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Travel program cut for people with disabilities

A program that subsidizes cab rides for people with disabilities has been chopped in at least two British Columbia communities.

Taxi Saver is a B.C. Transit program that provides half price taxi coupons for people to use when HandyDart fails to accommodate their needs, according to B.C. Transit's website.

In Vernon the public transit company has told people who use the program that no more coupons will be available until April 1 because the “initiative has reached its budget for the current fiscal year,” the Vernon Morning Star reported Saturday.

And a commenter on a Prince George website said that in his or her community the number of Taxi Saver coupons people are allowed to buy has been cut in half.

The Vernon paper quoted a B.C. Transit spokesperson saying HandyDart is available 12 hours a day, Monday to Friday, in the Okanagan city. * The story also quoted a client saying HandyDart needs to be booked a week ahead.

A commenter on the story wrote, “While the dignitaries rub elbows and accept free tickets to the Olympics, my life is put on hold, no independence to choose activities without planning a week in advance.”

A B.C. Transit spokesperson said she would be able to answer questions about the cuts later tonight.

* B.C. Transit spokesperson Joanna Morton later told the Tyee that HandyDart is available in Vernon from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon. to Thurs. and Sat., as well as from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fri..

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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