By SHERIDAN ROY
The Plainville Senior Center will soon be able to offer more flexible rides to members through a partnership with Senior Transportation Services, Inc., a division of Human Resources Agency (HRA) of New Britain. A meet-and-greet event is planned for Friday, June 28 at 9:30 a.m. at the senior center for volunteer drivers and seniors in need of transportation assistance.
The senior center knows there are members who will make use of the program. What they need now is volunteer drivers. STS will provide its services to a town if they have at least five volunteer drivers.
“STS operates in surrounding communities offering medical transportation for people age 55 and older using volunteer drivers,” said Plainville Senior Center assistant director Ronda Guberman. “We have already had four volunteers come forward and fill out applications to be a part of the driving program.”
Volunteers use their own vehicles to drive persons to out-of-town medical appointments and to visit loved ones at health care facilities. Volunteers can choose how many and which rides to provide.
In return, drivers receive reimbursement for mileage, supplemental automobile insurance and supplemental liability insurance.
“There’s a computer system that generates a schedule, and volunteers can log in and determine which rides to take,” said Guberman. “There’s a lot of flexibility.”
While Dial-A-Ride and ADA Transportation have been beneficial driving services to Plainville Senior Center members, STS is an additional option that offers more of a one-on-one driver-volunteer service. That relationship can be beneficial to both the driver and the person getting the ride.
“There’s more interaction with the volunteers. It’s nice to have somebody with you waiting outside of your doctor appointment so you don’t have to be alone,” said Guberman. “You also then don’t have to wait for a return ride when you’re done.”
The STS operational hours are more flexible than other driving services starting as early as 7 a.m. Drives can be made anywhere within 20 miles of the senior center.
Since volunteer drivers are non-medical, riders must be able to walk to and from the car, and get into and out of the car, on their own without assistance. Riders cannot be wheelchair-bound. Walkers and canes are allowed.
Volunteers must be willing to take at least two drives per month. To become a volunteer or to learn more, call STS at (860) 224-7117 or attend the June 28 meet and greet at the senior center, located at 200 East Street. RSVP at (860) 747-5728.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.