When we think about commuting, we tend to think about trips from home to work. Or maybe home to school. But last week, I got exposed to another kind of commuting when I had the opportunity to do a ride-along with Ride Connection.
Ride Connection is a unique organization that coordinates a network of over 30 services providers. Last year they scheduled almost 300,000 rides. Their services range from fleet management to programs that teach seniors to be independently mobile.
Last week I had a chance to share a ride with a number of seniors participating in day programs at LifeWorks NW. LifeWorks provides a range of mental health services. The folks I was riding with were participating in a ‘structured day’ program designed for those with Alzheimer’s Disease. This program provides an opportunity for socializing, activities and often provides a much needed break for in-home caregivers.
Clients can arrive at LifeWorks in a number of different vehicles: medical transport (similar to an ambulance), vehicles with wheelchair lifts, or in buses. I rode along on a bus route, which reminded me a lot of a school bus route. All of my fellow passengers were mostly ambulatory, although with varying degrees of assistance ranging from canes to wheelchairs (although all were able to walk onto the bus). There are several buses operating out of LifeWorks, each of which has regularly scheduled morning and afternoon routes to pick-up and drop-off clients.
In this particular case, Ride Connection’s role is to organize vehicle maintenance and to train the bus drivers.
So here’s a shout out to the great services provided by Ride Connection (and to the great driver who hosted me) and a reminder that commuting can take a lot of forms.