Senior transport options studied

Published 11:43 am Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Services organization working with hospitals

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia is working to put together an expanded transportation system for Isle of Wight County.

The system would be in addition to its current I-Ride van program, according to Chester Freeman with the Western Tidewater Transportation Collaborative, which is part of SSSEV.

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Freeman discussed the program, which is currently in the planning stages, at a recent meeting of the Isle of Wight County Commission on Aging.

One of the main problems for seniors in Isle of Wight is transportation, Freeman said. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Freeman said SSSEV is working on a deal with Humankind to take over its fleet of vans for the program. Humankind recently closed its Zuni facility, which served adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,

The program being proposed has two components, according to Freeman.

SSSEV would work with Sentara Obici and Southampton Memorial hospitals to provide transportation for patients being discharged from the emergency room, but who do not have a ride home, Freeman said.

The service would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the timing of the ride would be coordinated through the patient’s health care providers as he or she is treated at the hospital, Freeman said.

The second part of the program would provide rides to the Ivor Medical Clinic and the Western Tidewater Free Clinic. The van would go from Route 460 along Route 258 to the Smithfield area, and perhaps take seniors to Walmart in Franklin.

“We want to do everything we can possibly do to get them out of the house,” Freeman said.

The pilot program would begin with rides being provided two days a week for 30 days to see how it works, Freeman said.

To pay for the programs, SSSEV has applied for a $20,000 grant to hire part-time drivers, he said, adding that the drivers would go through standard background and drug screenings.

The hospitals are picking up a portion of the tab for the emergency room part of the program, Freeman said.

The ride would be in addition to the current I-Ride program in Smithfield and would probably include a $1 fee, Freeman said, adding that the I-Ride program, while viable, has a limited route.

The vans, similar to the I-Ride vehicles, would include two that are handicap accessible, Freeman said.

Other transportation options for seniors in isle of Wight County:

•Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia provides on-demand, non-emergency medical transportation for seniors age 60 and up. Seniors are advised to call ahead for a reservation and are asked to make a $4 voluntary contribution. The service is available every day and books up quickly. The service can accommodate wheelchairs and travels to Sentara Obici Hospital, Sentara St. Luke’s in Carrollton and the free clinic in Zuni. To make a reservation, call 461-9481.

•I-Ride — Senior Services also provides a bus that travels within the town of Smithfield called I-Ride. I-Ride has a set route that is open to the general public. Seniors age 60 and older are $1, those ages 12-59 are $1.50, children ages 5-12 are 50 cents and children age 4 and under are free, but must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call 516-8556.

•Isle of Wight Christian Outreach has a medical transportation team that is provided at no cost to Isle of Wight residents unable to drive, have medical issues or cannot afford to pay for transportation. Seniors are asked to provide several days notice and can make an appointment by calling 356-9267.

•Farm Fresh in Smithfield offers grocery delivery for a fee during the week, as well as prescription delivery. Interested persons can sign up online at To have prescriptions delivered, individuals can speak with the pharmacist in-person about that service.  {/mprestriction}