Senior transportation cooperative being launched

October 18, 2013

A small group in Sussex County is attempting to launch a Senior Transportation Cooperative. We are aware that the average senior lives 10 years beyond his driving years, (women generally 12 years), that the county has a huge retired population, and that there are very limited sources for transport to medical appointments, grocery shopping, taking the dog to the vet, socializing, etc. Most of those trips could be handled by rides in a regular car without the need of handicapped lifts.

It comes as no surprise to residents that in the whole of Sussex County, 27 percent of our population is aged 55-74 and that 9 percent is over 75. It is more exacerbated on the coast area. For example, the Lewes area has 34 percent aged 55-74 with 10 percent over 75; the Ocean View area has 43 percent aged 55-74 with 8 percent over 75, etc. Compare that to the national average where 15 percent are aged 55-74 and 7 percent are over 75.

How would such a cooperative work? Seniors would pay a small fee (approximately $25) to be vetted/join the cooperative. They would then open a small account (again, approximately $25) to be used to pay for transport. The money in the senior’s personal account would be used for being driven in a private car to medical appointments, concerts, support group meetings, or other transport needs. The cost would be approximately $1 a mile. Be aware, too, that people can “gift” money to your account, and that you can transfer your monies to other affiliated cooperatives throughout the nation should you move.

The national statistics at this time indicate that the average age of the rider is 79.76 years; the average length of the ride is 4.97 miles, and the average cost is $10.89

The drivers, who would also have to be vetted and join, would have a personal account set up and would bank credited miles for use in the future when they can no longer drive at a mile-for-a-mile. Most of the cooperative drivers would drive within their own neighborhoods, would pick a rider up at his door, would be able to chat with and get to know the person he is driving, but would not have to remain at the appointment. Another driver would be given a pick-up time to be there and take a rider home

We are approaching government members, foundations, donors, etc. for start-up funds. It is our intention to affiliate with ITNAmerica who has operations in 22 states and has been operating for fifteen years. We intend to call ourselves ITNSouthernDelaware

Nancy Feichtl

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