Red Cross launches transit program

Andrew Robinson
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New van will provide affordable transportation to and from appointments

The Canadian Red Cross hopes a new community transportation program it launched this week in the St. John’s metro area will make it easier for people with limited incomes or mobility issues to get to appointments.

Volunteers Allan Rowsell (left), Amanda Prahst (centre) and Trudy Power stand in front of the Community Transportation Service program vehicle that was officially launched by the Red Cross Monday. — Photo by  Rhonda Hayward/ The Telegram

The Community Transportation Service program will allow participants to go to and from appointments in a van at a cost that’s comparable to bus fare.

The program will primarily target seniors, according to Kate Smissaert, a community health co-ordinator for the Canadian Red Cross in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“This is the launch here today, so we haven’t even announced it, and we already have clients,” said Smissaert when asked about the perceived need for such a service.

“We are working in collaboration with the Seniors Resource Centre. They’ve recommended our program to some of their people, and we’ve already started accepting clients.”

The service will allow those who might otherwise have trouble affording transportation to medical appointments, pharmacies, banks, government offices and grocery stores.

“Anything that’s essential to your daily living is really what the program aims to help with,” said Smissaert.

The service will have staff to provide oversight, but will be largely dependent on the work of volunteers.

The three-year pilot project is funded through the provincial government’s Age-Friendly Newfoundland and Labrador Transportation Project. The Canadian Red Cross is one of five grant recipients through the program.

Smissaert said the Canadian Red Cross is optimistic that if all goes well with the new service, the opportunity to expand to other areas of the province will become a reality.

Those with an interest in becoming a part of the program are asked to contact the Canadian Red Cross at 758-8400.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Red Cross, Community Transportation Service, Seniors Resource Centre

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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