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'People have a right to transit': Huron University College students hope to bridge gap between LTC and paratransit users


A group of students from Huron University College are working to bridge the gap between the London Transit Commission (LTC) and paratransit users across the region.

An event was held on Tuesday to connect paratransit users with members of London Transit for an open discussion.

"It's really exciting, it started with a group of students who came, they were given a mission to solve a few of our problems, or our issues today — paratransit being one of them — where there's a challenge with the way we use it and the service,” said Mary Bee Haworth, community leader of L'arche London.

L'Arche or 'The Ark' is an international federation of non-profit organisations working to create networks of community where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together.

Huron College student Noah Walker, along with some of his fellow classmates, have spent a semester working with L'arche, looking at some of the challenges they face with paratransit.

“It’s important for so many reasons, people have a right to transit,” said Walker, who hopes the discussions help find solutions to some of the existing problems with specialized transportation. "I think bringing more awareness to this issue, and understanding the impact that transit actually has on people’s lives is really important in terms of fueling potential solutions.”

Shawn Wilson, LTC's director of operations and Brandon Goldstone, manager of services, were on hand as L'arche staff and community provided input on current services.

Jackie Madden is an LTC commissioner. However, on Tuesday she spoke as a mother and long-time paratransit advocate.

She said a lot of concerns have been expressed over paratransit of the past year but she feels the LTC is making meaningful changes.

"We're going to see a lot more hours of paratransit buses on the road and I think that is ultimately key, the other thing we're going to see is the introduction of smartcard readers on the paratransit buses and that is suppose to be coming up in mid-June this year, and we're also looking forward to a new booking system that will hopefully be a more efficient system that allows people to book in a variety of ways," explained Madden, whose paraplegic son has been relying on paratransit for over a decade.

L'arche, along with the Huron College students, hope that the LTC takes the feedback and progress can be made in future policy decisions. Top Stories

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