Town Transportation Services Second to None

Seniors in town have the ability to tap into some pretty impressive services.{{more}}

Community Services provides transportation services to seniors and individuals who are unable to transport themselves to medical appointments.

With a fleet of four vehicles, the three part-time drivers provide curb to curb service.

The drivers include Bubba Phillips, who has been with Community Services for eight years, and Jim Moule and Bruce Simons who have been driving residents for the past two years.

Areas served for residents include Hamden, West Haven, Milford, Derby and Woodbridge.

In addition to medical transportation Simons also provides a weekly shopping trip to Shop Rite and the Wal Mart plaza in Milford.

“I love the job, love the people,” Phillips said. The other two drivers agreed.

All said they love transporting the seniors

The fleet include two buses, one hightop van and a minivan recently donated by the Orange Rotary Club.

The first pickup is at 8:30 a.m. and last pickup at 4 p.m.

Transportation Coordinator Kim Callahan said if at all possible she asks for 24 to 48 hours notice to schedule a rde.

Callahan said the rides are donation based.

“If the trip is in town we ask for $4 to surrounding communities $6 round trip,” Callahan said.

Callahan said if the rider is in a wheelchair they need to have someone accompany them. No donation is requested for the additional person.

Community Services Director Carol Nardini said transportation services started in 1980 when an anonymous person donated a van with the condition it be named Valerie.

The first transportation coordinator was Pat Quigley, Nardini said. In the 1990s, the department underwent reorganization and the position of transportation coordinator became dual to include administrative assistant. Callahan was hired for that position.

Nardini said the town was leasing vehicles from the Urban Municipal Transportation Agency until recently. However, she said, those funds have “dried up.”

Last year the department did 3,738 roundtrip rides and took in $4,290 in donations.

Those funds, Nardini said, go back to the town in the general fund.

Community Services has budgeted $85,000 for transportation including salaries and membership into the Greater New Haven Transit District. This allows town residents the opportunity for those services which provide trips further from town.

Community Services recently conducted a transportation survey. A initial survey was conducted in 2009.

Respondents who do not need the services reported that when the time comes they will use the services. Many say the services are “very important to them and having the transportation services in town has influenced their decision to stay in Orange.” Most of the respondents are over the age of 80.

Call Callahan at 203-891-4788 to arrange a ride.