Beginning the first week of August, media releases will announce that Canada Line will commence public operations sometime in mid-August. The over-crowded 98 B-Line buses will be a thing of the past as these articulated buses will soon be deployed to other parts of the Lower Mainland to enhance existing routes or to serve entirely new express routes. The approximate 25-minute trip to or from Waterfront Station to either YVR or Richmond Centre will significantly reduce everyone’s travel time.
For transit users who are blind or sight-impaired, it will provide a greater level of comfort to know all Canada Line attendants (CLA) and Station Attendants (SA) have undergone extensive training in how to assist persons with vision loss. They have also been exposed to other aspects of disability awareness, customer relations, conflict resolution, etc. Considerable time has been spent on providing sighted guide training, the importance of clear, verbal instruction, guide or assistance dog etiquette, interacting with persons with vision loss and much more. For those who may be interested, hand-outs such as “Proper Etiquette When You Meet a Person Who is Blind or Sight-Impaired” and “Proper Etiquette When You Meet a Guide Dog Team”, along with other materials were distributed to all Canada Line staff during the training sessions. Please remember that most of the attendants are brand spanking new and will likely require some patience and understanding while they assist a person with vision loss for the first time.
As is the case with SkyTrain, Canada Line has established a VIP Assistance Line which may be called should a person with vision loss require assistance, directions or access to the accessible washroom (which is locked for security reasons.) The telephone number for Canada Line assistance is 604 247-5703. SkyTrain’s VIP Assistance Line is 604 520-5518. Try not to confuse the two. We did attempt to get one common number for both but, depending on where assistance is required, the call is handled by one of two separate control rooms, several kilometers apart from one another.
For those who require assistance at Waterfront Station, it is recommended that you position yourself as close to the entrance to whichever line you require and then call the appropriate number. Both Canada Line attendants and SkyTrain attendants will provide sighted guide assistance from one line to the alternate line at Waterfront Station should that be necessary.
Business cards with dual format (large print/Braille) reflecting this additional VIP Assistance Line number will soon be available from Canada Line attendants, station attendants, CNIB O&M instructors and from the reception desk of CNIB’s Vancouver Service Centre.