Additional transportation options available to seniors, disabled people

By Dameon Pesanti, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

Seniors and disabled people who struggle to find ways to get from place to place in Clark County now have more ways to commute.

A partnership between the Human Services Council and C-Tran will offer expanded transportation services for those who need them the most.

The council will be able to expand its much-used Reserve-A-Ride program, which gives direct transportation service to seniors and people with disabilities who live outside the transit district or are physically unable to use it. Typically, the program’s top users are those who need access to such life-sustaining medical services as cancer treatments or dialysis, Human Services Council Executive Director Colleen Kuhn said

“We had a waiting list over the years, but we didn’t have the money to provide the services,” she said. “C-Tran is giving us direct-service dollars. It goes straight to the clients, and it reduced the waiting list.”

The program is funded by a grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation. The Human Services Council is partnering with C-Tran, which received extra funding from the Federal Transit Administration.

Also, funding through C-Tran enabled the council to hire a mobility management coordinator for Clark County. That person will educate community members to what their options and resources are when they seek transportation solutions. That person will identify service gaps and recommend solutions to fill them.

Additionally, the mobility coordinator will work with local emergency agencies and C-Tran to serve at-risk populations with transportation during an emergency or disaster.

A new website managed by the mobility management coordinator will offer people throughout Southwest Washington a digital way to understand their transit options and plan rides accordingly. Tripresourcecenter.org is a centralized tool available to users in Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties.

Live demonstrations of the website will be offered from noon to 1:30 p.m. March 31, during the ribbon-cutting/open house for the council’s new location at 120 NE 136th Avenue, Suite 215, Vancouver.

“As we have the population aging, it’s important to know (their) resources,” Kuhn said. “Often, people don’t consider transportation until they need it and can’t drive on their own.”