I am a semi-frequent user of HandyDart. The service has its problems but overall does a good job of getting me to and from hospital appointments that would be difficult for me to get to otherwise. I have found the staff, drivers and telephone operators, invariably helpful and courteous. It is also a welcome relief to have the fares reduced under the program that began this month.
I also have a senior’s concessionary Compass Pass which allows me to travel anywhere on the Translink system for an incredibly reasonable $45 a year and I was glad to learn that one can now use Compass to access HandyDart. However, for reasons that I cannot figure, HandyDart users will be obliged to use a different orange Compass card for HandyDart service.
While not understanding the reasons for the additional complexity, I was willing to go to the website to apply for the extra card. That was when things became difficult.
Being a trained accountant and highly computer literate, I am used to filling in forms online but I am damned if I could figure this one out. I registered my original Compass card as requested and paid in $20 to my account. But then the system failed me as I could not work out — no matter how I tried — how to get them to send me the new orange card. I probably spent thirty minutes struggling with it.
Finally I gave up and wrote them an email explaining the difficult I was having. A few days later, today, I received a reply that laid out a complicated three-step process involving multiple websites that I am still trying to unravel.
I will get through this eventually but it occurs to me that for many seniors this will be a daunting experience and I suspect many will simply give up and will be reduced to scrabbling for the correct cash when their rides arrive.
If being able to swipe a Compass card on HandyDart is supposed to make things easier for us, so far it has failed before it even begins.