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Transit Accessibility

Written by Michelle McDonald, BCPF Burnaby & New West Chapter Vice-President


We do not have real transit accessibility in Metro Vancouver. Skytrain improvements are really needed. This is a big barrier for so many people and things need to get better.


Not all of the entrance gates are wide enough to get through. I have a walking cane and it is hard to get through the smaller gates. Also the accessible gate is only one way. That is terrible, awful, the pits! Translink should do something about this because it is not fair for people with disabilities.


People who have mobility needs can’t go up or down stairs. Ramps are easier to use than stairs! The elevators and escalators are not always working and can be out of order for a few days. How are people with disabilities supposed to use transit if there is only stairs? Not all stations have both an escalator and an elevator and if one of these are broken this means people who can not use stairs can’t use that skytrain station. They will be stranded.


Bus improvements are needed for accessibility equity, too. Here are some suggestions:

  • It would be nice to have a way to tell other people on the bus that you need the accessible seats. A lot of people don’t let you sit there even when you ask. If you ask the bus driver for help getting a seat it would be nice for them to tell people you need an accessible seat.

  • The signs for accessible seats need to be bigger so that people can see them.

  • It would be nice to know exactly what time the bus will be at the bus stop without having to use a phone.

  • It would be good to have bus stops every two blocks because that means less walking when people are off the bus.

  • The driver needs to bring the bus closer to the curb. It is hard to get my cart onto the bus if the driver parks the bus too far away from the curb.


Translink, please listen! Minister of Transportation, please listen!


Here are some suggestions I have for others taking transit, if they are also frustrated by the things I am taking about:

  • Use google maps to find the bus times.

  • Bus drivers will help you if you fall on the bus.

  • If you are stranded at a skytrain station because the escalator or elevator is broken you can take a H andydart that is waiting to help people get to the next skytrain station.


But sadly the Handydart is not always there so sometimes this doesn’t work. It would be nice if always worked!


Accessibility should be a priority. Anyone can become disabled or dependent on mobility devices at anytime in life. Permanently or temporarily. Accessibility helps everyone!


Translink has an Accessibility Plan but things are still not getting better in my opinion. We need to keep sharing our feedback based on lived experiences.


Translink wants to hear our feedback on the Accessibility Plan or any barriers you encounter when using their services to be considered during future plan updates. You can call them at 778.375.7665 or email them at access.transit@translink.ca.


Let's make the city more accessible for everyone!

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