HandyDART Age Policy in Question, Deep Cove Mom Speaks Out
The mother of a 7-year-old disabled girl who’s nonverbal and bound to a wheelchair is questioning an age restriction for HandyDART after her daughter was found ineligible for the service because she’s too young.
Tina Lanzi Ricard wanted to sign up her daughter, Stella, who has Rett Syndrome for summer camp this year. The hope was to do something fun over the summer out in the community, with her caregiver picking her up at 9:00am and they would take the bus to the camp and back in the afternoon.
But TransLink denied the girl because she’s under the age of 12. Ricard feels that there are already so many barriers just by being disabled and this is an additional one. In a statement to NEWS 1130, TransLink Senior Media Relations Advisor Chris Bryan confirmed the policy but did note that they are also reviewing the policy itself –
“Our current age eligibility policy is long-standing, and is similar to policies for custom transit found in other jurisdictions. That said, we are evaluating this age policy to determine if an update is required to expand eligibility to better serve our customers’ needs.”
Ricard says the experience is just another barrier her and other parents of disabled children have to face. “We struggle every day with trying to advocate for our child and this is just another area.”
To read more about Ricard\’s story, click here.