B.C. Transit spending $4.5M upgrading buses after Kamloops Human Rights case - InfoNews

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B.C. Transit spending $4.5M upgrading buses after Kamloops Human Rights case

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May 31, 2019 - 8:13 AM

KAMLOOPS - The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has confirmed a $10,000 award to a former Kamloops resident and B.C. Transit will spend at least $4.5 million upgrading buses because drivers don’t consistently call out stops for blind riders.

Rev. Helen McFadyen took B.C. Transit to the tribunal for "injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect” because on two occasions she missed a stop while riding the bus in Kamloops and another occasion when the driver did call out the stops but was "disrespectful" to her. She said that was not unusual. 

The award was made in April but the full decision was posted online this week.

"These circumstances have caused Rev. McFadyen considerable stress and anxiety,” according to a consent order by the tribunal. "A driver’s failure to call out stops has caused her to be late for planned meetings, and has caused her to walk distances in unfamiliar areas in order to arrive at her intended destination."

B.C. Transit acknowledged her concerns, apologized and will ensure that all bus drivers across the province will follow a new code of conduct as well as take "sensitivity training". It has also committed to adding a new automated "annunciator" on each of the 282 buses in its Victoria fleet for $16,000 each totalling $4,512,000.

All buses in Kamloops already have the automated system and Victoria, where McFadyen now lives, is slowly upgrading the buses at a rate of three buses per day until all units are complete in September 2019.

Until then, if the buses are not automated, drivers are instructed to continue to announce each stop loud enough for all riders to hear. WorkSafe B.C. has also investigated to ensure that’s a safe practice for drivers.

The annunciators use CPS tracking allowing riders on mobile devices to know when they arrive at their stops. Each bus will also display a visual scrolling text identifying stops, audibly announce the stops and make external announcements at bus stops when buses arrive. 

This wasn’t McFadyen’s first complaint about Transit. She has complained in the past about Christmas decorations on Kamloops buses. She has since moved to Victoria. She was also awarded $1,500 in expenses. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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