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Senior transportation services funded for two more years in Oceanside

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside pledged $400,000 to match TransNet funds to support senior transportation services for two more years.

The Solutions for Seniors on the Go program provides discounted taxi, shuttle and volunteer driver services to Oceanside seniors age 65 and older, who can no longer drive.

City Council unanimously approved program funds on Oct. 12.

The program allows seniors to buy $20 worth of taxi fare for $7, arrange $5 one-way shuttle service and call for a volunteer driver at no charge.

Taxis provide service to anywhere in North County.

Shuttles are available for door-to-door rides to destinations in Oceanside, Carlsbad and Vista from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Volunteer drivers are scheduled through the program transportation coordinator. The city ensures drivers are fingerprinted, go through background checks and carry adequate insurance.

The program helps seniors get to doctor’s appointments, pharmacies, grocery stores and daily outings.

Program organizers say relationships that develop between homebound seniors and drivers is just as valuable as the transportation.

The program serves about 1,200 seniors and provides approximately 800 rides a month.

Solutions for Seniors on the Go is dependent on matching TransNet mini grant funds, which have been awarded to Oceanside since monies became available in 2009.

Other cities also provide discounted transportation for seniors.

Encinitas runs the Out and About Transportation Program, in which volunteer drivers take seniors to locations within the city.

Carlsbad has the “Let us do the driving” program. It provides rides for seniors 60 and older to the senior center, medical appointments, Walmart, Stater Bros. and Trader Joe’s. Service runs Monday through Friday.

Del Mar provides taxi, shuttle and volunteer driver services to seniors age 62 and older.

Taxi service is $5 for $20 worth of taxi fare. There is no charge for shuttle or volunteer driver services.

All programs require preregistration and advanced requests for rides. Locations and hours of services are limited. Donations and tips are accepted.

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