OCEANSIDE — The Solutions for Seniors on the Go program will continue for another three years thanks to matching funds and in-kind volunteer services awarded by City Council to the Caltrans New Freedom Grant on April 17.
A total of $437,800 — $260,300 in funds and $181,509 in in-kind volunteer services — will help support senior taxi script, shuttle service and volunteer drivers for fiscal years 2014 to 2017.
“In 2014-2015 we are not going to be getting a grant from SANDAG,” Margery Pierce, neighborhood services director, said. “We are applying for a Caltrans grant for the same program.”
The Solutions for Seniors on the Go transportation assistance program is currently available to Oceanside seniors age 65 and older who no longer drive.
The program gives seniors the option to buy taxi script at $7 for $20 worth of taxi fare, or arrange shuttle service in advance at $5 a ride, or call a volunteer driver at no charge. Each service provides door-to-door transportation.
“They can choose which option works best for them,” Janet Grate, city program specialist, said.
Discounted taxi script is honored by Yellow Cab and 24-7 Taxi Cab companies.
Shuttle service is provided by American Logistics.
Volunteer drivers are recruited by the city and reimbursed for their mileage. Their service is usually requested by seniors age 85 and over who need extra help getting in and out of vehicles and do not have a caregiver or family that lives close by.
“The volunteer drivers are my favorite part of the program and the most satisfying,” Grate said. “They provide one-on-one contact that develops into friendships. They offer more than transportation. It’s a really rewarding part of program. The seniors are so thankful.”
The current program serves 1,200 seniors and provides 800 rides a month.
If grant funds are not awarded the program will be reduced to taxi script sales and volunteer drivers in 2014-15 and than be discontinued.