Not having access to your own vehicle in a rural town like Londonderry can be frustrating, especially when one is not even able to carpool with or borrow a car from friends or family members.
So, in order to help alleviate this problem, the town of Londonderry recently announced the beginning of a 90-day pilot program that will help supplement the efforts of the Greater Derry-Salem Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation (CART).
First taking to the road in October 2006, CART serves as a public transportation system for the towns of Londonderry, Chester, Derry, Hampstead, and Salem. With it, residents can schedule a CART van to come to their home and then travel to any of these towns for a variety of reasons, from medical appointments to simply visiting family members. They operate from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
However, in Londonderry, CART’s big focus was on assisting senior citizens to make their way around town. But, as time went on, numerous factors forced the town to reevaluate how exactly they would handle CART. For one, the Senior Resources Committee recently revealed the results of a yearlong outreach program to various senior communities in the area to understand what their biggest concerns were. In almost every community, transportation always took the spotlight.
However, according to Assistant Town Manager Lisa Drabik, who is currently responsible for managing the CART program in Londonderry, other surveys conducted throughout the town revealed that most seniors actually still drive their own cars or at least get help from their families. She noted that she was “not sure what the need might be beyond what was highlighted in these surveys.”
When coupled with the Town Council receiving numerous complaints about transportation from residents, the ambiguity surrounding the situation led to the council assigning Drabik with the responsibility of managing CART in Londonderry, a role that was initially assigned to the Senior Resource Committee.
Drabik noted that the purpose of this pilot program is two-fold. First off, the council felt that there was an unmet need for transportation in Londonderry and that implementing the pilot program and publicizing these efforts was the “most effective way” to “assess the needs” of the town and who needs the CART service, including both seniors and younger residents.
Secondly, in case of scheduling conflicts between residents and CART occurs, CART personnel will be working with Green Cab to assist with transportation efforts. Residents are advised to speak to CART first by calling (603) 434-2569, but if a conflict arises, CART will speak with Senior Affairs Director Catherine Blash, who will in turn speak to Green Cab to schedule a time to pick up the resident. In the event that Green Cab is utilized, the town will cover the full fare of the rider.
For more information on the CART service and the supplemental pilot program, please visit londonderrynh.net, check under “Town News” on the front page, and click “Londonderry Pilot Program with CART and Green Cab begins 7/1!”