Seniors' bus service seeks volunteers in Bridgewater
Shortage of volunteers means seniors will be stuck on the curb
A Bridgewater non-profit bus service for seniors and people with disabilities is seeking volunteer drivers to offset their shortage.
Roughly 800 passengers a month step onto the Senior Wheels door-to-door bus service.
But a lack of volunteers has meant the occasional shifts aren't being filled.
For some in the community it’s the only way to get around.
“When you haven't the bus, you're lost,” says passenger Dorothy Ernst.
Hans Boot, a volunteer driver with Senior Wheels, said many passengers rely on the bus to get to the grocery store, doctor appointments, the pharmacy and the bank.
More than 170,000 have used the service since 1992.
But now, with a shortage of people willing to get behind the wheel, the Senior Wheels Association is urgently appealing for more volunteer drivers.
“If we don't have a driver, the bus doesn't move,” said the association’s president Melba Lantz.
Currently there are about 15 drivers who come in a few days a week to cover morning and afternoon shifts.
The bus service runs six days a week.
Lantz says six more drivers would be ideal.
To volunteer, drivers must have a regular Class 5 licence and will be required to have standard security and driver background checks, as well as some training.
David MacLeod has been volunteering for Senior Wheels for 19 years.
“Some people could do without it. Other people depend on it,” he said. “They really depend on it and probably couldn’t afford to take a taxi to all these places.”