing and the facts are put in front of you that your actions are costing the city a lot of money ... I think just to keep people accountable," Fredericton councilor and transportation committee chair Henri Mallet told Terry Seguin on Information Morning Fredericton.
Mallet said the city could call people who miss out on rides first and if they keep backing out, ask them to go before city officials and Dial-A-Bus stakeholders.
The city is looking to make changes to the Dial-A-Bus program, including privatizing the service and imposing consequences for canceling rides. Recommendations were outlined on Tuesday at the transportation committee's meeting.
The cancellation rate is 28 per cent, more than double the rate of similar programs in Saint John and Halifax, according to the City of Fredericton.
"People have to be responsible with the service that we're providing," said Mallet.
'How are they going to get to the board?'
Requiring people to explain why they missed rides in front of the Dial-A-Bus board would be problematic, according to Haley Flaro, executive director of Ability NB.
"We have a serious lack of accessible transportation, how are people going to get to the board?" said Flaro.
'In terms of addressing the issue of cancellations, it's not a fair first step' - Haley Flaro, Ability NB
Flaro points out that Fredericton is the last municipality in New Brunswick to have fully accessible bus routes, and the second last city in Canada without accessible buses.
But she does believe that if the city started charging for cancelations, going before a board to appeal a decision would be something to consider.
"In terms of addressing the issue of cancellations, it's not a fair first step," said Flaro.
Every Dial-A-Bus trip on a city-owned bus costs $48.04.