Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bus pass-ups

On Saturday's edition of the Vancouver Sun, the cover story was about how often buses pass up passengers in the TransLink system. For the most part, it was surprising to no one which routes were impacted the most. But for passengers with mobility impairments, it can be an even bigger challenge.

Us wheelchair users have the biggest challenge. Most people can "squeeze on" a bus as long as there is room but wheelchair users cannot do that for obvious reasons. Even if we could "fit" on the bus, the space needed to merely park ourselves is simply not there. This results in wheelchair users getting passed up at the same stops where able-bodied people (or people without wheeled mobility devices) are able to get on.

The most annoying corridor for me is the #99 B-Line one. That route is busy at the best of times, so unless you board at Broadway-Commercial Station or at UBC Loop, sometimes whether you get on or not depends solely on luck. The lucky thing with that corridor is that sometimes you can take the #9 bus instead but if you're in a hurry, that can be a problem.

However, not all routes are so lucky to have an alternate route servicing the same corridor (of which many people are painfully aware).

TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company launched a campaign a while ago promoting accessible transit. It's nice that they are aware of this growing need but sometimes I look at the problems they already have. Their infrastructure for passengers with disabilities has improved over the years but the crushing passenger demands are making this campaign rather difficult to implement to its full potential.

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