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Skeena area seniors handicapped by lack of transport

Skeena Valley Seniors Society asks for better transport in open letter to officials
Diana Penner, president of the Skeena Valley Seniors Society outside the Happy Gang Centre in Terrace. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)

Open letter to BC Transit, Pacific Western Transportation, City of Terrace, Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, Ellis Ross, MLA, Taylor Bachrach, MP, citizens of the Skeena Valley.

On Feb. 7, 2023, Lindsay Taylor, government relations manager for BC Transit, presented the City of Terrace Committee of the Whole with a report explaining that the province will not be expanding accessible transport neither this year nor next year.

We feel the report submitted did not include a fair evaluation of the Terrace handyDART ridership statistics used to make their decision. The numbers appear to have been derived from data collected over the past three years, which, because of COVID-19, kept our seniors and vulnerable people out of the public, especially on public transit. BC Transit also may not have considered that over the past years, the same population has come to learn that calling to book a handyDART usually ended in disappointment because many of the rides are pre-booked, leaving little or no space available for daily requests.

We are a non-profit society with a mandate to collaborate with the community to support and enhance the lives of the seniors and elders in our community. By doing so, we lobby on behalf of our isolated and vulnerable community members for access to basic needs, such as affordable, accessible transportation.

We believe we can empower our citizens by removing the handicap of transport that makes us, as seniors, under-served and undervalued. We know that access to social services and recreation enriches lives and enables everyone to be active participants in our community. Without those vital connections, seniors struggle with the most basic needs. This can create inequity, particularly among our senior and vulnerable population and reduces our capacity to be the best we can be.

Our community needs more transportation options now and waiting another 18 months for another evaluation is not acceptable. We will continue to lobby BC Transit and all levels of government to make this happen soon.

Diana Penner, president

Skeena Valley Seniors Society

Terrace, B.C.


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