Transportation Planning Committee considers targeting seniors’ needs


By Kyle Shaner - kshaner@sidneydailynews.com



SIDNEY – Members of the Shelby County Transportation Planning Committee discussed how to best utilize their resources and promote services during a quarterly meeting on Thursday.

Shelby Public Transit is experimenting with expanded hours, extending ride services from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Committee members agreed the expansion was a positive for the community but more awareness of the service was needed.

Marianna Roth suggested that targeting advertisements to senior citizens could have the best return on investment.

“There is really a lack (of options) for old people that have to give up their driving to get around and do things, and it doesn’t matter if you live at Fair Haven or Dorothy Love or if you’re independent living in your own home,” said Roth, who attended the meeting with her husband, Dick. “And I’m not sure how we can rectify that problem, but that is our biggest concern; that’s one of the reasons why we’re interested in coming (to the Transportation Planning Committee meetings).”

Some senior living centers, such as Ohio Living Dorothy Love, offer their own transportation services, but residents still utilize public transportation, Roth said. And public transportation can be a great option for seniors who still live independently, she said.

“You save an awful lot of money by not driving a car or having that car,” Roth said, adding the cost savings can be worth the inconvenience of waiting for a ride.

Public transportation services are available to everyone in Shelby County. Previously the committee had talked about working with employers to highlight the services.

“The minute people get a job and can make that first down payment, they’re going to get a car,” Roth said. “So we can spend a lot of money and a lot of time getting that ride for them, but how long will it last?”

Roth said she supports getting people to jobs but thought targeting seniors would fill a more continual need.

Michelle Caserta-Bixler, mobility manager at Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, agreed that proving transportation to jobs is a positive but the senior demographic could have a more consistent need.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword, right?” Caserta-Bixler said. “It’s kind of one of those things, you know, we expand the transportation to get people to work then they become self-sufficient.”

Along with promoting the services, committee members said a challenge is ensuring public transportation has enough vehicles and drivers to meet demand.

“I know there’s a lot of them that just don’t bother to call and ask for a ride because they know they can’t get a ride,” Darlene Prater, Fair Haven’s Nutrition Services coordinator, said.

For more information about Shelby Public Transit, visit http://www.sidneyoh.com/public-transit or call 937-492-6117.

By Kyle Shaner

kshaner@sidneydailynews.com

Reach this writer at kshaner@sidneydailynews.com or 937-538-4824.

Reach this writer at kshaner@sidneydailynews.com or 937-538-4824.