The Council for Older Adults of Delaware County and Delaware Area Transit Agency (DATA) will introducing a plan to address the recently announced fare increases on DATA bus service. The Council for Older Adults will fund two programs at DATA, providing Delaware County residents age 60 and older with two options for affordable transportation throughout the county.
Thanks to a grant awarded to DATA by the Council Board of Directors, the first option takes advantage of DATA’s fixed route transportation, the most efficient and cost-effective way to travel on the bus service. Local seniors will be able to travel on fixed routes for just 50 cents per trip.
The second option involves an agreement between the Council and DATA, in which the Council will subsidize DATA’s demand response program by providing up to $50 per month to Delaware County residents age 60 and older. The rider will be responsible for a $4 co-payment per trip to remain consistent with DATA’s fees before the increase and encourage responsible usage of the subsidy.
“DATA’s fee increase is an unexpected hurdle for our seniors,” Robert Horrocks, Executive Director of the Council for Older Adults said. “The Council’s role in the community is to act as an advocate for every senior citizen in Delaware County. We don’t have the funding to fill the entire gap left by the fee increases, but the Bus Bucks program is the first step towards what we hope will be a larger, community-wide response.”
As part of the continued effort to provide affordable transportation options to senior citizens in Delaware County, DATA will also help educate riders on other, less expensive means of transportation. One such resource is already in place at the Council for Older Adults and is designed to take clients to and from medical and social service appointments. The Council plans to expand this volunteer transportation program in anticipation of the growing need in the community.
This joint solution is in response to DATA’s loss of federal funding, which was announced earlier this month. The Bus Bucks program goes into effect January 2, 2014. Delaware County residents age 60 and older should call DATA at 740-363-3355 to take advantage of the program.
The Council for Older Adults is a nonprofit organization which helps older people in Delaware County live safely in their own homes and stay healthy as they age. The Council’s office is located at 800 Cheshire Road, Delaware. Programs and services provided by the Council for Older Adults are supported in part by the local senior services levy.