British Columbia

Transit plebiscite gets final weekend push

The HandyDart Riders Alliance says it will vote 'Yes' in the upcoming transit plebiscite, adding yet another endorsement for a transit tax for the region.

With ballots to be sent within days, disabled commuters put support behind Yes side.

Metro Vancouver's HandyDART Riders' Alliance has joined the Yes side in the upcoming transit plebiscite (CBC)

The HandyDART Riders Alliance is the latest organization to put its support behind a "Yes" vote in the upcoming plebiscite for a transit tax in Metro Vancouver.

Volunteers with the HandyDART Riders Alliance tried to recruit "Yes" votes at the Commercial Drive SkyTrain Station. (CBC)

Ballots will be mailed out starting Monday Mar. 16. The question will ask residents to approve a 0.5 per cent tax increase that will pay for a series of transit improvements over the next ten years worth $8 billion.

There have been some surveys that suggest the No side has momentum in the campaign, but the Yes side continues to gain endorsements.

Most recently it's added people like Beth McKellar and Craig Langston. Both are disabled and rely on HandyDART to provide them with transportation that meets their needs.
Craig Langston says a "Yes" vote in the transit plebiscite will increase funding for HandyDART, a service that helps commuters with disabilities. (CBC)
McKellar says HandyDART can only expect more riders in years to come.

"The population of elders is growing more and more and everyday someone gets hurt or disabled like if you have a knee replacement and no one to drive you to physio. HandyDART is there and it's door to door."

There have been calls to improve funding for HandyDART over the past two years and the riders' alliance says a "Yes" vote in the plebiscite would improve services.

"There's a commitment from the Mayors' Council that they will increase Handy Dart funding by 30 per cent over ten years," said Langston.

McKellar hopes people will consider the consequences of voting against the plan before casting a ballot,

"The referendum isn't about TransLink, it's about transit, and transportation and infrastructure, TransLink has left such a horrible, horrible taste in peoples' mouths."

Ballots for the vote will be distributed over the next two weeks by Elections B.C.

with files from the CBC's Bal Brach


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