‘It means a lot, a whole lot
St. Fintan’s woman calls Ride for Ages bus ‘a godsend and a blessing’
Annie White didn’t need the politicians in the room to tell her that the Ride for Ages, Community Transportation bus is a great thing.
The 82-year-old St. Fintan’s resident is a regular rider and was one of a group from the Bay St. George area who hopped on board for a trip to Corner Brook on Monday morning.
They were destined for the arts and culture centre where Premier Dwight Ball announced $300,000 in funding for six projects under the Age-Friendly Transportation Grants Program.
The Bay St. George Development Association, which operates the Ride for Ages bus, was one of the groups to receive $50,000.
White has been riding the bus since the pilot project started three years ago.
“Oh my dear it means a lot, a whole lot,” she said of the transportation service after the announcement. “A godsend and a blessing,” she added with a sigh.
White is a widow and doesn’t have a car. With no family in the area she used to rely on good friends to get where she needed to go. It was great to have the help, but it was sometimes limiting.
Now she uses the bus to get to medical appointments, to go on shopping trips and social excursions like dancing every Sunday in Barachois Brook and laughs saying: “I goes to church in the morning, goes dancing in the afternoon.”
There is a schedule for the month and whenever the bus goes she’s on it.
“This is beautiful, I hope we’ll always keep it. It’s the best thing that ever happened to our community out there.”
White has even taken on a sense of ownership with the bus and will help out with keeping track of the passengers as they board the bus.
That sense of belonging in getting the seniors in the communities to buy into the program was a challenge.
“We thought getting the seniors on the bus and having them use it was going to be fairly simple,” said association board member Monica McGrath.
But people were set in their own ways, she said, getting where they needed for years by catching a ride with friends or family.
McGrath said they had to work to change their mindset, and now is seeing ridership steadily increasing.
The personal service provided by project co-ordinator Travis Hulan is also helping as he makes contact with the clients letting them know what’s happening.
The association will use the money it’s getting this year to subsidize the running of the bus in order to keep the cost to users low and for advertising the service.
Annie White, front, is a regular user of the Bay St. George Development Association’s Ride for Ages, Community Transportation bus. She and fellow users, Maude Chaffey, back left, and Gloria Stock were among a group that visited Corner Brook on Monday.