Lois Favier, Executive Director of ITNLehighValley – Independent Transportation Network, joins host Eleanor Bobrow to discuss providing transportation services to seniors and the visually impaired. This important service helps them maintain their independence.
Archive for the ‘ITN in the Press’ Category
For more than 20 years, the Independent Transportation Network has provided door-through-door and arm-through-arm transportation for older people and people with visual impairments in the Greater Portland area. Using both paid and volunteer drivers, ITN provides rides 24/7 in private automobiles, and it is does not rely on taxpayer dollars. Some ITN members have used the service from more than 18 years. Although 40 percent of rides are for healthcare, ITN takes people to work, to shopping and to the hairdresser. Members even use the service to take pets to the veterinarian or to go on dates.
Maine has almost 500 municipalities, so over the years, many communities have reached out to ITN to expand service to their older or visually impaired residents. Until now, ITN always had to say “sorry.” Now there may be a way to offer ITN’s innovative programs to communities of every size, in Maine and other states.
The new approach is called ITNCountry and ITN’s founder, Katherine Freund, is already working with several small and rural communities in Maine, as well as one each in Pennsylvania, Vermont and Arizona, to develop the new rural model.
There are several proposed differences between the original ITN and the rural model. The original is an entirely separate non-profit organization, but ITNCountry can be a program within another organization. The original ITN guarantees a ride 24/7 for any purpose, while ITNCountry service parameters will be established by the local communities. Because it is practically impossible to guarantee a ride 24/7 with no paid staff, the original ITN has both paid and volunteer drivers and staff. But small, rural communities often run on little or no paid staff, so ITNCountry will be designed to run with only volunteers, if that is what the community chooses to do. Another proposed difference will be how ITNCountry communities learn how to run the service. ITN will build a large on-line learning community where all of ITN’s innovative programs are taught and supported.
With all of these differences, what is proposed to stay the same? The important stuff—all of ITN’s award winning programs, like CarTrade, Transportation Social Security, Ride & Shop, Healthy Miles, Ride Services, and Personal Transportation Accounts. In these programs, older people may trade the cars they can no longer drive to cover the cost of their rides, or volunteers may earn credits for their volunteer effort and bank them to plan for their own future needs. An adult child may volunteer in Bowdoinham and send her volunteer credits to a parent who lives in Bethel, where an ITNCountry volunteer will drive her mother, father or grandparent. Merchants and healthcare providers can help pay for rides through Ride & Shop or Healthy Miles and everything, all of these programs, are built into the software. Best of all, the software will connect every participating community through one information system, across the State of Maine.
If you or your community would like to learn more or participate in ITNCountry, please contact Katherine at Katherine.Freund@ITNAmerica.org or call 207-591-6926.
The Independent Transportation Network Monterey County has been awarded a $10,000 matching grant from the Harden Foundation. All donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000.
The purpose of the grant is to continue providing rides for seniors and visually impaired adults. Community members that would like to contribute to this worthy cause can donate at itnmontereycounty.org or by mailing donations to ITN Monterey County, 5 Harris Court, Building A, Monterey, CA 93940.
Jon Brandt of Salinas gives rides in his car to elderly or blind people who cannot drive. Brandt is a volunteer driver for the Independent Transportation Network (ITN) that provides more than 270 automobile rides a week in Monterey County. Brandt says he volunteers to show respect to seniors. “I meet so many interesting people,” Brandt said. “I enjoy it.”
Aimee Cuda is the director ITN Monterey County. “Our clients get rides to every kind of errand, from doctor visits to social events.” One client even gets a ride to and from her job every day. “The ITN ride service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year,” Cuda said, A ride must be arranged before 2 p.m. on the day before it is needed. ITN provides arm-through-arm service, not just door to door. “Our drivers make sure the clients gets to their destinations with dignity and safety,” said Cuda.
Westminster Presbyterian Church has contracted with Independent Transportation Network Southern Delaware to provide transportation for any church member to and from any church service or event.
ITN Southern Delaware recently began operations providing safe and affordable transportation services to seniors and the visually impaired in Sussex County. Aware that some senior church members could be or will be in need of these services, the Westminster Mission Committee agreed to provide this service for a trial period.
Lexington Herald Leader: Tom Eblen: Non-profit transportation network celebrates 50,000 rides in seven yearsJanuary 26, 2016
Ruth Mercer hasn’t been able to drive for some time, so when doctors last spring told her husband, Jerry, that he should quit driving, she was concerned how they would get around.
The couple recently gave up their home of 43 years off Clays Mill Road to move into an apartment at their daughter’s house, but they didn’t want to be constantly asking her for transportation
Then somebody told them about ITN Bluegrass, a non-profit agency that gives rides to people older than 60 or with visual impairment in Lexington and parts of Jessamine and Woodford counties.
“It has afforded me a lot of freedom,” said Mercer, who uses the service two or three times a week. “I really appreciate what they do. I don’t feel like I’m in a cab. I feel like I’m having a friend drive me.”
Katherine Freund, ITNAmerica Founder and President Assembles An Expert Panel for Game Changing Dialogue- Senior Mobility in Transit: Nothing Will Ever Be the Same Again.January 7, 2016
Monday, January 11th from 10:15AM-12:00PM Katherine Freud will lead a discussion panel during the 95th annual Transportation Research Board Meeting in Washington, DC. The panel of experts will explore the impact of connectivity as a game changer for increasing mobility options for Seniors on a National and International basis. Experts from Uber, Lyft, AARP Life Reimagined and Princeton University will discuss new collaborations, changing expectations, special needs, smart cars and a rapidly changing landscape in senior transportation.
To view the full program scheduled, go to the interactive Transportation Research Board 95th Annual Program Guide
Thanks to volunteer driver Cathy Taylor, ITN Southern Delaware’s first official ride went off without a hitch.
Taylor picked up Jack Refsnider at his Rehoboth home for a scheduled appointment Dec. 2. She also volunteered to bring him back home.
Taylor said, “Jack loves American history, so an interesting conversation was had!” Refsnider said next time he needs a ride, he hopes Taylor will be his driver. She assured him that all the volunteers are wonderful people, but if she is available she would love to drive him again.
Almost everybody knows Bergen County’s senior population is huge, but nobody was certain that a recently launched low-cost, volunteer ride service designed specifically for the elderly and visually impaired would succeed. After all, Bergen is an affluent, densely populated county with taxis, commercial bus routes, municipal senior vans and a few local senior-ride programs — to say nothing of Uber and Lyft.
But last spring, nearly all doubt was erased when phones at ITN America’s new North Jersey affiliate in Wyckoff started ringing off the hook. By November, ridership topped 100 and weekly rides reached 105.
“We knew there was big demand here because so many seniors need rides, but this is amazing,” said John Boswick, the affiliate’s president and chief executive.
When Carol DeCatur found out she could trade the value of her car for credit toward future ride services, she immediately called ITNSouthernDelaware. Although DeCatur still drives, she said, “Two cars in the garage is one too many!”
In exchange for her 1993 Chrysler LeBaron, she will receive the highest local value of her car deposited into her personal transportation account as mileage credits for future use.
A car remaining unused in the garage still costs money. Registration and inspection fees, insurance, and maintenance costs can mount up to as much as $8,000 a year. ITN’s trademarked CarTrade program allows a person to trade a car for mileage credit in a member’s rides account, or to donate the car outright for tax purposes. Both programs are especially popular during the holiday giving season. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and even RVs can be donated through the CarTrade program.