Mendocino County Seniors Struggle With Transportation Needs – Fort Bragg Advocate-News
FORT BRAGG – Madelyn Vega remembers the date she decided she wanted to stop driving. It was election day, January 6, and the 81-year-old retiree was driving to cast her ballot in the ballot box at Thurston Auto Plaza in Ukiah.
“There are so many aisles in Thurston and I was really hesitant at the first aisle and then the second aisle and which one should I go to, and after that I had the conversation about no longer drive with Tamar, ”Vega said.
It’s a decision every senior will ultimately make: when is it time to hang up the car keys for good? The important follow-up question is: what are the options for remaining independent?
Vega represents the senior population, which in Mendocino County represents a higher percentage of the overall population than the state average and the national average. By 2030, one in four county residents is expected to be over 65. The 85 and over segment of the county’s population is expected to grow 56% by then – and people in this age group reluctantly find reduced freedom to come and go because it is no longer safe. To drive.
Kathy Johnson, who has provided information on transportation options and other benefits for the elderly for more than 20 years for the Lake and Mendocino County Community Care Program on Aging, said she intended often families trying to educate themselves and find transportation options for their seniors. parents once they have removed the keys from the car.
“They ask, ‘What are we doing now?’ Johnson said. “The point is, if we are to promote independence as we age in place, it is vital to have a vibrant public transport system that supports that independence. The increase in longevity is directly correlated with people getting out and moving. “
Vega, who only uses a landline, said she would call the Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA) Dial-A-Ride bus or the Ukiah Senior Center bus if her children couldn’t drive her to medical appointments , races and races.
Both of these options provide professional, personalized transportation for seniors and people with disabilities across much of the county, with the most robust service in the towns and villages of Ukiah, Willits, Fort Bragg, Boonville, and Point Arena.
The public transportation option that offers the widest hours of operation and drivers with extensive training in safety and passenger assistance is offered by MTA’s Dial-A-Ride service in Ukiah and Fort Bragg . In Ukiah, Dial-A-Ride operates Monday to Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is exclusively for people aged 62 and over and passengers with disabilities, with wheelchair lifts, door-to-door service -gate and passes. In Fort Bragg, the Dial-A-Ride service operates weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In Willits for $ 1.50 each way, seniors can take the MTA Route 1 bus, which winds in a long, hourly loop through town from senior housing, the senior center, hospitals and clinics. health, town hall, downtown and Evergreen shopping areas, and Sherwood Valley Casino.
Seniors’ Centers provide sturdy transportation and an important food and social lifeline to seniors and disabled citizens in Ukiah, Willits, Fort Bragg, Boonville and Point Arena. Each senior center has its own bus schedule with a reservation service like MTA’s Dial-A-Ride and the buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts. Rides can be booked for a wide variety of trips, and drivers can help transport bags of groceries to a senior’s home, known as door-to-door service.
In Ukiah, the Seniors Center buses serve people aged 55 and over and run every day of the week except Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In Fort Bragg, the bus picks up people aged 60 and over and runs every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Willits Senior Center provides transportation for people aged 55 and over daily from 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. and includes service to Brooktrails, Pine Mountain and surrounding areas of the valley.
With just 32 people per square mile in rural Mendocino County compared to the California average of 273 people per square mile, providing public transportation for everyone is prohibitive. Many seniors who do not drive and who live in remote areas of Mendocino County, such as Comptche, Branscomb and Laytonville, are isolated and rely primarily on their neighbors and loved ones for transportation.
Mendocino Transit Authority provides safe, inexpensive, and convenient public bus service throughout Mendocino County and to Santa Rosa. For more information on transportation options, call (707) 462-1422 or visit http://www.mendocinotransit.org/