Chester county senior citizens who need help with transportation may soon have a new ride option.
MyRide West TN, is working to expand their services to Chester County.
MyRide West TN is a volunteer based program that provides older adults (60 and over) with transportation assistance through essential local trips. The program has been operational in Madison County and Henderson County for several years.
However, in order for it to happen, MyRide needs volunteers.
According to MyRide West TN Director Keita Cole, they hope to have the program up and running by December 1, but they need the community to respond to their efforts.
“The program uses volunteer drivers and in order to ‘launch’ the program we have to have 10 trained volunteers ready to go. That means they have to apply, be screened, background checked and go through training before they can begin taking rides. In order to do that we need the communities help. If we cannot hit that number by the beginning of December then we will not be able to launch then. The more assistance we have from the community and the more people who are willing to become volunteers – the sooner the older adults in Chester County will be able to utilize this service,” Cole said.
Some Chester Countians have already expressed their need for more transportation options to MyRide.
“We have been receiving a lot of calls from people of Chester County in need of assistance so we just felt like it was time to branch out into this county and give it a try,” Cole explained. “Chester County has always been on our radar to expand into because of the proximity to Madison County. We know a lot of people travel into Madison for medical trips and the timing was right for us to try and launch in the county. We know that Chester County is the home to Southwest HRA and we are so grateful for the service they provide. We are not trying to take the place of HRA, we are just trying to fill the gap for those who need a little more hands on assistance or one-on-one attention. We feel that all services are needed in all counties and we are just another option for people.”
The steering committee has not decided on the price for Chester County right now.
“We are still in the planning stages. We are hoping to keep it consistent with Madison County which is $25/year membership and $2/ride in county and $5/ride out of county. But that can change depending on what the steering committee decides,” Cole said.
MyRide began in Madison County in May of 2017. After the success of the program in Madison County, the TN Commission on Aging and Disability encouraged the Southwest AAAD to apply for a grant from the Chancery Court in Davidson County to make the program a statewide program. The SWAAAD did apply and was awarded the grant in April of 2018. At that time the program began expanding statewide. The goal of the grant was to provide 15,000 trips in three years to 1,500 older adults. Due to COVID, the program has had a challenging time and has been extended into year four to complete the goals. As of August 2021 there are 21 programs, more than 70,000 trips have been provided statewide, providing services to more than 1,700 older adults. It is clear that it is a needed service. The mission of MyRide it to provide a safe, reliable, accessible, affordable, door-through-door transportation program for older adults who qualify to assist them to essential trips.
For anyone interested in learning more or wanting to assist they can join the next meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday, October 20 at the Chester County Senior Center.
For more information, you can also contact Keita Cole at 731-668-6451, email@example.com or MyRide West TN’s Facebook Page facebook.com/myridewesttn.