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Disabled Transportation Society

At our next meeting, Council will be discussing a motion concerning the Disabled Transportation Society (DTS). DTS currently operates as an independent non-profit organisation. If passed, this motion will direct administration to take on DTS's operations and governance by adding it to our Transit Department’s portfolio.

We'll be having many other conversations on Monday. In the next few days I will make a post to outline the entire agenda. However, I think DTS is a significant enough service that it deserves a post of its own.

Background Information
Our community has individuals who are not able to drive or use traditional transit. They have medical and work commitments as well as social lives and personal errands. DTS allows many of these people to get around town. This is a truly vital service in any compassionate community. 

DTS has been made possible because of dedicated staff and countless volunteers and donors. I am incredibly thankful for these people. I am impressed that those involved with DTS brought the service to the point where the City could consider rolling it into City operations. This integration can provide opportunity to improve service, ensure sustainability, and continue the efforts of those who worked so hard. 

The City has always been a partner with DTS through financial and some operational support (primarily through fleet maintenance). However, a year ago the City was approached by the DTS Board for assistance with a governance review. The Board was looking for ideas on how best to oversee the non-profit organization. DTS was experiencing significant and accelerating challenges due to a rapidly increasing need for and complexity of service.

Looking for Solutions
A third party consultant was hired to conduct a governance review. Based on this study, City Administration determined that DTS was not likely to remain a viable organization given its current structure and mode of operation. Administration studied several possible governance models for DTS and concluded that bringing this service in-house is best.

This opinion was shared by DTS’ independent board. On November 21st, the DTS board unanimously passed a motion to ask the City to take over operations and governance. They also requested that this transition be completed by March 31st, 2018.

Administration has arrived at an integration plan which will allow services to continue throughout. It will also have a minimal budget impact to the City (exact numbers are unknown because certain details will need to be negotiated). This plan entails a short period of the City providing management oversight before assuming full operational control.

Looking at the Transition
If Council approves adding DTS to our Transit Department, there should be no disruption in service. I am also confident that clients will begin to see incremental improvements as the City assumes full responsibility for this vital program.

Where I Stand
I regularly visit with people who rely on DTS. They are incredibly thankful for this service and the people who make it possible. At the same time, I’ve been with people waiting for a DTS pickup that never arrived. Since the week I launched my campaign, I have also received numerous phone calls and emails about concerns with DTS. This service was very much on my radar coming into Council work. 

I was glad to see this coming before Council. While I strive to go into all Council Meetings with an open mind, I currently plan to vote in support of adding DTS to City operations. I have talked to many people in our community who have asked for this. I think it is the best way to ensure continuity of this vital program. I also believe it is going to give those who rely on DTS much better service in the future.

If you would like to have more information, I would encourage you to checkout the Community Living Committee Agenda from December 5th. It can be found by clicking here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you support this integration? If so, how can we ensure it goes smoothly and how can we improve DTS over time? If not, why do you not support it and do you have other suggestions about how the City can support this service?

Thanks for taking the time to read about our work on Council!

If you are a current or past volunteer, staff member, or donor for the Disabled Transportation Society: an even bigger THANK YOU! This organisation has been a vital part of our community. Without people like you, a much needed service would not be happening. You have done good and important work. I hope you will stay engaged and help us to continue to deliver this service and improve on helping all our citizens get around town. 

Thanks again;