Reduce transit barriers for persons with disabilities through equal fares and language.

Reduce transit barriers for persons with disabilities through equal fares and language.

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Ryan Sturgeon started this petition to Brandon City Council and

We are writing today to address two issues that we believe are contrary to the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA); the costs for Handi-Transit and the branding.

The Brandon Wheelchair Sport and Leisure Group is a non-profit group of volunteers with an interest in making a difference for people with mobility impairments in Westman. Our vision is accessible wheelchair sport and leisure opportunities for people in Westman, and our services extend to achieve reduced barrier and inclusive activities for all.  We promote overall health and wellness through participation in such activities such as sports and various forms of leisure as they benefit the mental, emotional, and social wellness of participants.

Since 2017, we have been offering activities to people with mobility impairments in Westman and consistently noted concerns with transportation. Our concerns are recognized and shared by our members as well as our board as one of the most significant barriers to participation. Both the rate at which services are offered and the name of the service are barriers.

The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) focuses on 5 key areas of daily living with the fifth area being devoted to transportation. According to the legislation the “transportation accessibility standard will apply to public transportation to address barriers Manitobans might encounter while getting to work or school, shopping, socializing and other aspects of daily life”. The AMA further reads that “persons should have barrier-free access to places, events and other functions that are generally available in the community; persons should have barrier-free access to those things that will give them equality of opportunity and outcome; access should be provided in a manner that does not establish or perpetuate differences based on a person's disability; the responsibility to prevent and remove barriers rests with the person or organization that is responsible for establishing or perpetuating the barrier”. Therefore, amendments need to take place in the current Handi Transit service in Brandon to be consistent with the AMA.

In Brandon, it is noted that the Handi Transit service offered perpetuates attitudinal barriers through the language it uses to denote services. The term handicap has long been stricken from our legislation and replaced with “persons with a disability” due to the offensive nature of the term. The term does not put the person first and has a negative connotation of lesser (such as a golf “handicap”). This language is outdated, harmful, and not reflective of the values our city promotes.  Additionally, the current fare for Brandon Transit is $1.50 while the fare for Handi Transit is $4.00 which acts as a significant barrier to usage. Our primary expense has been transportation as our members simply cannot afford to participate and pay the high transportation fees. The current rates do not promote equal access nor barrier free opportunities for those with disabilities. Winnipeg has a parallel service to that of Brandon and it is called Winnipeg Transit Plus that offers the same rates as general public transportation. We are asking that you help remove the barriers in our community and to promote full inclusion and community participation. This would mean parallel rates for transportation and changing the name to one that promotes or highlights accessibility rather than discrimination. Together we can make change and support persons with disabilities in our community! Write your local city councilor today.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!