A group of seniors from Maple Ridge are one step closer to becoming transit savvy after learning to navigate the system to get to downtown Vancouver on Thursday.
The group of 23 seniors took the bus and SkyTrain to get downtown and then the West Coast Express back to Maple Ridge.
They were accompanied by Petra Frederick with the City of Maple Ridge, Kim McLennan with Fraser Health and Heather Treleaven with the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie, Seniors Network.
Two weeks prior TransLink hosted a session for them called Transit Training for Seniors where they learned things like how to load their Compass cards, when to tap the cards and what passes to use.
The goal of the program is to get interested people more comfortable taking public transportation, and, with a critical eye, to relay information back to TransLink about how to improve transit for the older population or those with disabilities.
Jan McLennan decided to participate in the program because she doesn’t want to travel outside of Maple Ridge in her car anymore.
She said transit is intimidating for her because of the unknown.
This is the second year for the program.
Last year seniors reported back to TransLink about some of the issues they faced including the visibility of signage and the operation of escalators.
“Also the location of the ramp at the Port Haney Station and they actually changed it.
They moved the buses to be near the accessibility ramp,” said Treleaven before boarding the bus at the Haney bus loop Thursday morning.
This year the seniors will be doing the same.
Treleaven said the group already noticed that the curb around the Haney bus loop was not painted.
“That is a difficulty for people with visual disabilities,” she said.
There has been so much demand for the transit training that Treleaven wants to make it an annual event. But, she said, that will depend on funding.
This year, said Treleaven, the funding came to the Seniors Network in the City of Maple Ridge through out Age Friendly Communities Project
She already has a waiting list for next year.
TransLink provided the group with their Compass cards and with lunch.