Innovative Senior Transportation Network Begins in 15 Boston and MetroWest Communities
A new transportation system for adults age 60 and older and visually-impaired individuals debuted in 15 Greater Boston and MetroWest communities from West Roxbury to Ashland, this week.
iTNGreaterBoston is a nonprofit transportation network that matches older adults who are unable or no longer want to drive, with volunteer drivers from their own communities. Carefully screened drivers provide door-through -door rides in their own or donated cars, providing an affordable, flexible mode of transport for seniors often reliant solely on family members when public transportation is not accessible.
It's a model that has caught on across the country, establishing a network that is both local and national, allowing volunteer drivers the ability to bank their time for future rides for themselves, friends or family, in any of the 22 affiliated networks across the US.
"This is not just a ride to and from the health center or the grocery store; but an opportunity for residents of the same town to build connectivity and for organizations to increase their collaborative impact within the community," says Jean Patel-Bushnell, Executive Director of iTNGreaterBoston.
In order to launch, iTNGreaterBoston received start-up funding from MetroWest Health Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation. "Mobility for our older adult population reduces isolation and enables our parents and grandparents to continue to be important contributing members of our society, which is one of the many reasons we partnered with the MetroWest Health Foundation to launch ITNGreaterBoston locally" said David Abelman, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation.
"Many active older adults are isolated in their own homes due to lack of transportation options. Access to everyday services and just knowing you can go where you want when you want is invaluable to our senior population and the community at large," said Martin Cohen, president and CEO of the MetroWest Health Foundation.
Further funding comes from membership costs (riders become members with prefunded personal accounts) and a small fee per mile. Riders can also earn and store transportation credits for future use through donating their own cars to iTNGreaterBoston. The system’s modest cost reduces the financial obstacles many elders face with alternate transportation options such as car services.
iTNGreaterBoston is an affiliate of iTNAmerica which has 22 networks nationwide. Phase one of a multiphase rollout includes the communities of Fenway, Mission Hill, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, West Roxbury, Allston, Brighton, Brookline, Newton, Needham, Wellesley, Natick, Framingham and Ashland.
For more information on how to volunteer or become a member of iTNGreaterBoston please call (508) 309-7375 or visit the iTNGreaterBoston website.
About iTNGreaterBoston: iTNGreaterBoston is a community-based, community-supported, economically viable and consumer-oriented, quality transportation service for seniors and adults with visual impairment. More information can be found on the iTNGreaterBoston website.
About MetroWest Health Foundation: The MetroWest Health Foundation is a catalyst for a healthy MetroWest, providing more than $4 million in annual financial support for preventative and responsive health programs. Through its work on issues such as you substance abuse, racial and ethnic disparities in health and childhood obesity, the Foundation seeks to develop and support programs that have a positive impact on the health of the twenty-five communities in the MetroWest area of Massachusetts. To date, the Foundation has provided more than $37 million in financial support that helps residents and their families lead healthier lives. For more information about the Foundation, visit the iTNGreaterBoston website.