Elder Affairs Subcommittee Reviews Senior Transportation

The Elderly Affairs Committee accepted the findings of a subcommittee directed to research transportation options for seniors in Londonderry, and found CART to be the best.

After learning through meetings with the Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation (CART) that the shuttle program seniors use to get to the Londonderry Senior Center has limited hours, the subcommittee began considering alternative transportation options.

CART runs two vans: the “Sun Shuttle,” financed by Rockingham Nutrition, runs for a set amount of hours per week, with the primary purpose of getting seniors to the Senior Center for meals and to dialysis treatments; and the CART van, which also shuttles seniors between designated locations, and provides rides to appointments when scheduled up to two weeks in advance, subcommittee member Dolores Stoklosa reported to the committee at their Feb. 17 meeting.

Alternative transportation options to the CART shuttles the subcommittee considered include supplemental programs CART offers through Green Cab, a full-service transportation company based in Londonderry; as well as Seniors Helping Seniors, a private, senior home care company operating out of Amherst that offers transportation to seniors by appointment.

The biggest challenge with alternatives to CART is the associated cost, according to Stoklosa said.

Green Cab can cost up to $25 one-way, while the highest rate listed on CART’s website for a ride to “out-of-reach” destinations, including Manchester, Plaistow and Windham, is $5 round-trip.

Stoklosa said the rates for a ride from Green Cab are different when CART arranges the transportation as part of its supplemental program, as opposed to when someone schedules his or her own appointment with the company.

Additionally, Stoklosa said Green Cab offers vouchers at half price to seniors, where they are able to purchase $50 worth of rides for $25.

The Committee agreed CART is the best alternative for seniors seeking transportation.

“Keeping CART going is important. Something I discussed with some people is we would like to see down the road getting a van donated to the Senior Center,” committee Chairman Al Baldasaro said.

Stoklosa said while it would be nice to receive a van to supplement transportation for seniors, the gas and other maintenance costs could prove cost prohibitive.

“CART is win-win for the Senior Center, and also Meals on Wheels,” Baldasaro said. “We definitely want to keep that service close. It’s not perfect, but it’s a no brainer for our seniors.”

Stoklosa said CART is working on improving communication with patrons, as well as with the public, and is also considering ways to improve its services.

As part of their recommendations to the committee, the subcommittee recommended printing a flier with contact information for organizations that provide transportation to seniors, including local, private services like Seniors Helping Seniors.

Other recommendations included continuing the Town’s contract with CART and maintaining communication with the director and board to maximize services; inviting Green Cab’s owner to speak at the Senior Center, reviewing forms, prices and policies during a monthly breakfast; and continuing to monitor transportation needs in Londonderry.

The subcommittee also encourages all seniors who are experiencing difficulties with transportation to speak with staff at the Senior Center. To reach the Senior Center by phone, call 432-8554.

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