The wheels on the Community Transit (CT) bus go ‘round and ‘round and by doing so, keeps the Delaware County senior citizen community in motion.
“Without Community Transit, the aging community would come to a halt,” said Kim McDaniel, a Senior Community Services (SCS) center director. “They are the key to getting people not just here, but to the doctors and other places. They really are dependent on them.”
Last Friday morning Community Transit of Delaware County marked the 7,777,777th trip provided to residents of the county and acknowledged SCS’s 40th anniversary. SCS was one of the inaugural agencies to provide vehicles to CT. They celebrated the milestone trip by surprising a bus of Schoolhouse Senior Center participants as they arrived at the center and enjoyed a light brunch.
“It’s a team effort,” said Tom Giancristoforo, CT executive director. “It’s the staff and especially the drivers. Without a united and happy group, it’s tough. The drivers probably have the hardest job since they are at the forefront. They are paying attention to driving and their passengers.”
Added Giancristoforo: “It’s very rewarding work when you can give a senior a ride from point A to point B. Some don’t have transportation. The service we are offering is valuable.”
The creation of CT began with a joint initiative of the Delaware County Planning Department and the County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA) to consolidate human service transportation in the county.
In June 1983, a collection of human service providers incorporated this new consolidation effort, known as the Delaware County Transportation Consortium (DCTC). In April 1983, DCTC delivered 285 rides (all consumers of the human service agencies) in 18 vehicles (mostly station wagons and vans) that were purchased from these agencies, including SCS.
In July 1983, Delaware County’s participation in the Pennsylvania Lottery’s Shared Ride Program was formalized, and service was opened to all residents of the county. By the late 1980’s, DCTC was providing over 1,000 rides daily. DCTC changed its name to Community Transit of Delaware County in 1992.
Today, CT operates 48 vehicles for the Shared Ride Program, the PwD and MATP programs, as well as an additional 45 vehicles for the SEPTA Customized Community Transportation Program. They provide approximately 2,167 trips every weekday and currently employ 153 people, including drivers, 147 of which are full time employees.
A major source of revenue for CT is the state lottery-funded Senior Citizen Shared Ride Program which funds 3.5 million shared rides throughout the state.
“It’s not just rides,” said White, the councilman. “It’s helping individuals and residents of Delaware County. Each one of them represents someone who needed to be someplace and Community Transit was their opportunity to be where they needed to be. That’s what we do in Delaware County. We work together, nurture it and make sure it is around a long time because it services the needs of our residents.”