Seniors’ Column

This week's column looks at HandiDART, a door-to-door transportation service for those with physical or cognitive disabilities.

The Office of the BC Seniors’ Advocate (OSA) recently undertook a major survey of close to 30,000 HandiDART users in BC. The survey served as a means of determining the strengths and areas which will need to be reviewed and changed in order to meet the needs of those who depend on this form of transportation in their own communities, including those who are residents of the Nakusp region.

In concert with BC Stats, the survey was designed and the content was informed by the participation of a consultation group which represented drivers, clients and additional stakeholders. BC Stats is currently tabulating and analyzing the survey data, and results will be announced in the new year.

For those who may not already be familiar with HandiDART, it is a door-to-door transportation system which is made possible by BC Transit and area providers. Passengers having physical or cognitive disabilities who are unable to utilize conventional public transit without assistance, are served. The majority of users are approximately 73 per cent of those aged 65 or older.

According to the BC Seniors’ Advocate Isobel Mackenzie there is a need to ensure that a robust transportation system is in place for those of us who are still active, but may no longer be able to drive a vehicle.

The survey asked respondents how this service is meeting their overall transportation needs. To ensure statistical integrity, a sample of every other client from Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, Lower Mainland as well as other parts of the province, were surveyed using the right questions and ensuring that the approach used in allowing comparative results from different areas, was appropriate.

A significant degree of work has been undertaken by hundreds of volunteers who have donated time and effort on obtaining results from the OSA’s survey. This included surveying seniors living in 300 residential care facilities in the province as well as interacting with over 13,000 residents in care homes located across the five regional health authorities.

Those wishing further information may call toll-free 1-877-952-3181.


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