January 31, 2012

SHARED-RIDE: Indonesia's Bemo Buses

INDONESIA - Bemo and Angkot mini-buses are examples of shared-ride transportation found in Indonesia. The Bemo buses are found on the island of Bali. They usually run between main terminals, but can be flagged down en route. Besides the driver, noted for their incessant horn use, meant to draw the attention of potential riders, they have a 'conductor' who takes the fares and tries to entice passengers waiting at the terminals to take their Bemo. The mini-buses are boldly decorated and often have loud sound systems to entertain and draw the customers. Like the Angkot buses found on the island of Sumatra, they operate with an open side door.

VIDEO #1: Bemos in Kupang

VIDEO #2: Angkots in Jambi

January 30, 2012

NEWS: New Paratransit Bus Fleet for Berkshire County, MA

PITTSFIELD, MA - January 27, 2012 - The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) has announced the purchase 15 new paratransit vehicles, bought with $1.34 million in federal grant money to serve the transportation needs of the elderly and disabled in Pittsfield and Berkshire County, Massachusetts. They replace a fleet of vehicles that had been leased through a local ambulance company. County Ambulance will continue to manage and operate the BRTA Paratransit Service that provides trips for as many as 6,100 people per year. For more information read: BRTA En Route to Better Future (The Berkshire Beagle).

VIDEO: BRTA En Route to Better Future

January 29, 2012

Taxi Companies: Posten Transportation

PENNSYLVANIA - Posten Transportation is a Pennsylvania transportation business that has expanded from it's beginnings in 1860 as a horse drawn livery company to a wide variety of services including taxi, courier, errands, airport transfer, and non-emergency medical transportation. Based in Wilkes-Barre, Pennylvania, they serve all of the Northeast part of the state.

Non-Profit Spotlight: Irish Cancer Society 'Care to Drive' Program

IRELAND - The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) has fostered a unique partnership with volunteers from IBM in Ireland that resulted in developing a cloud-based patient care solution to support the expansion of the Society's Care to Drive program. Care to Drive is a service operated by the ICS that provides free transportation for cancer patients to and from their treatment. Prior to IBM's development of a new system, the program required a lot of manual work to match patient transfers with available volunteer drivers. In addition to their gift of time and expertise, IBM awarded the Irish Cancer Society a Centennial Grant of $75,000 that the ICS will put towards new computer hardware, software, and training that will aid in the implementation of the new system that will improve scheduling, route planning and mapping, volunteer reimbursement, and data management of the Care to Drive program. To learn more read: Caring to Thrive, IBM Centennial Grant Supports Getting Patients to Doctors (IBM) and Care to Drive Volunteer Updates (ICS).

VIDEO: IBM Volunteers work with The Irish Cancer Society

January 25, 2012

Disabilities: Getting Around with Diabetes in Bronx, New York

BRONX, NEW YORK - The following videos produced by Diabetes Dialog look at two women from Bronx, New York who live with diabetes. They live in a low-income neighborhood of the South Bronx called Hunts Point. In order to access their necessary medical health services they have to deal with a number of transportation obstacles. Video #1 features Norma Escovito, 65. She has been living with diabetes for 20 years. Because of knee problems she uses a wheelchair. Every 2 weeks she has to see her doctor for a regular check-up. In the interview, she shares her experiences and frustrations using ambulette services, Access-A-Ride, public transit buses, and the subway. Video #2 features Chenet Saunders, 48. She needs transportation to get to her 3 times/week dialysis treatments. She used to take the city bus, but now because she has developed mobility problems that requires the use of a walker, she now uses an ambulette service to get to her appointments. For other trips she uses Access-A-Ride, which she says for her, has been "a blessing."

January 22, 2012

SHARED-RIDE: Nigeria's Danfo Buses

NIGERIA - Danfos are a form of shared-ride bus common in Nigerian cities such as Lagos and Ibadan. Commercial buses in Nigeria are painted a distinctive yellow. The big buses (44 seats) are called molues and the minibuses, which appeared in the 1970's are called Danfos, or sometimes Bolekaja. The Danfos often have a 'conductor' as well the driver. It is not uncommon for the conductor to lift a running passenger into a moving bus. The Danfos have seats for 12 passengers, but additional riders are often packed in with some seated in the isles. Video #1 shows an American couple's daily journey from Agbowo to Orita-Baisoun by Danfos and taxis in Ibadan, Nigeria. Video #2 describes some of the daunting urban transportation problems facing Africa's most populous country. For more information read: On the Buses in Lagos and Africa in Pictures: On the Move (BBC).

January 21, 2012

Non-Profit Spotlight: Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Transportation Network

DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS - Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a national non-profit organization that has been working to improve the lives of disabled veterans and their families since 1920. The DAV provides many opportunities for volunteers to participate in this work. As part of this, the volunteer drivers of the DAV Transportation Network play a key role in helping veterans access Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs and services available to them. An example of one such local program is shown in Video #2. The Nov. 4, 2011 NCC News Online news video describes how the Syracuse Veteran's Hospital's volunteer driver program is working to help veterans get to necessary medical appointments in Syracuse, New York. Since 1987, the VA has partnered with the Disabled American Veterans to provide this service. In Video #3, KXLY TV of Spokane Washington shows how the program works in support of the Spokane VA Medical Center, where they are experiencing a shortage of volunteer drivers. As KOB-News in Albuquerque reports in Video #4, it is much the same story with the New Mexico VA Health Care System. That news story shows volunteers operating a wheelchair accessible van. You can contact the DAV or local VA office to find out what is available in your area.

January 20, 2012

Non-Profit Spotlight: Denver, Colorado Seniors' Resource Center

DENVER, COLORADO - The Seniors' Resource Center (SRC) of Denver, Colorado is a non-profit organization that provides a wide range of community support services for seniors. Among these are two transportation programs. This includes the Seniors Transportation Service, which provides accessible door-through-door transport to older adults and persons with mobility impairments. An example of this service is the A-LIFT Transportation Program available in Adams County. Another SRC service is the award winning Volunteer Driver Program discussed in the following video that provides rides to seniors for personal and medical trips.



Related: Volunteer Driver Program Resources

January 15, 2012

Non-Profit Spotlight: Hope Network

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN - Hope Network is a non-profit Christian organization founded in 1963 that provides specialized care and support services for people with disabilities or disadvantages. Based in Grand Rapids, they provide services in more than 75 counties throughout Michigan with it's staff of 2,500 working in 240 locations. One of the principal support services that the Hope Network provides is transportation. This includes a Specialized Transportation Service which utilizes a fleet of 63 vehicles and a staff of 60 drivers that provides door-to-door transport for older adults and individuals with a disability. Hope Network also has Volunteer Transportation System that utilizes 130 active volunteers to address the unmet transportation needs of those that would not otherwise be able to access medical care, including Medicaid recipients and disadvantaged residents in rural areas. Together, both transportation programs provide over 256,000 rides/year.

January 14, 2012

Taxi Profile: Atlanta Checker Cab

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - Atlanta Checker Cab serves the Atlanta Metro Area. They have been in operation in Atlanta, Georgia since 1947. During that time they have proven be an industry leader. Atlanta Checker Cab was the first taxi company there to utilize two-way communications, the first to implement computer dispatch, the first to employ alternative fueled powered cabs, and the first in the city to operate hybrid vehicles. They have also been a leader in bringing wheelchair accessible transportation to Atlanta. Atlanta Checker Cab was the first transportation company in Georgia to provide Handicap Accessible Vans, and they continue to be innovators with the introduction of the MV-1 wheelchair accessible taxi in 2012. Read my post: Atlanta Checker Cab Introduces Georgia's First MV-1 Accessible Taxi to learn more.
Go to the Georgia Taxi Services page to find other local cab companies.

Profile: Touching Hearts at Home

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Touching Hearts at Home is a national home health care franchise
company operating in several
locations across the United States. As part of the services available to clients, Touching Hearts at Home provides incidental transportation for outings such as doctor appointments, airport departure/arrival, social visits, religious functions, and shopping. For more information visit the Touching Hearts at Home website.



To see more company profiles, go to the About Home Health Care Transportation page. To find locations of home health care companies that provide assisted ambulatory transportation, go to the Home Health Care Transportation Directory.

NEWS: Atlanta Checker Cab Introduces Georgia's First MV-1 Accessible Taxi

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - January 4, 2012 - Atlanta Checker Cab has announced the first-of-its-kind wheelchair accessible cab in Georgia. Made in America, the MV-1 is the first purpose-built wheelchair accessible vehicle designed from the ground up to meet ADA standards. The MV-1 has only recently went into production at a former HUMMER U2 plant in Mishawaka, Indiana. Atlanta is among the first cities to see the MV-1 put in use. Atlanta Checker Cab is currently in the process of applying for grants in the hopes that as many as 20 more vehicles can be added to their fleet. See: Atlanta Checker Cab Announces First-of-it's-Kind Cab in Atlanta for more information.



Go to Taxi Profile: Atlanta Checker Cab to learn more about the company

January 13, 2012

Profile: Compatible Home Care

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Compatible Home Care is a home health care
franchise company serving
Southern California. The provide a wide range of care services including transportation to and from appointments. The goal of the incidental transportation service is to ensure that clients arrive at appointments on time and are returned safely to their home without upset or incident. For more information visit the Compatible Home Care website. Go to the California Home Health Care Services page to find other local services.

To see more company profiles, go to the About Home Health Care Transportation page. To find locations of home health care companies that provide assisted ambulatory transportation, go to the Home Health Care Transportation Directory.

January 12, 2012

Service Provider Profile: SuperShuttle

SUPERSHUTTLE - SuperShuttle is a shared-ride door-to-door airport shuttle service. Established in 1983, today SuperShuttle serves 33 airports in over 50 U.S. cities, transporting 8 million passengers per year with it's fleet of approximately 1200 vans. They also have operations in France and Sweden. SuperShuttle is a franchise company owned by Veolia Transportation. Their U.S. services also include group and charter trips, ExecuCar private sedan car service (in some locations), and accessible services. Customers requesting accessible services include those in wheelchairs and those who are accompanied by service animals.

January 11, 2012

Company Profile: Barton Home Care

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Barton Home Care is a family run non-medical home care service company based in Castle Rock, Colorado. Barton Home Care offers services in Douglas, Elbert, Arapahoe, Jefferson, and Denver Counties. Included among the various Services provided for clients is incidental transportation for daily needs such as trips to the dentist, grandchildren's soccer games, hair appointments, etc. For more information visit the Barton Home Care website. Go to the Colorado Home Health Care Services page to find other local services.



To see more company profiles, go to the About Home Health Care Transportation page. To find locations of home health care companies that provide assisted ambulatory transportation, go to the Home Health Care Transportation Directory.

January 10, 2012

Paratransit Providers: Access Transit

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN - Access Transit is the paratransit service in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a city of over 200,000 people in Western Canada. Access Transit is a division of Saskatoon Transit. The following video goes through the basics of the type of service that riders should expect in an "accessible-door-to-accessible door", shared-ride, wheelchair accessible demand response transportation program. Saskatoon Transit also utilizes accessible taxi cabs to provide part of the service. As well, some fixed routes of the transit system operate Low-Floor Buses, which are also wheelchair accessible. Go to the Canadian Paratransit Services page to find links to other programs across Canada.

VIDEO: Learning About Access Transit

January 8, 2012

Profile: Seniors Helping Seniors

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Seniors Helping Seniors is an national non-medical home health care franchise company operating in locations across the United States. Co-founded by Kiran Yocum, who worked with Mother Theresa of Calcutta for 14 years, Seniors Helping Seniors is unique in concept. They match qualified seniors who want to provide help with seniors who are looking for help. Transportation for outings such as visits to the Doctor are included as part of the Non-Medical Home Services they provide for clients. For more information visit the Seniors Helping Seniors website.

VIDEO #1: Seniors Helping Seniors (Grand Rapids, MI)


VIDEO #2: Seniors Helping Seniors (Seattle, WA)


To see more company profiles, go to the About Home Health Care Transportation page. To find locations of home health care companies that provide assisted ambulatory transportation, go to the Home Health Care Transportation Directory.

January 7, 2012

Cabbies: Melissa Plaut

NEW YORK CITY - Melissa Plaut is the author of Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What to Do with My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab. A college graduate, Melissa Plaut grew up in the suburbs of New York. After being laid off a job as a advertising copywriter, she started driving taxi in New York City. After about a year, Plaut began a blog called New York Hack. She wrote about her adventures and observations as a woman behind the wheel of New York's iconic and ubiquitous Yellow Cab. The blog gained a following, and eventually lead to a book deal. "Hack" was published in 2007 to critical praise. Although Melissa Plaut no longer works as a cabbie or updates her blog, she remains an advocate for New York cab drivers and fairness in the industry. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook. She is also is an occasional contributer at the Huffington Post.


VIDEO #2: Melissa Plaut - "Hack"


Melissa Plaut is also featured in Taxi "Cabbie" Confessions

January 5, 2012

Profile: Synergy HomeCare

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Synergy HomeCare is an national non-medical home health care franchise company operating in locations across the United States. As part of their Companionship Services, home care companions provide incidental transportation for clients. For more information visit the Synergy HomeCare website.


To see more company profiles, go to the About Home Health Care Transportation page. To find locations of home health care companies that provide assisted ambulatory transportation, go to the Home Health Care Transportation Directory.

January 4, 2012

NEWS: Las Vegas RTC Paratransit Rider Not Eligible to Use Power Wheelchair

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - November 29, 2011 - A RTC Paratransit user expresses frustration over the refusal of the RTC (Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada) to allow her to use the Paratransit Service when she is in her electric power wheelchair. She is eligible to ride Paratransit, but only as an ambulatory passenger. The RTC said that, based upon their assessment of her driving skills in her power chair, she should be able to access a wheelchair accessible fixed-route transit bus. The woman has appealed the RTC decision.

Profile: Senior Helpers

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Senior Helpers is an international home health care franchise company operating in locations across the United States. They also have offices in Canada and Australia. As part of their Companionship Care Services professional caregivers will assist with a variety of daily activities such as errands and transportation to shopping or doctors appointments. For more information visit the Senior Helpers website.


To see more company profiles, go to the About Home Health Care Transportation page. To find locations of home health care companies that provide assisted ambulatory transportation, go to the Home Health Care Transportation Directory.

Cabbies: Famous Fat Dave

NEW YORK CITY - Famous Fat Dave's Five Borough Eating Tour on the Wheels of Steel! is a one-of-a-kind culinary tour of New York. The tour guide is David Freedenberg. When he's not behind the wheel of a regular NYC Yellow Cab, he takes customers to his favorite eating establishments in his vintage Checker Marathon Cab. Customers can go for Dave's favorite eateries, or take in one of his theme tours such as the Pizza Tour, Pickle Tickle Tour, or eat like Anthony Bourdain (see Video #2) on the "Disappearing New York Tour.
VIDEO #2 - Anthony Bourdain & Famous Fat Dave Eat the Bronx


David Freedenberg is also featured in Taxi "Cabbie" Confessions

January 3, 2012

Profile: Right at Home

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Right at Home is an international home health care franchise company operating in locations across the United States. They also have locations in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and China. As part of their Companionship and Homemaking Services they provide incidental transportation. For more information visit the Right at Home website.


To see more company profiles, go to the About Home Health Care Transportation page. To find locations of home health care companies that provide assisted ambulatory transportation, go to the Home Health Care Transportation Directory.

Cabbies: Jim McDonagh

NEW YORK CITY - In the following 2-part travel video: On the Map: Diary of a Cabbie, Jim McDonagh takes us on a personal tour of his New York. McDonagh has been driving taxi (off and on) since 1977 and in that time has become something of a local personality in the Big Apple. He does stand-up comedy, is involved in political activism, has hosted a weekly radio show (Radio Free Eireann) for the past 20 years, and writes blog called: Hack Shots of New York.



Jim McDonagh is also featured in Taxi "Cabbie" Confessions

Profile: Preferred Care at Home

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Preferred Care at Home is a national home health care franchise company operating in locations across the United States. As part of their Companion Services they provide incidental transportation to doctor appointments, pharmacy, events, and social outings. For more information visit Preferred Care at Home.

VIDEO: Preferred Care at Home E-Brochure


To see more company profiles, go to the About Home Health Care Transportation page. To find locations of home health care companies that provide assisted ambulatory transportation, go to the Home Health Care Transportation Directory.

Accessibility Pioneers: Walter Callow

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA - The Walter Callow Wheelchair Bus is a non-profit, non-sectarian corporation founded in 1948. Although Walter Callow was left paralyzed and blind after a flight training crash in 1917, he remained active in life and business. From his bedside at Camp Hill Military Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia he directed his staff who worked in an adjoining suite of offices. During World War II he helped raise money in support of the troops. It was because of this work and his own experience as a disabled veteran that he recognized a need for the disabled to get out of institutions, and participate more fully in the life of the community. Beginning in 1945, he supervised the conversion of a bus for those in wheelchairs and eventually established a non-profit corporation to organize and perpetuate it's service. It continues to this day providing group recreational transportation for persons with disabilities in the Halifax Regional Municipality and surrounding area. Speaking at Walter Callow's funeral in 1958, Camp Hill's chaplain noted: "Walter Callow must have known many dark hours, but he learned that it is not the darkness that matters, but what the darkness does to one." Such a life is an example of not only what one can do for the disabled, but what the disabled can give to society.

January 2, 2012

Profile: Interim HealthCare/HomeStyle

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Interim HealthCare is a national home health care franchise company operating in over 300 locations across the United States. Interim HomeStyle Services is the division of Interim HealthCare Inc. that provides non-medical senior care services including incidental transportation, appointment escort, airline departure/arrival assistance, shopping (grocery and general), and assisting with planning of outings. Interim HomeStyle Services offices are independently owned and operated. For more information visit the Interim HealthCare website.

VIDEO #1: The Balancing Act Show - Interim HealthCare


VIDEO #2: Designing Spaces - Interim HealthCare


To see more company profiles, go to the About Home Health Care Transportation page. To find locations of home health care companies that provide assisted ambulatory transportation, go to the Home Health Care Transportation Directory.

January 1, 2012

Editorial: Pick-Up/Drop-Off Locations

PICK-UP/DROP-OFF LOCATIONS - It's amazing how often the designated pick-up/drop-off location is "in the back by the dumpster". An older building, with a lot of steps in front - it's understandable, but sometimes these are new office buildings. It's almost as if the architect forgot about accessiblilty. One in particular was a nursing home that had a low over-hang (canopy) in front; too low for our buses to go under, and there was no other area to park. So, even though there was a nice new set of wide, sliding, automatic doors in front - we were forced to go to the back, "by the dumpster", where we had to wait to be "buzzed in", then go through a narrow set of manual doors that were always trying to close on you, walk past the laundry and kitchen, go through another "locked" door, and then look for the nursing station. Plus, on your way out you had to again be buzzed out or given the "code" to get out of both sets of doors. Thankfully this was all recently renovated.

Anyone else have similar experiences? Maybe pick-up/drop-off locations that were unsafe or no where to load? Areas where customers didn't feel very secure or dignified waiting?

Profile: Homewatch CareGivers

HOME HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION - Homewatch CareGivers is an international home health care franchise company operating in locations across the United States and Canada; as well as additional locations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, and Panama. As part of their client services they provide Home Care Transportation to get to and from doctor's appointments on time, and safely carry out errands. For medical appointments, a nurse can sit in and take notes, ensuring their home care services help the client comply with physician's orders. Homewatch CareGivers can also provide transportation services following a procedure or surgery. For more information visit the Homewatch CareGivers website.

VIDEO: The Balancing Act Show - Homewatch CareGivers


To see more company profiles, go to the About Home Health Care Transportation page. To find locations of home health care companies that provide assisted ambulatory transportation, go to the Home Health Care Transportation Directory.

Wellesley Volunteer Drivers Program

WELLESLEY, MASSACHUSETTS - The Wellesley Volunteer Drivers Program of Wellesley, Massachusetts is operated by the Wellesley Council on Aging. They offer rides to local seniors. Since it's inception as a 6 month pilot project running from February 28, 2011 to November 1, 2011; the program has registered 115 seniors as passenger and recruited and trained 30 volunteer drivers, providing 496 rides during 256 hours of service. The success of the program is due in large part to the recruitment of volunteer drivers from the local community. The program has received enough additional funding to continue on into 2012. To find out more read: Wellesley Council on Aging Volunteer Drivers Program a Success.