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August 20, 2014

VIA gets its knuckles rapped

Seven years after the Supreme Court of Canada chastised VIA Rail for not being wheelchair accessible, VIA has finally gotten around to begrudging compliance with the decision.  Times have certainly changed since W.C. Van Horne built a whole railroad from Ontario to Vancouver in the four years from 1881 to 1885.

Today is the inaugural trip of the accessible cabin on The Canadian, which runs from Vancouver to Toronto.  The sleeper looks pretty spiffy.

It took the determination of an artist from Iles de la Madeleine to make this happen.  Gaetane Cummings received reimbursement for her ticket, lawyer's fees and $30,000 damages.
La Madelinienne Gaetane Cummings

It's informative to read the Toronto Sun's 2010 article on the lawsuit.  In it they mistakenly assert that Cummings is 'wheelchair bound' when it is crystal clear that she is a Canadian traveler like any other who wants to see her country.  Doesn't sound like she is a prisoner.  They also say she is a 'multiple sclerosis sufferer' when it's abundantly clear that MS does not control her life in any way.  One expects a certain level of cluelessness from the Sun, and they don't disappoint.

You can read the settlement,  and the decision and decide for yourself if VIA got off lightly.  I love the parts of the settlement, obviously written by the Mad Hatter in Wonderland, where VIA denies everything before paying up.

For those of you who are 'wheelchair reliant' (nice try, but not as good as 'wheelchair liberated'), you can exact your own punishment of VIA by getting a 50% discount on the use of this accessible sleeper.  Looks to me like this is an amount in the thousands of dollars.

H/T Claredon Robichau

PS Not too late to take a stand on the Hydrostone Market.  Be like Gaetane!

Petition - Make Hydrostone Accessible - GoPetition

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Claredon Robichau says:

1. This happened because CCD, led by its Transportation Committee, challenged VIA and Transport Canada inaction and government removal of CTA accessibilty Regulation enactment. So pat yourselves on the back. Then worry about a world where CCD is weakened and the means to bring legal challenges has been removed.

2. CCD should commend VIA through the media for moving forward, recalling the history that brought this about and noting that a lot of inaccessible rolling stock and stations remain to be replaced