Sudbury Handi-Transit users vexed by new rules around passengers
The debate will centre around whether people with cognitive disabilities should be allowed on the special buses.
A dozen people, most of them with cognitive disabilities, are appealing the city's decision to keep them off the special bus service.
The city says Handi-Transit was always intended only for those with physical challenges.
But the executive director of Sudbury Developmental Services said a precedent has been set by allowing people with cognitive disabilities to ride for the last decade.
"Did they get a cure? No, there was no miracle that happened here,” Mila Wong said.
“Their needs are the same. They cannot navigate public transportation."
'I didn't feel they were qualified'
But if her eligibility for Handi-Transit changes, she will have to start taking the conventional transit buses, because she is able to walk.
Her mother, Lois, is appealing the city's decision.
"She functions [at the level of] about, say, an eight-year-old,” she said.
“Would you send your eight-year-old downtown to transfer downtown onto another bus?"
Linda Whiteside, who gets around in a wheelchair and is a long-time handi transit rider, said Handi-Transit is getting so busy, it's often hard to get a reservation.
But she points out another issue she sees: able-bodied people who are taking the specialized transit bus.
"They'd run to get to the bus and get on it. I didn't feel they were qualified."
Sudbury city council is set to debate a report on the future of Handi-Transit early in the new year.
Wong said if the city doesn't change its policy, she will take the case to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.