Coun. Merulla to ask city to revisit transit fares for disabled

Hamiltonians have had their say online about the city's decision to cancel the voluntary pay program for disabled transit riders. At least one city councillor says he may reconsider the plan as soon as next week.

At least one city councillor is ready to reconsider Hamilton's plan to have blind and disabled riders start paying full transit fare starting in February.

Hamilton city councillor Sam Merulla promised by email today that he "would serve notice of a motion to reconsider the change on December 12, 2012."

Merulla says he initially supported the plan because council was, "informed that as a result of the Provincial Legislation we would be in breach if we continued the program" that permitted blind and disabled riders to pay for transit voluntarily.

Merulla wrote that he has now "been informed otherwise by provincial bureaucrats."

The CBC's Flannery Dean spoke to Sandi Mangat, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services, which oversees the legislation, after the city announced the fare policy change last week. Mangat said the intention of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act "is to ensure that service providers don’t charge the disabled more." (Read the full story here.)

Hamiltonians weighed in Wednesday on Twitter, as well as through CBC Hamilton's online poll and comments section. The reaction to the decision to cancel the voluntary payment program for riders with disabilities was swift and largely one-sided. As of late Thursday morning 83 per cent of those responding to the online poll had voted against city council's decision to end free transit for blind and otherwise disabled Hamiltonians.

Here's a collection of some of the comments posted online through Facebook,Twitter and CBC Hamilton's comment page: