HandyDART service in the Lower Mainland is expected to grow beyond budgeted trips as a result of the region’s aging population, a report to TransLink Mayor’s Council says.
That information was part of an overview of HandyDART’s service performance, which noted that in anticipation of the aging population TransLink’s “Transport 2050” 10-year priorities aim to increase service levels. HandyDART is a door-to-door shared ride service used by registered customers who need help with travel because they’re unable to use regular transit alone for either part of their trip or the whole journey.
Within the 10-year priorities, TransLink is hoping to increase available HandyDART trips by 60 per cent, while also planning for late-evening and 24-hour service.
HandyDART is a demand-based service.
In 2022, HandyDart made 964,800 trips which are provided by either a dedicated HandyDart vehicle or supplemental taxis. The taxis are for when HandyDART vehicles are unavailable due to high demand, traffic delays or other circumstances.
Last year, there were 26,500 registered HandyDART customers, with most over the age of 65. Those over 65 took an average of 25 trips per person, but the majority of trips are taken by customers between the ages of 20 and 39 who took an average of 120 trips per person.
Demand grew in 2022 as COVID-19 public health restrictions eased, but while it continues to grow, ridership recovery is about 87 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.