Care-A-Van shuttle provides senior transportation

B'ville seniors now have more options for transportation to their medical appointments.

Thanks to four dedicated women, the Baldwinsville Senior Care-A-Van Shuttle will transport senior citizens to and from medical appointments in Baldwinsville, Clay and North Syracuse two days a week.

The program came to fruition after Nancy Conley, Ellen Stevens and Judy Laurange met for a PEACE Neighborhood Advisory Council meeting. Stevens, who is the director of PEACE Inc., County West Family Resource Center in Baldwinsville, was looking for additional uses for the PEACE Van, which is currently used to pick up corporate donations and for transportation to PEACE meetings.

"We weren't using the van to its fullest potential," Stevens said.

Conley, who is the executive director of the Baldwinsville Volunteer Center, and Laurange, who runs the B'ville Express at Canton Woods Senior Center, said their eyes lit up as they considered the possibility of using the van to transport more seniors to medical appointments.

"The biggest obstacle for seniors to remain independent is transportation," Conley said. "They don't have a lot of family members available during the day [to transport them.]"

The three women, along with the help of Marilyn Butcher, who has coordinated rides for senior citizens for decades through the B'ville express, established the Care-A-Van program and expect to launch it this month.

"Our goal is to transport the increasing number of seniors who need rides to their medical appointments," Conley said. "This will also eliminate multiple trips to one medical site."

How program works

The Care-A-Van will provide transportation to medical appointments in Clay on Mondays and North Syracuse on Wednesdays, in addition to appointments made in the greater Baldwinsville area.

"Clients should begin scheduling their appointments accordingly," Conley said.

The seven-seat van will include a volunteer driver and escort, leaving accommodations for five seniors per trip. Seniors utilizing the service must be ambulatory as there is no wheel chair lift on the van. The Care-A-Van is an addition to the current B'ville Express program in which volunteers use their personal vehicles to transport seniors to and from appointments. Conley hopes the program is a step towards establishing a much larger transportation system for Baldwinsville area seniors.

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