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HandyDART Modernization Program

HandyDART customer getting assistance from driver

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    Public Engagement

    Help shape the future of HandyDART. Public engagement is a key part of the HandyDART Modernization Program and will take place from March 29 to April 25, 2021.

    We’re looking to hear from current or future HandyDART or HandyCard customers, caregivers or loved ones, or anyone who works with people who have disabilities. Your feedback will inform potential registration and fare changes, how we roll out Compass, and how we communicate with customers.



    About the Program

    Since its start in 1980, Metro Vancouver’s HandyDART has been providing door-to-door transit service for people who are unable to navigate conventional public transit without assistance. We’re considering a range of improvements to ensure HandyDART remains a reliable service for those who depend on it to live a full and active life.

    The HandyDART Modernization Program is a package of updates that would improve the customer experience from start to finish — including how people register, how they book their trips, and how they pay for the service. These improvements would allow for increased flexibility and the ability to make more spontaneous trips, including:

    • Bringing Compass to HandyDART for easier and more convenient payment options

    • Potential Changes to Fares with discounts for eligible customers to better match the conventional transit system

    • Potential New Registration Process with a personalized consultation to help meet the needs of customers

    • Introducing Online Booking in addition to the existing phone booking system

    Modernizing HandyDART will ensure the service is available for those who need it now and in the future. HandyDART is an essential part of the region’s transit network, but demand for the service is expected to grow. Making improvements now will help manage growth sustainably and improve service in the long term.

    Public Engagement Events

    Join our Telephone Town Hall and/or sign up for one of our workshops to learn more.

    Public Engagement Date Time
    Telephone Town Hall April 13, 2021 6 to 7 p.m.
    Workshop #1 for Customers and Care Givers April 15, 2021 6 to 7:30 p.m.
    Workshop #2 for Customers and Care Givers April 17, 2021 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    Please email publicengagement@translink.ca call 604.953.3648 if you require assistance signing up for a public engagement event.


    Overview of Modernization Initiatives

    We’re rolling out the Compass system to HandyDART for easier and more convenient payments in Fall 2021. With Compass, customers will be able to pay for trips with a Compass Card or by tapping a credit card.

    Compass Cards are reloadable fare cards that can be used when taking transit within the region. They can be loaded with Stored Value or with prepaid passes like a Monthly Pass or a DayPass. When paying with Stored Value, HandyDART customers will receive the same discount as using FareSavers.

    Compass Benefits

    • Flexible: Compass gives you more options and will allow you to travel between HandyDART, bus, SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express.

    • Convenient: Load your choice of fare onto a Compass Card online, by phone, or at a Compass Vending Machine. You can also select AutoLoad to renew a monthly pass or to top up your balance when it drops below $5.

    • Easy-to-use: To pay your fare, simply tap your Compass Card on the reader on buses, at stations, and soon on HandyDART. HandyDART operators will be available to help individuals who cannot tap their Compass Cards independently.

    • Secure: You can protect your balance by registering your Compass Card online or by calling Compass Customer Service. If it is lost or stolen, you can report it to freeze the balance and transfer it to a new card.

    For your convenience, you'll be able to buy Compass Cards and add passes and/or Stored Value to your card through the following channels:

    • Over the phone by calling 604.398.2042

    • Online

    • Compass Vending Machine (CVMs) at SkyTrain and SeaBus stations (Concession Cards not available through CVMs)

    • 18 London Drugs locations

    • Purchase at a Compass retailer

    • Compass Customer Service Centre at Stadium–Chinatown Station

    Learn more about where to buy Compass Cards and passes.

    • Once Compass is fully rolled out on HandyDART, FareSavers will be sold for a short period of time and will continue to be accepted for travel indefinitely.

    • Exact cash payments will continue to be accepted on HandyDART.

    In Fall 2020, we received Board approval to bring Compass to HandyDART. This has been a longstanding commitment to ensure HandyDART customers have access to the same payment products and services as customers on the conventional system.

    In the coming months, TransLink will be sharing information on how to get a Compass Card, how to load fares, and how to use it for travel on HandyDART and conventional transit.

    We're considering introducing age-based discounts (concession fares) for HandyDART customers aged 5 to 18 and 65 and over, like the fares currently available on conventional transit.

    For example, under the new fare structure, a HandyDART customer over the age of 65 would pay $1.95 instead of the $3 they are currently paying with cash or $2.40 with FareSavers. Approximately 70% of HandyDART customers would pay less in fares, and the rest would pay the same as today.

    HandyDART Fare Products Adult (19 to 64)

    Fare Type Current Fares Potential Fares
    1-Zone Cash $3.00 $3.00
    1-Zone Stored Value on Compass Card Not currently available to HandyDART customers $2.40
    1-Zone FareSaver $2.40 Discontinue sales after transition period
    1-Zone Monthly Pass on Compass Card $98 $98

    HandyDART Fare Products Concession (5 to 18 and 65+)

    Fare Type Current Fares Potential Fares
    1-Zone Cash $3.00 $1.95
    1-Zone Stored Value on Compass Card Not currently available to HandyDART customers $1.95
    1-Zone FareSaver $2.40 Not available for concession
    1-Zone Monthly Pass on Compass Card $98 (1-Zone) $56 (allows travel through all zones)
    Fares as of April 2021. Fare increases occur on an annual basis and are subject to Board approval. For simplicity, additional fares types, such as day passes, are not shown.

    As part of these changes, HandyDART customers would also have access to additional fare products and payment methods currently available on conventional transit, including DayPasses.

    Better matching HandyDART fares with the conventional transit system would make it easier for customers to plan their trips and transfer between HandyDART and other transit services.

    Providing age-based discounts on HandyDART was a recommendation of the Transit Fare Review. This potential change in fares reflects that recommendation. TransLink expects these discounts, along with the growing population of older adults in coming years, to increase demand for HandyDART service.

    If approved by TransLink’s Board of Directors, a new fare structure could take effect in Fall 2021, matching our proposed timeframe for rolling out Compass Card on HandyDART.

    We’re considering a new registration process, including personal consultations to assess and meet the diverse needs of our customers. The consultations would be similar to the current registration process in communities served by BC Transit and in other transit systems across Canada.

    In some circumstances, an applicant may be given direct approval without attending the personal consultation.

    The purpose of the personal consultation is to:

    • Identify and support travel needs and abilities

    • Provide information and travel training on HandyDART and conventional transit services

    • Explore which transit options best meet the individual needs and abilities of each customer

    Personalized consultations would also help sustainably manage growth to ensure that everyone who needs HandyDART has access to the service. This is vitally important as the region’s population continues to increase and grow older.

    Four steps in the potential new registration process:

    1. Submission of a simplified application form

    2. Booking the personal consultation

    3. Participation in the personal consultation with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about disabilities and transit, including HandyDART

    4. Receive a decision on eligibility that reflects the individual needs and abilities of the applicant

    The new process would strive to be as accommodating as possible, and we would ensure access to the consultation is easy and convenient. We’re also considering phone and virtual video consultations as options, based on individual needs.

    In some circumstances, an applicant may be given direct approval without attending the personal consultation.

    In Fall 2019, we held interviews and co-creation workshops with people who have HandyDART expertise and experience. This included HandyDART customers, caregivers and frontline support staff at care homes and adult day programs, members of the HandyDART Users’ Advisory Committee and HandyDART drivers and First Transit staff. The potential new registration process is a result of these engagements.

    TransLink’s Board of Directors will provide further direction on the potential registration process in June 2021 after reviewing the results of the public engagement. This will be followed up by an implementation design phase with the new process starting in 2023.

    In addition to the existing telephone booking system, online booking will be introduced, which would give HandyDART customers another convenient way to book their trips.

    In some circumstances, an applicant may be given direct approval without attending the personal consultation.

    Public Engagement (March 29 to April 25, 2021)

    • Request public feedback on potential changes to the HandyDART registration process and fare structure, and how TransLink can best support customer transition to Compass

    Care Homes and Day Programs Compass Engagement (May 3 to 7, 2021)

    • Request feedback from Care Home and Day Program staff who purchase and distribute fares or assist clients with HandyDART travel.

    Share Engagement Report (Late May 2021)

    • Share the results of the HandyDART Modernization Program public engagement.

    TransLink Board Meeting (June 2021)

    • TransLink’s Board of Directors will review the results of the public engagement, and will provide further direction on the potential registration process and fare changes.

    Compass Customer Adoption Campaign (Summer 2021)

    • TransLink will reach out and share information on how to get a Compass Card, how to load fares on it, and how to use it for travel on HandyDART and conventional transit.

    • Current and registering customers will receive a package of resources and instructions for obtaining and making the most of their Compass Card.

    Compass Card and New Fare Structure Implementation (Fall 2021)

    • Compass Card will be rolled out in Fall 2021. If approved by TransLink’s Board of Directors, the new fare structure would be rolled out at the same time.

    • Once confirmed, a launch date will be shared with HandyDART customers.

    New Registration Process Implementation (2023)

    • Following public engagement, TransLink will incorporate feedback into the implementation design phase which would refine details of a potential new registration process.

    • If approved by the Board, TransLink would work with stakeholder groups and customers to ensure a smooth transition sometime in 2023.

    The HandyDART Modernization Program is the result of work and consultations with the HandyDART Users Advisory Committee, frontline HandyDART staff, and customers. It builds upon the recommendations of TransLink’s 2017 Custom Transit Service Delivery Review and is a continuation of our ongoing efforts to improve HandyDART service and customer experience.

    Help shape the future of HandyDART

    Help shape the future of HandyDART and take the survey from March 29 to April 25, 2021.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Engagement

    I’m a caregiver of a HandyDART customer. Can I complete the survey on their behalf?

    Yes. If you’re a caregiver (family or professional) completing this survey on behalf of someone who cannot complete it independently, please do your best to answer the questions from their perspective, not your own.

    I don’t have access to a computer. How can I complete the survey and provide my feedback?

    To complete the survey by phone or to request a paper survey, call 604.953.3648. Please leave a message with your name and phone number. Calls will be returned within 2 business days.

    Are there surveys or engagement opportunities available in languages other than English?

    In-house language support is available in Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Tagalog. Support in other languages may be available in limited cases through a translation services vendor.

    Compass for HandyDART

    Can I use my HandyCard on HandyDART? What about the Provincial BC Bus Pass, or CNIB pass or U-Pass BC?

    • HandyCard: The HandyCard program is not available on HandyDART.

    • Provincial BC Bus Pass, and CNIB passes: The BC Bus Pass and CNIB passes will not be accepted on HandyDART.

    • U-Pass BC: U-Pass BC is accepted on HandyDART with no extra charge.

    How can I load my Compass Card?

    There are a range of ways you can load your Compass Card:

    • Over the phone by calling Compass Customer Service (604.398.2042): Accepted methods of payment include credit cards, branded debit cards (debit cards branded with Visa or MasterCard), and cheques (can be mailed in).

    • In-person at the Compass Customer Service Centre: Accepted methods of payment include cash, debit cards, credit cards, and cheques.

    • Compass Vending Machine at SkyTrain stations, SeaBus stations, and 18 London Drug locations. Machines accept cash, debit cards, and credit cards.

    • Online at compasscard.ca: Accepted methods of payment include branded debit cards and credit cards.

    • Signing up for AutoLoad: a convenient way to automatically renew monthly passes or to top-up Stored Value when your balance drops below $5. AutoLoad can be setup using credit card, branded debit cards or a Pre-Authorized Debit form. Pre-Authorized debit automatically debits your bank account.

    Why are Compass Card readers at the front of the HandyDART vehicle?

    80% of customers board from the front of the bus. In previous consultations, both customers and operators supported this as the primary location for a card reader. For customers with cognitive disabilities, placing the reader in a location consistent with conventional buses helps with remembering protocols.

    HandyDART operators will be available to help individuals who cannot tap their Compass Cards independently.

    Will Compass charge me for a new trip every time I tap?

    No, Compass charges you a single trip fare for travel across the system as long as you make your last transfer within 90 minutes after your initial tap in. This is intended to allow enough time to complete a one-way journey. If you are traveling over the number of zones on SkyTrain/SeaBus that you originally paid for, you will be charged AddFare.

    What happens if a taxi arrives? How do I pay?

    If a HandyDART vehicle is not available for your trip, we may supplement your trip with a taxi. You can pay for this trip with your Compass Card.

    When you book your trip, the booking agent will verify the Compass Card number on file; tell the agent if you will pay by cash instead. When you board the taxi, present your Compass Card to the taxi driver. The cost of the trip will be debited from your Compass Card the next time your Compass Card is tapped or used anywhere in the system (Compass Card reader on a bus or HandyDART vehicle or faregate).

    Will Compass track my movements? How do you protect privacy?

    We’re committed to ensuring that your privacy and personal information are protected. You can register your Compass Card to take advantage of features like AutoLoad and balance protection, or you can choose to remain anonymous. No personal information such as name, credit card or banking identity is stored on the card and registering your card does not allow us to track your movements.

    More information visit Compass Card privacy and translink.ca/privacypolicy.

    Is there support available to help set up my Compass Card?

    We’re here to help to make sure the transition to Compass is easy. Compass Customer Service (604.398.2042) can support you to get a Compass Card, register, setup AutoLoad and/or load fare products onto your card.

    Potential Changes to Fares

    What changes are being considered for the HandyDART fare structure?

    Currently, the price of a HandyDART trip is a 1-Zone Adult fare. We’re considering accepting age-based discounts (Concession fares) for HandyDART customers aged 5 to 18 and 65 and over, like the fares available on conventional transit. These changes to the fare structure are being proposed:

    • Accepting Concession (discounted) fares for single trips and Concession monthly passes on HandyDART, for those 5 to 18 years old or 65 and older. These are currently only available to eligible customers using conventional transit.

    • Accepting DayPasses on HandyDART, which allow unlimited travel on HandyDART and conventional transit for one day for a flat fee.

    How much would I pay for a HandyDART trip under this potential new fare structure?

    If you are eligible for an age-based discount, you would pay less than you pay today. Otherwise, the amount you pay for HandyDART stays the same as today. Nobody will pay more because of this change.

    If you transfer to SkyTrain or SeaBus, there is no additional cost if you use a Compass Card or Tap to Pay, but AddFares may apply if you cross a fare zone boundary on those services. If you transfer from HandyDART to West Coast Express, your HandyDART fare goes toward your West Coast Express fare and you pay the difference.

    If the potential fare structure is approved, what Compass Card do I use on HandyDART?

    Compass Customer Service (604.398.2042) can help you identify which card you are eligible for and provide support to register, setup AutoLoad, or load fare products onto your card.

    1. If I am 18 and under or 65 and older?
      Concession Compass Card (orange)

    2. If I am 19 to 64
      Adult Compass Card (blue)

    3. If I am 19 to 64 and I am a HandyCard holder?
      Adult Compass Card (blue) on HandyDART.

    4. If I am a BC Bus Pass holder and I use both the conventional system and HandyDART?
      The card you should select depends on your age and transit use:

      • Concession Compass Card (orange) on HandyDART: available if you are 18 years of age or 65 and older

      • Adult Compass Card (blue) on HandyDART: available if you are 19 to 64 years old

      • BC Bus Card (red) and load with Stored Value or a DayPass: an option if you are 18 years of age or 65 and older and don’t usually purchase a monthly pass. You can load your BC Bus Card with Stored Value or a Concession DayPass to use on HandyDART. If you usually purchase a monthly pass, then a regular Concession Compass Card would be required as monthly passes cannot be loaded on a BC Bus Pass Card.

    5. If I am a CNIB Card holder and I use both the conventional system and HandyDART?
      If I am a CNIB Card holder and I use both the conventional system and HandyDART?

      • Concession Compass Card (orange) on HandyDART: available if you are 18 years of age or younger or 65 and older

      • Adult Compass Card (blue) on HandyDART: available if you are 19 to 64 years old

      • CNIB Card and load with Stored Value or a DayPass: an option if you are 19 to 64 years old and don’t usually purchase a monthly pass. You can load your CNIB Card with Stored Value or an Adult DayPass to use on HandyDART. If you usually purchase a monthly pass, then a regular Adult Compass Card would be required as monthly passes cannot be loaded on a CNIB Card.

    Registration

    How would the application form change?

    The application form would be streamlined and we’re considering removing the requirement for a medical authority to complete and sign the verification section.

    The new application form would ask applicants to provide personal information (e.g., home address, date of birth) and a brief description of their disability and travel abilities. It would also include educational information about HandyDART and the accessible conventional transit services available to all customers.

    How long would a personal consultation take?

    The length of the consultation would depend on the applicant’s needs but shouldn’t take longer than 30 to 60 minutes.

    What would happen at a personal consultation?

    The applicant and a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about transit would discuss the applicant’s abilities, daily life, travel habits, and needs. Together, they would explore travel options, discuss HandyDART services, accessibility on conventional transit, and accessible routes to transit. If safe and reasonable, they could try boarding a transit vehicle together.

    The healthcare professional would then share their eligibility recommendation. The customer could ask questions and discuss any points that may have been missed. If conventional transit is the best option for the customer to use some or all the time, the healthcare professional would offer options for travel training and support.

    Do other transit agencies in Canada have personal consultations as part of their registration processes?

    Many of our peer transit agencies across Canada including, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and others, have a personal consultation for a portion of their paratransit customers. BC Transit has been implementing personal consultations across their systems for several years.

    What would be the possible outcomes in an updated registration process?

    The healthcare professional would provide applicants with one of four eligibility recommendations:

    • Unconditional Eligibility: Customers that require HandyDART for all of their trips.

    • Conditional Eligibility: Customers that may benefit from using both HandyDART and conventional transit, depending on the trip. They may even use both within a single trip.

      • The conditions that could be considered for eligibility include how weather, temperature, time of day, or steep slopes at origin or destination affect an applicant’s mobility.

    • Temporary Eligibility: Customers that require HandyDART temporarily.

      • Customers applying for temporary eligibility would likely receive a more expedited review and determination of eligibility, like the approach today (e.g., after knee surgery or hip replacement).

    • Conventional Transit: Conventional transit best meets the customers’ needs for all trips.

    Why couldn’t you get more information from a longer application form, instead of introducing a personal consultation?

    A longer application form would be insufficient in delivering the level of transparency, trust, and open dialogue that is necessary to really understand an individual’s abilities. If TransLink needs more information or clarification from an applicant, the overall approval process could take longer without the personal consultation.

    What qualifications would healthcare professionals have that make them qualified to assess my disability?

    We believe that a qualified healthcare professional, such as an occupational therapist or physical therapist with knowledge of the transit system would be the best assessor of transit abilities. There is more work to be done to determine how we would bring these healthcare professionals on board.

    What if an applicant is not able to attend a personal consultation due to the nature of their disability?

    The potential new HandyDART registration process could include a combination of in-person, virtual, or phone consultation, with interview or mobility assessment components.

    The type of consultation could be determined for each applicant’s unique abilities and level of information needed by the healthcare professional. If the consultation is in-person, applicants could be offered a trial HandyDART ride, to make travelling to and from the consultation easier.

    In select circumstances, applicants could be given approval after submitting an application form, without being required to attend a personal consultation. TransLink would provide clear guidance in what circumstances a more direct approval could be provided.

    How would you expect to hold safe in-person consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic?

    If supported by the TransLink Board, updates to the registration process would not be implemented until 2023 at the earliest. This would give us time to understand how the pandemic would impact personal consultations in the long term.

    Virtual or phone consultations could be an option, depending on an individual applicant’s needs, information required by the healthcare professional, and relevant public health guidelines at the time any changes to the registration process might be implemented. There is more work to be done if we receive approval to move forward with detailed implementation planning to ensure a smooth and safe rollout.

    How would the potential new registration process impact current HandyDART customers?

    Current HandyDART customers would not be asked to reregister at implementation of the potential new registration process. In the future, we may ask customers who have not been through this process to participate to ensure we are delivering the right service for their needs.

    Online Booking

    When will online booking be available?

    Online booking can allow for a convenient, alternative method of booking a HandyDART trip. We are in the process of readying our systems to accommodate online booking, and we expect to have more information for customers later this year on when to expect it.

    Will I still be able to book by phone?

    Of course! Online booking is an alternative method of booking a trip, and it will not be a replacement to booking by phone. Customers can choose the method that best suits their preference.


    Related Documents

    Accessible Transit eNewsletter

    Get updates on accessible transit, including HandyDART programs and initiatives, advisory committee meetings, and other accessible transit initiatives.


    TransLink

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