New WPHF Grant Supports Senior Transportation Option

Hoping to provide more transportation alternatives for local seniors, the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), through its Older Adults Work Group, approved a grant of $6,086 to help support a pilot van service program offering one-day a week service.

This pilot program is highly collaborative and will benefit from the unused capacity and availability of Seniors First wheelchair-accessible passenger vans along with New Freedom federal transportation grant funds that Lynx has already received.

The project is the result of work that began in late 2007 when the WPHF provided funding to the Senior Resource Alliance (SRA) to lead the Senior Transportation Collaborative. This grant brought together transportation providers that serve older adults living in Winter Park.  As part of the grant, surveys and focus groups were conducted to determine the extent of the need for transportation among seniors living at the Plymouth Apartments, Calvary Towers and College Park Towers.  Results of these data collection efforts affirmed both the need, and the willingness of seniors to use, a shared van transportation service.

Continued discussions between WPHF, SRA, Seniors First and Lynx has resulted in funding for the pilot program which will begin by offering a one-day/week semi-fixed route that would be repeated three times throughout the day.  The route will pick up and drop off at the three senior housing facilities listed above and will make stops at the Publix Supermarket at Hollieanna Plaza, Walgreens and CVS locations on 17/92, K-Mart Plaza in Winter Park, and Winter Park Village.  Additional stops in the immediate geographic area will be considered, depending on demand. 

It is envisioned that a second day/route can be added at a later date, depending upon ridership volume and the interest level that the seniors have for traveling to other destinations. 

WPHF’s support will fund the cost of a temporary part-time Outreach Coordinator needed to manage the outreach and marketing, preliminary coordination, publicity and program evaluation, in addition to the purchase of materials related to these functions.

The program is designed to be self-sustaining assuming 70% capacity with a round trip fare of $5 per person.  The service is scheduled to begin July 1, 2009.