Age-friendly summit tackles transportation issues

News Jul 17, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

For people used to hopping in their car to get from A to B, public transportation can be an alphabet soup of complicated information, choices and things to learn.

One person at Friday’s summit on age-friendly transportation suggested an “information portal” where seniors could access information on everything from transit schedules to grocery stores and pharmacies that offer home delivery if they aren’t able or up to making the trip.

It was among dozens of ideas, demands and criticisms presented when 80 people gathered at the Brantford and District Civic Centre for the second of eight local summits around creating an age-friendly community.

By 2030, 35 per cent of the local population will be seniors.

The Grand River Council on Aging and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding a series of summits intended to address the challenges of an aging population and making Brantford, County of Brant, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community. The eight summits mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization.

Participants were broken into groups of six or seven to discuss transportation. One person from each group presented the main points.

Seniors have been adults most of their lives and losing independence is difficult. It’s why having their driver’s licence stripped is so hard for many.

Sherry Haines, executive director of the Brant United Way, suggested a graduated- licensing system for seniors similar to what’s in place for teenagers and new drivers in Ontario. It could restrict driving at night and on 400-series highways but still give them the freedom for a quick trip to the grocery store.

Haines was also critical of county for using “luggage tags” to identify users of accessible taxi service in Brant.

“So technically, you’re a bag,” she said.

“There are services within the city of Brantford but there are gaps in surrounding accessible transportation,” said Linda Hunt, chair of the Operation Lift board.

Public transit is also lacking in the county.

One couple at the meeting moved from St. George to Brantford, in part because rural transportation is an issue and most services are located in Brantford.

County Coun. Shirley Simons called for more partnerships between the city and county, drawing applause.

About one-third of residents in Six Nations have no transportation, either private or public, said Sara Staysa.

Jim Harder, a retiree and GRCOA board member, said GO Transit needs to be extended to Brantford by the province.

Government, whether it’s federal, provincial or local, needs to take transportation into account in funding for programs. Too often it’s “axed” from budgets, said Peggy Wickham, a GRCOA board member.

Kerri Emberlin of the Alzheimer Society of Brant said more education and communication is needed around public transit. For example, it seems many people don’t know that Brantford Transit offers training on how to use its service.

Harder said bus ridership should be free for kids age 12 and under to “foster a culture of public transportation.

Elisabeth Vandermade, transit operations manager in Brantford, was one a half- dozen or more city managers at the gathering summit and heard several criticism of Brantford Transit.

Some, though, weren’t accurate. One man called for public transportation to take seniors to special events like Canada Day in Lions Park.

Vandermade noted 3,000 to 5,000 people rode Brantford Transit shuttle buses to and from from the Canada Day festivities on July 1.

“I think it’s lack of education about the services we do have available and how our system runs. And I take ownership for that,” she said.

“It is so important that the people who plan services hear from the people that use services. And it is so important for the people that use services to know that somebody listens,” said Lucy Marco, GRCOA’s president.

The next summit is on social participation. It will be held at Six Nation Tourism on Sept. 18.

OTHER IDEAS:

• training for taxi drivers to teach them about transporting people with physical challenges or who use assistive devices.

• even paved surfaces with curb cuts for sidewalks.

• creating more bicycle lanes and making them accessible to wheelchair and scooter users.

• Uber-style taxi service to fill gaps.

• more enforcement to prevent abuse of handicapped parking spaces.

• better education and training for drivers.

• better visibility for motorized wheelchairs and scooters, such as lights and reflectors.

• making parking in no-parking areas for handicapped parking permit holder standard across Ontario.

• more handicapped parking spaces.

• a texting option for accessing bus schedules.

Age-friendly summit tackles transportation issues

News Jul 17, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

For people used to hopping in their car to get from A to B, public transportation can be an alphabet soup of complicated information, choices and things to learn.

One person at Friday’s summit on age-friendly transportation suggested an “information portal” where seniors could access information on everything from transit schedules to grocery stores and pharmacies that offer home delivery if they aren’t able or up to making the trip.

It was among dozens of ideas, demands and criticisms presented when 80 people gathered at the Brantford and District Civic Centre for the second of eight local summits around creating an age-friendly community.

By 2030, 35 per cent of the local population will be seniors.

The Grand River Council on Aging and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding a series of summits intended to address the challenges of an aging population and making Brantford, County of Brant, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community. The eight summits mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization.

Participants were broken into groups of six or seven to discuss transportation. One person from each group presented the main points.

Seniors have been adults most of their lives and losing independence is difficult. It’s why having their driver’s licence stripped is so hard for many.

Sherry Haines, executive director of the Brant United Way, suggested a graduated- licensing system for seniors similar to what’s in place for teenagers and new drivers in Ontario. It could restrict driving at night and on 400-series highways but still give them the freedom for a quick trip to the grocery store.

Haines was also critical of county for using “luggage tags” to identify users of accessible taxi service in Brant.

“So technically, you’re a bag,” she said.

“There are services within the city of Brantford but there are gaps in surrounding accessible transportation,” said Linda Hunt, chair of the Operation Lift board.

Public transit is also lacking in the county.

One couple at the meeting moved from St. George to Brantford, in part because rural transportation is an issue and most services are located in Brantford.

County Coun. Shirley Simons called for more partnerships between the city and county, drawing applause.

About one-third of residents in Six Nations have no transportation, either private or public, said Sara Staysa.

Jim Harder, a retiree and GRCOA board member, said GO Transit needs to be extended to Brantford by the province.

Government, whether it’s federal, provincial or local, needs to take transportation into account in funding for programs. Too often it’s “axed” from budgets, said Peggy Wickham, a GRCOA board member.

Kerri Emberlin of the Alzheimer Society of Brant said more education and communication is needed around public transit. For example, it seems many people don’t know that Brantford Transit offers training on how to use its service.

Harder said bus ridership should be free for kids age 12 and under to “foster a culture of public transportation.

Elisabeth Vandermade, transit operations manager in Brantford, was one a half- dozen or more city managers at the gathering summit and heard several criticism of Brantford Transit.

Some, though, weren’t accurate. One man called for public transportation to take seniors to special events like Canada Day in Lions Park.

Vandermade noted 3,000 to 5,000 people rode Brantford Transit shuttle buses to and from from the Canada Day festivities on July 1.

“I think it’s lack of education about the services we do have available and how our system runs. And I take ownership for that,” she said.

“It is so important that the people who plan services hear from the people that use services. And it is so important for the people that use services to know that somebody listens,” said Lucy Marco, GRCOA’s president.

The next summit is on social participation. It will be held at Six Nation Tourism on Sept. 18.

OTHER IDEAS:

• training for taxi drivers to teach them about transporting people with physical challenges or who use assistive devices.

• even paved surfaces with curb cuts for sidewalks.

• creating more bicycle lanes and making them accessible to wheelchair and scooter users.

• Uber-style taxi service to fill gaps.

• more enforcement to prevent abuse of handicapped parking spaces.

• better education and training for drivers.

• better visibility for motorized wheelchairs and scooters, such as lights and reflectors.

• making parking in no-parking areas for handicapped parking permit holder standard across Ontario.

• more handicapped parking spaces.

• a texting option for accessing bus schedules.

Age-friendly summit tackles transportation issues

News Jul 17, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

For people used to hopping in their car to get from A to B, public transportation can be an alphabet soup of complicated information, choices and things to learn.

One person at Friday’s summit on age-friendly transportation suggested an “information portal” where seniors could access information on everything from transit schedules to grocery stores and pharmacies that offer home delivery if they aren’t able or up to making the trip.

It was among dozens of ideas, demands and criticisms presented when 80 people gathered at the Brantford and District Civic Centre for the second of eight local summits around creating an age-friendly community.

By 2030, 35 per cent of the local population will be seniors.

The Grand River Council on Aging and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding a series of summits intended to address the challenges of an aging population and making Brantford, County of Brant, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community. The eight summits mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization.

Participants were broken into groups of six or seven to discuss transportation. One person from each group presented the main points.

Seniors have been adults most of their lives and losing independence is difficult. It’s why having their driver’s licence stripped is so hard for many.

Sherry Haines, executive director of the Brant United Way, suggested a graduated- licensing system for seniors similar to what’s in place for teenagers and new drivers in Ontario. It could restrict driving at night and on 400-series highways but still give them the freedom for a quick trip to the grocery store.

Haines was also critical of county for using “luggage tags” to identify users of accessible taxi service in Brant.

“So technically, you’re a bag,” she said.

“There are services within the city of Brantford but there are gaps in surrounding accessible transportation,” said Linda Hunt, chair of the Operation Lift board.

Public transit is also lacking in the county.

One couple at the meeting moved from St. George to Brantford, in part because rural transportation is an issue and most services are located in Brantford.

County Coun. Shirley Simons called for more partnerships between the city and county, drawing applause.

About one-third of residents in Six Nations have no transportation, either private or public, said Sara Staysa.

Jim Harder, a retiree and GRCOA board member, said GO Transit needs to be extended to Brantford by the province.

Government, whether it’s federal, provincial or local, needs to take transportation into account in funding for programs. Too often it’s “axed” from budgets, said Peggy Wickham, a GRCOA board member.

Kerri Emberlin of the Alzheimer Society of Brant said more education and communication is needed around public transit. For example, it seems many people don’t know that Brantford Transit offers training on how to use its service.

Harder said bus ridership should be free for kids age 12 and under to “foster a culture of public transportation.

Elisabeth Vandermade, transit operations manager in Brantford, was one a half- dozen or more city managers at the gathering summit and heard several criticism of Brantford Transit.

Some, though, weren’t accurate. One man called for public transportation to take seniors to special events like Canada Day in Lions Park.

Vandermade noted 3,000 to 5,000 people rode Brantford Transit shuttle buses to and from from the Canada Day festivities on July 1.

“I think it’s lack of education about the services we do have available and how our system runs. And I take ownership for that,” she said.

“It is so important that the people who plan services hear from the people that use services. And it is so important for the people that use services to know that somebody listens,” said Lucy Marco, GRCOA’s president.

The next summit is on social participation. It will be held at Six Nation Tourism on Sept. 18.

OTHER IDEAS:

• training for taxi drivers to teach them about transporting people with physical challenges or who use assistive devices.

• even paved surfaces with curb cuts for sidewalks.

• creating more bicycle lanes and making them accessible to wheelchair and scooter users.

• Uber-style taxi service to fill gaps.

• more enforcement to prevent abuse of handicapped parking spaces.

• better education and training for drivers.

• better visibility for motorized wheelchairs and scooters, such as lights and reflectors.

• making parking in no-parking areas for handicapped parking permit holder standard across Ontario.

• more handicapped parking spaces.

• a texting option for accessing bus schedules.