01 Aug City to take over disabled transportation services in Septe…
The concern for the future of disabled transportation came back at the end of May, when DTS announced that they would be cutting back to essential level services because of a lack of funding from the City. Given and the rest of City Council had maintained that not only had they continued to meet funding levels, that they had actually increased by 26% since 2015.
Initial meetings in early June between the two parties brought the agreement that DTS would maintain regular service levels, while the City would provide funding to do so until August 1 while a solution was looked for.
That funding was pushed until September 1 at Council’s meeting on July 15.
Now that the deal has been struck, there are still many details to be worked out between the two parties in terms of employee transfer and ownership of the busses, among many others. But Given says that neither party is expecting users of the service to see any disruption.
“We would make every attempt to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible, for those people who rely on the service,” said Given. “But at this stage, there is still a number of details to be worked out, but the goal is to have that be things that we work out on the backend, so the people that rely on the service can just continue to use the service. Rather than having to worry about all those details.”
More details are expected to be sent out to clients of the service in the month of August on the transition process.
“I think that from City Council’s perspective, we really appreciate that basic mobility, and mobility with dignity, is important for everyone in our community,” said Given. “Having accessible transit like DTS available is one of those basic ways that we meet that need. I know that City Council and City Administration are all committed to ensuring that it’s available going forward.
This decision was one the board of DTS had been hoping for from the beginning. In a release put out by the City, DTS board member Karen Bainbridge, who is also a user of the service herself, says they are happy that the City will be taking over operations.
“Accessible transportation services are critical for our clients to maintain their quality of life,” said Bainbridge. “We are pleased the City has agreed to continue to support the important work of helping our clients get to and from work, medical appointments, and recreation activities.”