The HandyDART service operated by TransLink will see an overhaul that improves its convenience for users.
The public transit authority says the launch of Compass Card compatibility on the accessible shuttle service starting this fall is confirmed, offering more convenient options, allowing easier access to both HandyDART and conventional transit.
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According to a release, through the introduction of the Compass system, there could be lower fares for 70% of HandyDART users while the remaining 30% would see the same fare levels. This would allow passengers aged below 18 and over 65 to pay concession fares.
Currently, a HandyDART passenger over the age of 65 would pay $1.95 instead of the $3, and they are currently paying with cash.
Additionally, TransLink is considering a potential new registration process that includes a personal consultation with a healthcare professional who can match passengers with the transit services that best meet their needs. This may include a combination of in-person, virtual, or phone consultation, with interview or mobility assessment components.
The public transit authority is currently seeking feedback from HandyDART users, caregivers, family members, service providers, and accessibility groups on the proposed fare and registration changes. The consultation will run through April 25, 2021.
If these measures see final approval, fare changes would come into effect this fall coinciding with the Compass Card launch, while the new registration process would be implemented in 2023.
“HandyDART is an essential part of the region’s transit network, and demand for the service will grow as the region’s population continues to increase and get older,” said Gigi Chen-Kuo, the interim CEO of TransLink, in a statement.
“Making improvements now will help manage growth sustainably and improve service for our customers for many years to come.”
During the pandemic, HandyDART currently sees about 40% of its normal ridership. TransLink projects there will be a 30% increase in HandyDART trip demand over the next decade, compared to 2019 ridership of over 1.3 million annual trips.