Nova Scotia

Woman calls for better Access-A-Bus coverage

A woman who uses a wheelchair in the Halifax area says Metro Transit refuses to service her home with an Access-A-Bus because she lives just 100 metres from the last bus stop.

Lives 100 metres from the last bus stop

A woman who uses a wheelchair in the Halifax area says Metro Transit refuses to service her home with an Access-A-Bus because she lives just 100 metres from the last bus stop.

Karen Clarke, who lives in Montague Gold Mines, has multiple sclerosis. She said she'd like to get out of the house more often but it's difficult with a wheelchair.

"I'm 1,100 metres from the last bus stop and their limit is 1,000 metres from the last bus stop," she told CBC News on Tuesday.

"That made me angry. For 100 metres, to say that they can't come and get me? That's crazy."

Access-A-Bus, a door-to-door service for eligible passengers with disabilities, is run by Metro Transit. Passengers must live within one kilometre of a bus stop to qualify.

If Clarke lived two doors down the road, she said she could safely be picked up by an Access-A-Bus on her driveway.

The buses make 500 trips a day, a service that costs $3.9 million each year.

"There have to be service limits to transit service and we're serving millions of people and we're trying to serve as many as we can," said Lori Patterson, a spokeswoman for Metro Transit.

"Those are the stated boundaries."

Metro Transit said it may make arrangements to pick up passengers who can meet the bus within one kilometre of a bus stop, but Clarke said it would be a bad idea for anyone to board a bus along the busy Montague Road.

"I wouldn't want anybody — even an ambulatory person — to stand on the side of a road with no sidewalk or anything to wait to be picked up," she said.

"It's too, too dangerous."

Clarke currently pays a private service to pick her up at her door and take her to Halifax so she can get to her medical appointments at the hospital. She pays nearly $100 for every round trip.

"If [Metro Transit] wants me to go 100 metres, then they can go 100 metres," she said.

Clarke said she hopes municipal politicians will consider pushing the Metro Transit boundary to her doorstep.

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