Photo by Jen St. Denis of StarMetro Vancouver for her article “Wheelchair user helped make transit more accessible, but she can’t afford to take the bus” featuring Citizens’ for Accessible Neighbourhoods’ Executive Director Heather McCain and Breazy Hartley, two of the speakers that represented to Vancouver City Council last night.
Excerpt from article (full article can be found at www.thestar.com , search for title): Heather McCain served two terms on TransLink’s access transit committee, where she helped lobby for accessibility improvements like audible announcements and better wheelchair ramps on buses.
But today McCain, who uses a wheelchair, never, ever takes the bus, because it would mean the difference between eating and transit. She chooses to take the $52 transit portion of her disability benefit as cash to pay for groceries.
My organization has worked very hard to have the physical accessibility of the transit system improved over the years, and we’re very happy at the progress that has been made there,” said McCain, who founded the group Citizens for Accessible Neighbourhoods. “But if the system is not financially accessible, it doesn’t actually matter to me if the system if physically accessible.” Four years ago, Breezy Hartley was on crutches, teetering on the edge of homelessness, and needed to get home from work. She rode transit without paying and got a $173 fine. Shortly after, Hartley became homeless. She rode the bus again and attempted to pay the concession fare, but was fined a second time. Hartley now has housing downtown and is on social assistance – but she’s still in debt and can’t get a driver’s license because of her unpaid fines, and the amount owing goes up the longer they’re not paid. ... McCain and Hartley were at Vancouver city hall on Tuesday evening to tell councillors why they should support a grassroots campaign called ...