If you’re at least 70 or disabled and have trouble getting around Provo and Orem, there’s a new ride service for you.
Launched Oct. 13, Utah Valley Rides will take seniors age 70 and older and people with disabilities to doctor’s offices, grocery stores, the mall — basically anywhere they need to go within the two cities, said Michaelann Bradley, marketing and communications manager for United Way of Utah County. Right now, the rides are only available Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It really is going to help increase the range of motion of these people,” she said. “And hopefully get employment if they need it.”
There already is a service, Utah Valley Paratransit, that offers origin-to-destination service for disabled people. It operates in the same area and with the same days and hours as UTA bus and TRAX service. Utah Valley Rides fills in the gaps of paratransit, and includes seniors, she said. People with disabilities must meet UTA’s reduced fare requirements to qualify for rides.
“It really is going to help increase the range of motion of these people. And hopefully get employment if they need it.” — Michaelann Bradley, communications manager for United Way of Utah County
So far, two vans are dedicated to the service, Bradley said. And the vans are equipped to carry passengers with mobility devices like walkers, wheelchairs and power chairs — think Jazzy. Organizers ask riders to donate $2 per trip to cover gas and vehicle upkeep. But they won’t turn anyone away, Bradley said.
United Way, UTA and the Mountainland Association of Governments are partners in the service. UTA awarded it a grant, but otherwise it’s run by volunteers, she said.
“It’s really sustainable because it’s run by volunteers,” Bradley said.
Organizers held a launch event at the Provo Senior Center to get the word out about the service. Organizers also have reached out to other senior centers and users of the paratransit system.
“We’re just barely getting started, so demand hasn’t been high,” Bradley said.
Besides riders, Utah Valley Rides needs more volunteers. “We especially want volunteers,” she said. “That’s our biggest need right now.”
Volunteers must have a driver’s license and be 21 or older. Also, in the past three years volunteers must have no more than two speeding tickets, no more than one at-fault accident and no felony convictions. They will need to go through a training program, too, she said.
To get a ride or volunteer, call (801) 471-0601 or go to the Utah Valley Rides website.