For Immediate Release: Thursday, November 10th, 2011
COPE City Council candidate, Tim Louis, is calling for the HandyDART transportation service to come under TransLink operations, by making it a wholly owned subsidiary of Translink. The HandyDART service is the only public transit service in metro Vancouver that is not contracted to a subsidiary of Translink, but rather, to a foreign owned, for-profit company.
“COPE wants to take this service out of the hands of a for-profit company, and contract it in under the Translink umbrella, to ensure reliable and accessible service for all HandyDART users,” said Louis.
All of the other transit services – Coast Mountain Bus Company, Skytrain and West Coast Express – are wholly owned subsidiaries of Translink. The only exception is HandyDART, which is owned by private, American run MV Transportation (MVT). Vancouver is the company’s only Canadian operation.
“Having this service contracted out to a private, foreign owned company means that profits leave the country. If HandyDART were under the Translink umbrella, that profit would be put right back into the system for improved accessibility and service,” said Louis. “Foreign ownership also means that the company is less receptive to user and worker concerns.”
MVT took over operations of the HandyDART service in January 2009. Nine months later the Amalgamated Transportation Union, the union representing HandyDART employees, went on strike to protest deteriorating working conditions as a result of the takeover. This was the first strike HandyDART had seen in over 30 years of operations.
Tim Johnston, President of the Amalgamated Transit Workers union local 1724, stated, “if HandyDART were a subsidiary of Translink, service would be much better regulated. In the for-profit model however, when there is competition between profit and service, profit almost always wins out.”
“There is no reason that one transit service should have a different business model then all the others. It doesn’t make sense and it is compromising service,” added Louis. “COPE is committed to ensuring that all Vancourites have access to efficient, affordable, reliable transportation.”
Media Contact: Mae Price – 778.986.5863; firstname.lastname@example.org