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Category: HandyDART

HandyDART booking window is being expanded May 1, 2017

handydart
We are so happy to announce that TransLink is implementing the first of a series of recommendations to improve HandyDART service.

Beginning May 1, 2017, the next-day booking window will be extended by four hours!

This means that our customers can request a next-day HandyDART trip until 4 p.m. creating more flexibility in our custom transit service.

Why the change?

In June 2016, the TransLink Board committed to review the policies and delivery model for HandyDART. This review involved extensive engagement with stakeholders, research on peer agencies in other Canadian cities and industry best practices.

Based on the findings from the Custom Transit Service Delivery Review, a number of recommendations designed to improve customer experience, the availability of trips and improve the service delivery model were presented to and accepted by the board in March 2017.

What’s next?

We are moving to implement these recommendations as soon as possible to deliver on our promises to HandyDART customers in 2017 and beyond.

Quick Facts

  • TransLink is adding 85,500 HandyDART trips in 2017 as part of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-year Vision.
  • 171,000 HandyDART trips will be added over the next three years – a 15 per cent increase in service!

Click here to read the entire Customer Transit Service Delivery Review.

Author: Adrienne Coling

Phase One of the 10-Year Vision continues by rolling out 85,500 more HandyDART trips in 2017

Today is a great day for HandyDART riders!

85,500 more trips are now available in 2017 as part of the Phase One transit improvements from the 10-Year Vision.

And that’s not all!

Over the next three years, additional investments in HandyDART outlined in Phase One of the Vision will add a total of 171,000 more trips per year, representing a 15 per cent increase.

For customers who rely on HandyDART for travel across Metro Vancouver, this expanded service means greater flexibility and more availability of this essential service.

“HandyDART is a lifeline for people who are unable to use our buses and trains—that’s why we prioritized adding more HandyDART services as quickly as possible. It’s a critical service for our region, connecting customers with their communities and helping them get to where they need to go.”

– Kevin Desmond, CEO, TransLink

Watch the announcement below!

You can check out the full 10-Year Vision at tenyearvision.translink.ca

Author: Adrienne Coling

Transit for Remembrance Day

Lest we forget

Lest we forget

Once again, TransLink and its operating companies will provide free transit to veterans and members of the Armed Forces and Coast Guard this Remembrance Day, Friday November 11, 2016.

“Providing free transit service is one small way we can honour and thank the brave men and women who protect freedom for not only every Canadian, but our neighbours around the globe.” – TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.

Here’s how it will work:

One accessible fare gate will remain open at all SeaBus, SkyTrain and Canada Line stations from the start of service to 6:00 p.m. and transit will be free all day on buses.

Ordinary and Life Members of the Royal Canadian Legion, Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans, Korean Veterans Association, Armed Forces and Coast Guard are invited to ride free on all conventional TransLink services, HandyDART and Canada Line YVR Add-Fare.

*Please note* the West Coast Express will not operate on Remembrance Day.

Veterans and eligible members are not required to tap their Compass Cards but please have your membership card ready to display or appear in uniform when boarding buses or entering a fare-paid zone.

For the rest of the public, transit is operating on a holiday schedule and you will only need a one-zone fare for travel across the network.

We will also be observing a moment of silence at 11:00 am, with all SkyTrain, SeaBus, and buses observing this moment at the stop reached closest to the hour.

All TransLink and operating company properties will fly their flags at half-mast.

Service returns to regular weekday schedules for all modes on Monday, November 14.

You can find more information on our Holiday Service page.

Author: Jessica Hewitt

Free transit on NYE for the 40th year!

This New Year’s Eve, don’t worry about driving or grabbing a pricey taxi because we’ve got your ride (and your fare) covered for the 40th year!

That’s right! We’ve been offering you a safe and free NYE ride since 1975 – the year of Monty Python and The Holy Grail, the very first season of Saturday Night Live and the first year of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve!

On December 31, you can ride free from 5 p.m. to end-of-service on all buses, SkyTrain, SeaBus, West Coast Express and HandyDART!

All modes will run on their usual weekday schedule plus some extensions to evening service:

  • Bus — Some routes will offer additional evening/late-night trips. You can check out the New Year’s Eve schedules here.
  • SkyTrain — Service will be extended by one hour and include more frequent trains throughout the evening.
    Last trains:
    – Canada Line to YVR-Airport — 2:05 a.m.
    – Canada Line to Richmond-Brighouse — 2:15 a.m.
    – Millennium Line to VCC-Clark — 1:35 a.m. Customers can also take the last Expo Line train to Commercial-Broadway to transfer to the last Millennium Line train departing at 2:36 a.m. to Lougheed only.
    – Expo Line to King George — 2:20 a.m.
  • SeaBus — Service will be extended by one hour. The last sailing from Lonsdale Quay will be at 2 a.m. and the last from Waterfront will be at 2:20 a.m.
  • West Coast Express —The offer of free transit applies to the 5:30 and 6:20 p.m. trains. The 12:55 TrainBus will be replaced by a 1 p.m. train. All other TrainBuses will depart at their regular times.

On January 1, all transit services will run on a Sunday/holiday schedule.

West Coast Express service will not be in operation on New Year’s Day.

Why not plan your trip now?
Use Trip Planner or call Customer Information at 604.953.3333.

Note: If you need service after midnight, the time must be entered as x-time. For example, put in “1:00x” instead of “1:00am”. This is because we include trips after midnight as a continuation of the previous service day, even though they fall on the next calendar day.

We wish you a very happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Custom transit, HandyDART, and the Taxi Pilot Project: what’s going on?

HandyDART vehicle

A HandyDART vehicle on the move.

One of the topics we haven’t often addressed on the blog is the custom transit part of our transit services – HandyDART. HandyDART is a door-to-door shared ride service for people with disabilities.

Just like the conventional transit system, demand is up for HandyDART. People who use conventional transit sometimes experience pass-ups, especially on our most heavily used routes. On HandyDART runs, we can record these as trip denials – a customer requests a trip and there isn’t one available for the time requested.

As demand goes up, so too have HandyDART trip denials, and this is a big concern for us. (It’s worth noting that we started to more accurately record denials data in 2010, which resulted in a marked uptick in the number of denials.) TransLink has been managing this by getting more efficient with operations, including HandyDART (service optimization, anyone?).

Today, HandyDART provides more trips to customers than five years ago – 1.21 million in 2012, compared with 1.17 million in 2008 – using approximately the same number of annual service hours.  3% of all trips were denied in 2012.

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We are donating a bus to Hope for Freedom Society!

Group picture of Coquitlam & Port Coquitlam MLA's and Mayors, with TransLink EVP Bob Paddon and Rob Thiessen from Hope for Freedom Society.

Group picture of Coquitlam & Port Coquitlam MLA’s and Mayors, with TransLink EVP Bob Paddon and Rob Thiessen from Hope for Freedom Society.

As an organization, we are always looking for ways to reach out and connect with communities in Metro Vancouver. When we were approached by the Hope for Freedom Society, it was an obvious choice – we were determined to make their request happen!

Hope for Freedom Society is a not-for-profit organization that offers assistance to those who face substance abuse, mental illness, violence and homelessness. They provide some great programs and resources to help their clients get back on their feet!

On behalf of the Hope for Freedom Society, City of Coquitlam and Coquitlam Councillor Brent Asmundson put forward a request for a retired HandyDART bus from TransLink.

Today, we are happy to share the news that TransLink will donate a decommissioned HandyDART bus to the Hope for Freedom Society. Since the bus has reached its seven year service term, it would have been decommissioned and replaced as part of regular service protocol.

Seeing it is still in a state of good repair thanks to regular maintenance by staff, TransLink is able to donate this bus so it can be used to transport clients to access food, shelter and other basic needs.

TransLink EVP Bob Paddon handed over the keys to Rob Thiessen, the Managing Director for Hope for Freedom Society today at 2:30pm at their Coquitlam location.

Author: Angela Chang

HandyDART booking agent turns routine call into a heroic act

Satveer!

I’m still away on holiday until Monday September 13! But I’m proud to present this story by Tyler Heshka from Coast Mountain Bus Company’s internal communications team, about a HandyDART staff person who went the extra mile.

The TransLink family always goes the extra mile for the customer, but sometimes our employees do very extraordinary things. If it wasn’t for the actions of a HandyDART booking agent last month, a customer calling to cancel her ride could have lost her life.

Nursing student Satveer Berar has been working as a booking agent for HandyDART for just over a year while completing her studies. On July 26, a woman called and wanted to cancel her HandyDART ride to a doctor’s appointment due to illness. Satveer immediately noticed the caller was having difficulty breathing, and asked her to describe her symptoms.

The caller said she was experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath, which made Satveer realize this was potentially more serious than the caller realized. Thinking quickly, she offered to call an ambulance on behalf of the caller who politely declined. However, after some reassurance, Satveer talked the caller into letting her call an ambulance to come check on her. She then hastily called the BC Paramedics with the caller’s address and symptoms.

Nine days later, the woman called HandyDART to express her sincere appreciation for Satveer’s assistance on the day she called to cancel her ride. She explained that by the time the ambulance arrived at her house, she had suffered a heart attack. She was hospitalized for over a week . If it wasn’t for Satveer’s heroic act, the customer wasn’t sure she’d still be here today.

The HandyDART call centre is located in Surrey and employs approximately 65 full-time and casual employees. On average, the call centre takes between 1700-1800 calls every day. One of HandyDART’s goals is to enhance the lives of the people they touch by helping them be independent. Satveer’s actions are just one example of how HandyDART employees improve the lives of their customers every single day.

Thanks for doing such an amazing job, Satveer — and thanks for sharing her story, Tyler!

A ride-along with HandyDART: taking folks with mobility issues to the Games

Dave the HandyDART driver at Metrotown bus loop!

Dave the HandyDART driver at Metrotown bus loop!

I did a ride-along on Wednesday, February 24 to see how our HandyDART service has been helping out for the Games period!

If you don’t know, HandyDART is our door-to-door, shared-ride service for passengers with physical or cognitive disabilities, using specially-equipped vehicles to meet their needs. Passengers register with the service, then can book their trips with HandyDART, who coordinates drivers to pick them up and drop them off as needed, sort of like a taxi service. (The service is delivered by a local contractor, MVT Canadian Bus, through an operating contract with TransLink.)

For the Games, HandyDART registered 70 visitors who required their assistance. But overall, a little over 1,000 bookings were made for Olympic venues in February, which includes both these visitors and locals. (Before the Games, visitors with mobility issues were informed about the service, and they could register for trips through a special Olympic Visitor’s HandyDART application.)

The loads are similar to what HandyDART would normally carry during non-Olympic periods, but the trips have required extra work, as they require more-than-normal coordination with VANOC and the HandyDART drivers, as they are affected by the impromptu happenings in the downtown core.

So let’s take a look at what a HandyDART trip to a venue is like, and learn a bit more about our visitors and the service itself.

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