By Carrie Torrans
The Lower Mainland is known to have one of the most accessible, user-friendly transit systems in North America. However, the system is still a work in process towards the inclusion of all communities.
Even though our transit system allows greater freedom and independence for many people including seniors, and people with disabilities, there are still many difficulties that these demographics face. These difficulties include overcrowded SkyTrains, late buses, people who are ignorant of the designated spots and fail to make them accessible to those who require them, as well as people who do not step aside for the extension and retraction of the ramp before choosing to mount or dismount a bus.
Being a frequent transit user myself, there have been several times that I have waited for a bus only to be told by the driver to wait for the next one because the two spots on the bus that are designated for seniors and mobility aids are occupied by strollers.
However, I recently found out that people using mobility aids have priority over these spaces. If a stroller is already on the bus, the bus driver reserves the right to ask the person using the stroller to take the child out and fold the stroller in order to make room for the mobility device.
The order of priority for the wheelchair/scooter positions (accessibility area) on all CMBC vehicles is:
- Customers who use wheelchairs, scooters or other mobility aids.
- Seniors or customers with other mobility issues (priority seating).
- Customers with strollers.
Please note that CMBC operators may request, but not enforce, that you leave the accessibility area to accommodate other priority customers.
So, the question is: what do you do if you realize that a bus passes you up because there are two strollers on board? The answer is to file a complaint.
You can contact Translink online, by phone or letter. Here is Translink’s contact information:
Mail: Translink Customer Information, 287- Nelson’s Court, New Westminster, BC, V3L 0E7
When making a complaint, please give as much detail as possible, including:
- the date and time of travel;
- a vehicle number (numbers are located at the front and rear of every Bus and SkyTrain vehicle, inside and
- route number (if the complaint is bus related);
- where you were leaving from and going to; and
- a contact phone number, in case we need more information.
TransLink is encouraging transit users with mobility aids to let them know when they are passed up by a bus full of strollers so that they can address the issue and take the time to accurately train bus drivers on what the correct policies and procedures are. After you make a complaint Translink should follow up with you within 15 working days.