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Need a Lift?

By Megan Kiehne

Fri, Jul 12th, 2013
Posted in All Features

By Megan Kiehne

Senior citizens, the handicaped, children and those unable to drive adults would love to experience independent and inexpensive traveling. Luckily, Rushford, Minn. and now Spring Valley, Minn. have a service for these community members.

The first is a service called the Fillmore County Public Transit. The public transit provides “affordable transportation for all ages, curb to curb.” The transit can take a person to medical appointments, grocery shopping, retail shopping, Senior Dining, work, special events, and even bring children to daycare or preschool. This organization is open Monday through Friday driving all over Fillmore County with monthly trips to Rochester, Minn. This first come, first serve basis transit needs to be reserved 24-hours in advance for a volunteer driver to be placed. Funded mainly by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Greater Minnesota Transit Fund, this is how the transit can keep its prices so low. The prices on detailed trips are on the SEMCAC website.

Another one of SEMCAC’s wonderful programs is the Volunteer Driver Program. This program’s mission is “to assist people in achieving or maintaining independence by providing quality volunteer driver service.” Unlike the public transit, the volunteer driver service is for use by Medical Assistance clients, Department of Health Services clients, and all persons aged 60 and older. The cost to riders can sometimes be covered by health insurance. In October of 2010, one of the riders said, “I very much appreciated the transportation the two times I needed it, the driver was prompt, courteous, and helpful.” This program is funded in part by the Southeast Minnesota Area Agency on Aging.

Recently on July 1, Spring Valley started a public transit bus service of its own. Same as Rushford’s Transit all ages can ride and pay cheap prices. Spring Valley also runs five days a week and has two trips a week to Rochester. The transit provides rides to Senior Dining, shopping, personal business, recreation, medical appointments, and more!

These helpful vehicles do not just drive themselves, volunteer drivers assist. Volunteer drivers are men and women giving their time and vehicle to help transport elderly of their community. They provide needs for local and long distance trips mainly to LaCrosse, Wis. and Rochester. Benefits besides the satisfaction of helping others are a bonus. These benefits include reimbursement of mileage, parking and meal expenses. Drivers are allowed to set their own schedules and destinations. A great benefit is the discounted insurance for driving. Drivers must be 21 or older, have a valid drivers license, proof of insurance, and a good driving record. Drivers are always needed in communities to help the elderly.

If you know of anyone or even yourself who can benefit from these helpful programs or are interested in helping out your elders, contact Rushford SEMCAC for more information. Having these services helps not only the riders but the entire community.

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