When it comes to planning for future transportation needs in the Capital Region, the default strategy is to ease traffic congestion in clogged areas and improve the overall flow of commuting passengers.
Besides projecting population growth outside the core municipalities and figuring out how best to serve workers coming from those locations, it’s important for transit commission and municipal transportation planners to consider age-related issues.
With the region’s aging population, servicing the specific transportation needs of elderly residents must increasingly be front of mind, alongside those of the workforce and student populations.
Many seniors are still driving. But B.C. law mandates that anyone 80 or older must undergo a medical exam every two years to ensure they are still fit to climb behind the wheel. Not only that, if elderly drivers are involved in a crash, they can be forced to re-take their road test.
For many seniors, losing their licence is the equivalent of being told they’re disabled, or worse, helpless. Personal independence for many is lost to a degree.
Some seniors who don’t drive are already in the habit of taking the bus. For those who like the idea of BC Transit’s handyDART home pickup — it costs the same as regular buses — they’ll have to get used to reserving a day or more in advance. So much for being spontaneous and independent.
Cabbing it can get expensive, but at least BC Transit offers taxi saver coupons to lessen the burden. An increasing number of people in Greater Victoria will soon be facing potential loss of their driver’s licence.
Transit planners in the region need to be ready, with strategies that allow those seniors to maintain their independence and dignity.