Kit McCabe is much like any other person living in Sooke who enjoys the simple things — going out shopping, taking the bus. But since undergoing surgery last February, standard public transit was no longer a regular option.
“I had a knee replacement, now I have to use a cane,” said McCabe, 57.
Without a license and living next door to her mother in Whiffin Spit, who doesn’t drive often, she was at her wit’s end. That’s when her brother in law, who works for BC Transit, told her about the HandyDART service.
“It comes right to your door and drops you off, door to door.”
She said a lot of her friends, some of whom are disabled, had never heard of the “tremendous” service that takes passengers throughout Greater Victoria. She uses it to get to doctors appointments, the store, and back home again.
“If you go grocery shopping, they’ll carry it for you,” said McCabe, who added the service runs in Sooke twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays with pickups between 9 and 10 a.m. and dropoffs around 4 or 4:30 p.m.
Operated by the Victoria Regional Transit System, the HandDART is a small bus designed to carry passengers with physical or intellectual disabilities. It can also bring most wheelchairs and scooters along for the ride, with driver’s providing heavy lifting assistance.
The fare is the same as a regular bus at $2.50 per trip, but passengers can bring along an attendant, free of charge, if necessary. Certified assistance animals are also allowed.
McCabe was “amazed at the people that don’t know about it,” and said prospective riders simply need a doctor’s note indicating the service is required. A free training program is available for newcomers to let them practice getting on and off the vehicle.
She also had special praise for the drivers.
“You get to know them — the regular ones come, they’re really nice. I haven’t met a cranky or mean one yet.”
To book an appointment, call 250-727-7811. You can find more information on the website at www.bctransit.com/regions/vic/accessible.