Sudburians who ride on Handi-Transit buses may soon have to prove they need the special service.

City councillors voted Monday night to restrict Handi-Transit to riders who are unable to get onto a regular city bus.

If the new policy passes a vote of full council, riders will have to apply to use Handi-Transit. Their needs would then be assessed by city staff.

City councillor Jacques Barbeau said this is the next step in moving Handi-Transit riders onto the regular city buses, which are now all fully accessible to people with a disability.

"I fully expect that we're going to ruffle some feathers with this report,” he said.

“People that have been abusing the system, their feathers that are going to be ruffled. And there's no doubt about that. But in the long run, this is the right thing to do."

Reducing costs

Linda Whiteside is a transit rider who helped draw up the new policy. She gets around in a wheelchair, but said she would rather take a regular city bus than Handi-Transit.

"I totally prefer the conventional transit, because it's freedom,” she said. “I can come and go when I want to come and go."

Whiteside said, like many other Sudburians living with disabilities, she still likes booking Handi-Transit for certain trips, especially in the wintertime.

The new policy won't be official until it passes another vote of city council in a few weeks from now. City staff members estimate the new policy may cut the costs of running Handi-Transit by as much as $180,000 in the next two years.