Disabled drivers pay for Golden Ears, get free ride on Port Mann

Province gives exemptions, but TransLink doesn't offer the same

It’s not easy when you’re getting on in years and you have to get to frequent appointments to maintain your health.

It’s particularly not easy when you’re Bev Van De Keere and your health-care providers are in Langley and you have pay a toll to drive across the Golden Ears Bridge to see your doctors, while others with disabled passes cross the Port Mann Bridge for free.

“Sometimes we go three times a week, sometimes it’s once, or maybe not at all. It just adds up,” said Bev’s son, Phil Van De Keere.

“She’s going to her regular doctor, her cardiologist, her eye doctor, this doctor, that doctor.”

Bev, 78, moved to Maple Ridge from Langley a few years before the Golden Ears Bridge opened in 2009 so she could be closer to her son and so that he could take care of her. But that meant leaving their health network on the south side of the Fraser River.

His mom has a pacemaker and has heart problems, as well as arthritis and finds it hard to get around.

She has a transponder on her vehicle, giving her the $3 discount rate, while Phil’s vehicle pays a higher charge.

With multiple crossings, the bill can add up to $50 a month. Their most recently highest monthly price paid in Golden Ears Bridge tolls was $133.

If they were to take a 40-minute detour, however, and drive west across the Pitt River Bridge and along the Mary Hill Bypass to the new Port Mann, they’d cross for free.

But his mom doesn’t know Surrey as well and most of her appointments are in east Langley.

“I don’t like her in the traffic. I’d rather pay more money than have her get killed,” Phil explained.

Sometimes he’ll drive through Abbotsford and Mission when he has to fill up for gas.

According to Treo, which manages the Port Mann Bridge tolls for the provincial government, people with disabilities pay no tolls.

Its website explains that exemptions from the $3 tolls are given to people with disabilities, as recognized by the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.

People with either a physician’s certificate or a Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit also can get an exemption. Applications must be filled out and exemptions renewed yearly.

But Phil got nowhere when he asked TransLink for the same thing on the Golden Ears Bridge. The crossing is built, financed and operated by the transportation authority.

“I said, ‘Why isn’t TransLink doing that?’ They said, ‘We don’t do that.’

“It’s not a lot out of their pocket for seniors who are handicapped.”

TransLink though says it’s not planning on changing its policy. The pricing structure and exemptions allowed per its bylaw are built into its funding model for the bridge, it said via e-mail.

 

Just Posted

Pop-Up Shoe Bank coming to Maple Ridge

The one day event will provide free shoes to those in need

Maple Ridge tent city starts gofundme for its second winter

Gofundme page started for heaters, ducting.

AGM coming for Pitt Meadows Community Foundation

Foundation has been active, says president Terry Becker

Ridge RCMP officer chases down theft suspect

Allegedly caught in the act of theft from a vehicle

Ridge Meadows RCMP issue fines, seize pot, under new Cannabis Act

Unlawful supply of cannabis offence for over 30 grams

UPDATE: Pedestrian hit by train in Maple Ridge

Emergency responders on tracks along River Road

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Heading soccer balls can cause damage to brain cells: UBC study

Roughly 42 per cent of children in the country play soccer, according to statistics from Heritage Canada

Most Read