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Access Awareness Day and TravelSmart for Seniors

Access Awareness

Seniors and young kids often have special needs when it comes to transit

Access Awareness Day Saturday, June 4th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This Saturday, June 4, 2011, is Access Awareness Day. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s a comprehensive provincial campaign led by SPARC BC to raise awareness about disabilities, accessibility barriers and social inclusion. TransLink and Coast Mountain Bus Company will be promoting accessibility through various. For the public,

TransLink will be hosting an accessible bus trial at Metrotown on June 8, 2011, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This bus will provide wheelchairs for interested persons to try boarding a bus in a wheelchair. Both TransLink staff and the community are welcome to try out the accessible boarding features on a conventional bus as well as using the bike rack. For more information, please call the Access Transit Office at 604-453-4619.

TravelSmart For Seniors pilot program

Transit can be a challenge for the elderly. That’s why TransLink’s Access Transit Secretariat has partnered with the Burnaby Fall Prevention Society and Voices of Burnaby Seniors to launch TravelSmart for Seniors: a pilot project in which seniors train other seniors to use the public transportation system. The sessions cover fare zones; using ticket vending machines; security features on SkyTrain, buses and SeaBus; how to use the TransLink Trip Planner and the responsibilities of front-line customer service staff.Participants will also go on a transit field trip, which provides a hands-on opportunity to explore many facets of public transportation.

To help develop the training, members of Voices of Burnaby Seniors went on five different transit field trips, going from Burnaby to locations such as Lonsdale Quay and the Vancouver International Airport.

The first of four TravelSmart for Seniors sessions was held today at Confederation 55+ Centre in Burnaby. If you didn’t get a chance to attend today, you have three other opportunities:

TravelSmart for Seniors sessions will be held:

  • Thurs, June 2, 2011
    Edmonds 55+ Centre
    7282 Kingsway
    Burnaby BC

  • Thurs, June 9, 2011
    Cameron Complex
    9523 Cameron St.
    Burnaby BC

  • Thurs, June 16, 2011
    Bonsor 55+ Centre
    6550 Bonsor Ave.
    Burnaby BC

*All sessions will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.To register, please call or email Julie Rogal at 604-453-4587 or


  • By ;-), June 1, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

    This is going to be more important as more of us age….

    Still waiting for public restroom facilities near popular stations when restaurants close.

  • By Sheba, June 1, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

    Please post announcements about upcoming events at least a day earlier on here. I don’t check for new posts constantly, and there have been events I would have considered going to but I didn’t read the reminder about them on here until after they had happened.

    My mom is elderly now and she’s been taking transit for decades :)

  • By Sheba, June 1, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

    Oh and there are restrooms at Skytrain stations. If you ask staff they *might* let you in.

  • By Steven, June 2, 2011 @ 7:59 am

    Translink is the most user friendly system for seniors I have seen. In my experience they also appreciate a calm and non-threatening environment to travel in and this city does that well. The bus drivers are great, they wait until seniors have sat down before moving off. Passengers more than often given up their seats.

    The only thing I would like to happen is to give them free transport. They manage to do this well in the UK and I would lobby for this to happen here, and I wouldn’t mind my fare increasing as a result, its something we will all benefit and get our money back eventually.

  • By Donna (CMBC), June 2, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    Steven: For low income seniors and people receiving disability benefits, a yearly bus pass is available from the BC Government that is virtually free — $45/year.


  • By Steven, June 2, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

    Thanks Donna, appreciate that.

    However, it doesn’t go far enough in my opinion. “Virtually free” is not free. I would like free to mean zero cost. The plan in the UK does have restrictions, the main one being travelling at off-peak times only, which I think is perfectly reasonable because most seniors don’t like the crazy rush hour anyhow!

    This is the plan my Mother is on:

    I think this can happen here if all the top brass put their heads together. If people think about it there are many benefits associated with such a plan.

  • By Sheba, June 2, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

    I have the annual pass (I have disability). I don’t have an issue with paying $45 a year for it – that’s way less than a single one zone month pass.

    The Freedom Pass has limitations that our local pass does not. You may think that limiting where and when someone can take transit is fair, but I don’t. There are many people with disabilities who work part time or volunteer. Are you going to tell them that they have to try to completely change their schedule or quit because you think they shouldn’t take transit during rush hour.

    So much for inclusion…

  • By ???, June 3, 2011 @ 12:07 am

    $45 annual is 12 cents a day! I wish my passes were that affordable…. the issue I see is fairness. There’s a lot of people entering this demographic category, sadly there is less and less people young people in the system that you can realistically shift the funding burden too.

    FREE transit? We expect full buses (ie Canada Line opening) and perhaps a frequency of once every two hours on your route as the infrastructure starts to fall apart. Kiss goodbye to the Evergreen, Gondola and UBC line. Also expected property taxes to double, triple or quadruple to maintain existing service.

    The Canada Line is built on a shoe string budget, many stations don’t have down escalators for seniors and the elevators are full when there is a bus dump. Imagine if there are no elevators, no escalators, and no bus wheelchair ramps if you planning to underfund the system. Oh those fancy courtesy seats…. expect them to be full of seniors when you get on. And watch happens when a wheelchair or multiple strollers show up, everyone in those courtesy seats will kicked out.

    Be careful what you wish for if you don’t pay your fair share.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, June 3, 2011 @ 8:46 am

    @ Steven

    I think that your idea of free is great. However, I think people like you should donate extra money for your fare. I assume that you are in the minority, so lobbyists such as yourself will probably need to pay for 2 or 3 people’s month passes. Perhaps you could buy a month pass each month, and then mail it to me.

    I’d also lobby to have you pay for my fare. Me paying $.12/day is intolerant and uncompassionate. You paying it is justice and freedom.

    In all seriousness, if you expect others to manage their funds well enough to pay for \luxuries\ such as transit, then why wouldn’t you expect seniors to have managed their funds well enough, also?

    I haven’t had meaningful income in years. I have had to be resourceful and thrifty. I’d never qualify for EI or welfare, so you can imagine how annoyed I’d feel to have to pay extra just to be crowed out of a bus by people who don’t care about me or others.

  • By Steven, June 3, 2011 @ 9:23 am

    I know a lot of low income senior’s and my message was reflecting some of their thoughts. With other rising costs in this city they are finding it difficult to cope with even the $45 and they rely on translink to get to essential services. So, that’s where I was basically coming from.

    I understand and appreciate your points though, thanks for the feedback. Seems like people here are more concerned about infrastructure issues than the current cost structure. Thanks for the lessons, I have taken them on board.

  • By ???, June 5, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    There is infrastructure expansion (eg Evergreen, Gondola).

    And there is infrastructure maintenance (eg vehicles, bridges & roads).

    I too find it challenging to financially survive in Vancouver, however there are too many services that have been under funded for too long. Does anyone remember that sink hole near Marine and Fraser?

    Underfunding infrastructure will mean crowded buses with frequent mechanical failure. Expect longer waits at the bus stop.

  • By Donna (CMBC), June 6, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    I have to say, I find it ironic that something called a “Freedom pass” is restricted to specific times of day. :)

    Infrastructure & cost aside, I’m not sure something like that would work here. Our peak periods are nearly 6 hours a day (between evening & morning rush), and that’s an awfully long stretch to be forbidden from riding. I work in Customer Info, and believe me — a lot of our seniors and those on disability take transit during peak periods. :)

    Honestly, it just doesn’t seem very fair to restrict people to ride only during certain times. I prefer not to ride during rush hour (my commute is during off-peak hours) too, but sometimes I don’t have the option. Why should seniors and the disabled deserve any less service than the rest of us?

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, June 7, 2011 @ 12:59 am

    @ Steven

    I think that the best time to chime in on that issue is when Translink starts talking about carpooling. I’ve never done it, but if carpoolers can get seniors and anybody else from point A to B, then maybe our problems could be solved that way.

    For people who come to this blog, the phrase, “public transit” probably stirs up warm fuzzy feelings. If we called it “bulk subsidized transit”, then we wouldn’t feel the same. Yet, in a way, that’s what it really is. I think that we need to look at it that way, to give us a clearer picture.

    Although we shouldn’t deny people access to transit, we need to recognize that there is an ideal transit customer, and that there are unideal transit customers. We need to find better ways to serve the non-ideal customers. Some customers just need customized help. That’s not a judgement. It’s just a fact.

    I think that carpooling or some kind of a transit-carpooling hybrid would really take a lot of pressure off the system.

    Transit saves us money only when we serve ideal customers in bulk, just as McDonald’s gets the most profit only when they serve already made non-customized food. Think about how crazy life would be if you had a restaurant, where every customer gave you a recipe of things that they wanted to order? The cost of serving the customer could amount to $30, and the benefit to the customer might only amount to $10.

    That’s what we’re doing right now. We’re offering a $2.50 return trip for $5.

    Remember the goal is to go from A to B, not to put as many people on a bus as possible.

    Another way to think of it, is to compare the number of customers to potential customers. What would happen if your least profitable customer comes in and says that he is allergic to peanuts? They make him unhappy. You wouldn’t want to turn him away, so you clean out your restaurant, and tell 1000 other customers that they can no longer order peanuts. So they leave, and you’re happy to know that you were inclusive.

    Well, think about how many people drive, because the buses are crowded. I bet that we’ve all heard the excuses many times.

  • By Steven, June 7, 2011 @ 9:10 am

    Carpooling sounds like a great idea. I remember this program when we lived in Denver
    I haven’t a clue what they do in Vancouver re carpooling so I can’t comment on your post.

    I understand where you are coming from regarding your other comments. That’s why they call it ‘mass’ transit I guess. Like water, gas, electricity and phone its an essential service and part of the success of a city, so that’s why people are so passionate about it…they want to ensure they get the best from it and of course value for money. Even if my statements are wrong, I am happy to be proved as such, but at least it creates some discussion and gets people thinking.

  • By Donna (CMBC), June 7, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

    …”carpooling or some kind of a transit-carpooling hybrid would really take a lot of pressure off the system.”

    Aren’t you describing HandyDart? :)

  • By ;-), August 26, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

    Check out this link about Translink and washrooms

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