Accessible Widget

September 13, 2013

Mobility for All: Its time to change the Service Area for Access Calgary

What would it take for all Citizens in Calgary to be able to move around our City? 
  • Some citizens who rely on Access Calgary as a lifeline cannot rely on the services. People are then asked to find another way or pay more. 
  • Is this fair?

The Disability Action Hall has written to elected officials and planners to ask Access Calgary Services to change the service area to City Wide; Currently, some Calgarians living more than 1000 meters from a bus stop or asking to be dropped off more than a distance of 1000 meters cannot get service.

We feel this rule hinders all 15,000 Customers who use Access Calgary Services. We would like Access Calgary services to get more funding in order to provide City Wide Service. 

If you feel strongly about this guideline that needs to be changed, please write your elected official today! 

Here is our letter to the Calgary Mayor and City Councilors: 

September 13, 2013

Dear Mayor Nenshi and City Council,


Members of the Disability Action Hall a very concerned for the Calgarians’ health and well-being who rely on Access Calgary as a lifeline, ‘Access Calgary can only provide service to areas where Calgary Transit routes currently go. This means Access Calgary only services areas within 1km of Calgary Transit fixed-route stops.’[i] Some customers live outside of the one-kilometer service area and are informed by Access Calgary that service cannot be provided and alternate arrangements have to be made.  Customers who cannot make alternate arrangements are offered service provided they pay for each trip.  This can cost approximately $20 or more depending on the time/distance travelled. The policy of limiting Access Calgary service to be within 1 km of a Calgary Transit bus stop impacts those people with disabilities who are outside the service area and may cost taxpayers and society more money in the long run.  


  •      Social Impacts:  Reducing transportation choices may increase health risks & decrease financial well-being for Calgarians with reduced mobility, resulting in social isolation & poverty.[ii]
  •      Strategic Alignment: The current policy does not align with the vision for the 2020 Sustainability Direction goals of creating a sustainable City.
  •        Equity: Customers living with low-income impacts the ability to pay for a public service:  15,000 Calgarians, including Senior Citizens and people with disabilities, some have restricted public access with unpredictable financial costs for those who wish to contribute to the economy, celebrate citizenship and benefit connecting to friends, family, and places of worship and live in our city.

What we recommend:

The policy needs to realign with the Sustainability Direction 2020 goals[iii] of creating community well being, smart growth and mobility choice, a prosperous economy, a sustainable environment and financial sustainability for our City and its Citizens. Studies[iv] have shown world class transportation systems are inclusive and encourage universal design address for all Citizens:

  • Approve additional funding for Access Calgary to provide service for all customers to the city limits of Calgary.
  • To explore the financial impact of increasing the eligibility distance from 1 km to City Limit Service.[v]
  • Grandfathering existing customers who use to receive service more than 1 km from a bus stop.
  • Phase in City Limit Service by having a 1-year pilot to explore operational costs.
  • Enforce equity across all City subsidized service fees for Calgarians living on low-income, in particular for taxpayers who require trips outside the 1 km zone from a City Transit bus stop, to pay a reduced rate as outlined in the Fair Calgary[vi] policy.
  • The Calgary Metropolitan Plan to include Access Calgary Services in a regional public transit agreement with outlying municipalities.[vii]

Please contact us if you have any questions, we can be reached at 403.717.7630 or email us at

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Members of the Disability Action Hall

CC: Access Calgary Karim Rayani, Imagine Calgary, Office of Sustainability, L. Fowler, Leanne Squair ACA Committee, Civic Camp Calgary, Robert Wiles Fair Calgary

[i] City of Calgary, Access Calgary Website, [website] Available at: [Accessed September 9, 2013]

[ii] Fletcher, R., 2013. Disabled Calgarians Disabled Calgarians hit hard by ‘one-kilometer’ transit rule, advocates say, Metro Calgary, 9 April. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed August 21st, 2013].

[iii] Office of Sustainability, 2013. 2020 Sustainability Direction: The City of Calgary’s 10 year plan towards a Sustainable direction for Imagine Calgary [pdf] Available at: <>[Accessed August, 21st, 2013].
1.) Community Well Being
a.) EQUITY (Target 1, page 15): The 1 km rule policy fair for Calgarians living on low-income who cannot afford an extra-ordinary fee, thereby restricting access to a public service.
b.) PROMOTE INCLUSIVENESS (Target 1, page 17): Calgarians with reduced mobility are restricted in activities, lifestyle and financial well-being.
c.) AGE FRIENDLY CITY (Target 2, page 17): Baby boomers will use Access Services when health is compromised, however restricting trips will discourage baby boomers to apply for the service and only encourage more traffic with use of private cars, potentially add more traffic and compromising safety at the wheel and to other drivers using the roads.
d.) COMPLETE COMMUNITIES (Target 6, page 22): How does this 1 km rule promote accessibility of community services, for a diverse community?
2) Smart growth and mobility choice,
a.) TRANSPORTATION CHOICE (target 2, page 27): A 1 km rule truly makes the transit fleet inaccessible for all Calgarians and forces people into private cars thereby increasing more traffic on our roads.
b.) COMPLETE COMMUNITIES (Target 6, page 22): How does this 1 km guideline promote accessibility of community services, for a diverse community?
3) Prosperous Economy
DIVERSE WORKFORCE (Targets 1&2, page 19): How does a 1 km guideline impact a diverse workforce to a population that is devastatingly underemployed with no means to reach various businesses outside of the existing infrastructure and limiting a Calgarians ability to contribute to the economy and taxation system thereby impairing people’s ability to earn above the low-income cut off.
4) Sustainable Environment (Target 1page 21)
How do we address green house gases and emissions when Calgarians with reduced mobility are forced to operate private vehicles in order to get to the doctor, see family, seek employment and get to the hospital?
5.) Financial Sustainability
CREDABILITY: (Target 1, page 33): It is estimated City Wide Service  will cost approximately $500,000 per year. An investment to help promote better health problems, create jobs and provider a wider tax base to make Calgary more sustainable; A pilot project is required to determine true costs.

[iv] King, R., 2013. Accessibility for All, The City Fix, Embarq, [online] Available at: <> [Accessed August 21st, 2013].

[v] Harper, Chris, Platform 2013 [website] Available at [Accessed September 13th, 2013

[vi]City of Calgary, 2011, Fair Calgary Policy, [pdf] Available at: , [Accessed August 27th, 2013].

[vii] Calgary Regional Partnership, 2012. Calgary Metropolitan Plan, [pdf] pg. 31 Creating Sustainable Communities, Connecting to Regional Transit 3.b.6, Available at: [Accessed August 27, 2013].

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