By Matt Wilson, @WilsonSTComms
SamTrans has a long history of getting seniors where they need to go around the Peninsula, whether by way of bus or paratransit. This decades-long commitment to our More-Life-Experienced Citizenry is a big reason why the SamTrans Board of Directors designated May as Older Americans Month.
A proclamation was read at Wednesday’s board of directors meeting that reaffirmed SamTrans’ commitment to provide quality transit service to older residents in San Mateo County who are looking to get to social services, their medical appointments, visit loved ones and enjoy recreation opportunities. SamTrans understands that reliable transportation solutions are vital for maintaining individual senior’s independence.
Older Americans Month is a reminder for our agency and the community to stop, and take a moment to reflect on daily challenges faced by senior citizens throughout the SamTrans service area, take stock of the measures that are being extended to assist them, and to increase public awareness of new opportunities that meet their needs.
In those areas, SamTrans has quite a bit to be proud of. The proclamation stated that SamTrans maintained zero “trip denials” on Redi-Wheels paratransit, despite a record –breaking increase in trip demand. SamTrans has also trained seniors to use fixed-route services, enhanced senior accessibility of bus stops for convenience, engaged the community in our Senior Mobility Action Plan projects and Senior Ambassadors, and participates in AARP and CHP-Volunteer senior driver safety training classes to promote transit use.
The board presented a proclamation to one of our Mobility Ambassadors, who are volunteers that help older adults and people with disabilities with many transportation-related issues, including planning a trip using public transit, finding a driver safety class, and learning about alternatives to driving, such as community shuttles. These ambassadors can also give educational presentations, conduct group and one-on-one rider training, and organize group trips on transit to interesting destinations.
SamTrans isn’t the only agency, group or business saluting seniors this month. In fact, it’s a nationwide designation from the Administration on Aging, with the President chiming in earlier this week, too.
The organization’s theme this year is Engage at Every Age, and emphasizes that “you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.”