London

Middlesex County launches new shuttle service for those facing transportation barriers

A new transportation service starting Tuesday will link vulnerable and low-income residents of Middlesex County to medical appointments, including COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

The free Voyago service starts Tuesday

Middlesex County has partnered with Voyago to help residents facing transportation barriers get to their vaccination and medical appointments. (Provided by Taylor Mooney)

A new transportation service starting Tuesday will link vulnerable and low-income residents of Middlesex County to medical appointments, including COVID-19 vaccination appointments. 

The free, round-trip Voyago shuttle is available to those with limited transportation options, or who cannot afford transportation to vaccination appointments, medical clinics or hospitals. 

"We are so pleased that this partnership will increase access for eligible Middlesex County community members to the vaccination clinics and medical appointments" Cathy Burghardt-Jesson, warden of Middlesex County, said in a statement. "This service will help support and protect the health of our most vulnerable populations." 

The service will operate Monday through Sunday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Trips must be pre-booked on a first-come, first-served basis. Only residents of Middlesex County who have a vaccine or other medical appointment can use the service for the purpose of travelling to and from their appointment.

Transport is open to residents with appointments at any of London and Middlesex County's four mass vaccination sites. It will also provide rides to a pop-up clinic taking place in Thames Centre on May 28 and May 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the FlightExec Centre on Dorchester Road. 

The free shuttle service will take residents in Middlesex County, shown here, to any of the four mass vaccination sites in London and area. (Provided by Taylor Mooney)

The service is funded by the Province of Ontario's Social Service Relief Fund. 

Middlesex County's transportation projects and communications coordinator Taylor Mooney said that the initiative is set to run temporarily for the next few months as vaccination sites increase their capacity. The county will evaluate the community's need for transit at the end of that timeline.    

"We're hoping that we can create an equitable approach to the vaccine clinics, making sure that everyone has a chance to get their vaccination over the next couple of months," Mooney said. 

Voyago operators will clean the van between passengers and ensure contactless pickup and dropoff measures are in place. Masks and other face coverings are mandatory on the shuttle. 

Trips can be pre-booked by calling Voyago Transportation at 1-888-465-0783 Monday to Sunday from 5 a.m. to midnight. Passengers are required to complete a COVID-19 screening checklist before boarding.

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