Ryan King’s autism support dog Walter was initially refused access to a TransLink community shuttle on Nov. 10, despite the fact the BC Guide Dog-certified yellow lab had all the proper documentation as well as the signature blue vest. (File photo)

TransLink apologizes for White Rock driver’s autism-support dog comment: grandma

Investigation into Nov. 10 incident ongoing

A White Rock woman who filed a complaint with TransLink after a driver initially denied bus access to her grandson’s autism-support dog says she has received an apology.

READ MORE: Autism support dog refused bus access for being a ‘pet’

Margaret Kay told Peace Arch News Monday (Nov. 18) that she received an email “basically saying that they apologize for the comment that the bus driver made” on the day in question.

The email didn’t specify which comment, but Kay emphasized that TransLink has also advised that their investigation into the matter is ongoing, and she is hopeful it results in better education and awareness around service dogs in public.

TransLink officials on Friday confirmed that its customer support team had reached out to Kay, but would not disclose any details of the interaction to PAN, citing privacy.

Kay filed a complaint with the bus company on Nov. 10, after she and her grandson Ryan King were told by a community shuttle driver that they couldn’t bring King’s autism-support dog, Walter, on board as he was “a pet” – a description Kay vehemently disputes.

The trio had wanted a two-block ride on the shuttle, after King, 20, became too tired to finish the return stretch of their round-trip promenade walk.

But while nine-year-old Walter was harnessed and properly attired with a blue vest identifying him as a support dog, and despite Kay providing proof of provincial certification for both herself and King, the driver “didn’t want us on the bus,” King told Peace Arch News last week.

Kay told PAN she argued with the driver about Walter’s public-access rights for 20 minutes before another passenger pointed out a notice on the back of the driver’s seat that states service animals are permitted.

Then, it was another five minutes of reviewing Kay and King’s certification documentation before the bus continued on its route, with the trio among its passengers.

Shortly after, when King activated the next-stop signal, the driver commented, “all that for two stops?” Kay told PAN.

Media relations officer Dan Mountain confirmed to PAN that bus operators “are trained that assistance animals certified by the British Columbia Guide Animal Act are allowed on public transit.”

Kay reiterated Monday that her main goal of going public with the experience was to raise awareness around the accessibility rights of service dogs.

“That’s what we’re after, that people be aware that service dogs have rights,” she said.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

White Rock waterfront strategy ‘pop-up’ session to be held tomorrow

Event to take place at museum from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

‘A labour of love’: High school turns into ‘toy shop’ for Surrey Christmas Bureau

Fraser Heights Secondary has been making toys for the non-profit for more than a decade

Oppal says Surrey mayor wrong about policing transition timeline

Chairman of committee overseeing Surrey’s transition from RCMP to city police says work won’t be done by Dec. 11

Farnworth says Surrey RCMP boss’s statement on budget should be taken ‘seriously’

Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald warned Surrey’s budget will have “detrimental effect” on policing

New date set for suspects in South Surrey Hells Angel murder

Court heard that both sides are prepared to set preliminary hearing date

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Most Read