Aging or disabled Russian River area residents can get free rides to medical appointments, social services and shopping destinations thanks to a new program from West County Community Services.
“Right now we’re taking people wherever they want to go,” with the ride program just getting underway, said Russian River Senior Center Director Emily Heinzelman.
“We’re starting slow and working around people’s schedules,” said Heinzelman.
Rides as far as the Santa Rosa area or as close as local shopping are available through the service that started last week, said Heinzelman. Eventually the ride schedule may become more structured as demand takes shape, with certain days set aside for areas such as the vicinity of Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa and another day for destinations such as Trader Joe’s or Wal-Mart.
The Senior Center has a nine-passenger ADA compliant van with a professional driver on duty. The rides for Russian River area residents age 60 and over and people with disabilities are available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Riders may be picked up either at the Russian River Senior Center on Armstrong Woods Road in Guerneville at or the Russian River Health Center at Third and Church streets.
Riders need to schedule their transportation a day or more in advance by calling Emily at 823-1640, ext. 140.
The nonprofit West County Community Services project is funded with a three-year grant from Caltrans, the state Department of Transportation. The “FTA 5310” grant supports transportation projects for seniors and people with disabilities when other public transportation services are “unavailable, insufficient or inappropriate,” according to the state grant criteria.