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Delta Seniors get a Bus

by R. Sultan, Minister of State for Seniors.


Recently, Mayor Lois Jackson of Delta drove me in her muscular pickup truck from one end of her vast community to the other, explaining why seniors need their own bus. Her advice echoed what I had already heard from seniors from one end of this province to the other; namely, yes, affordable housing is frequently a problem; and elder abuse certainly warrants action – and will get it – but the universal issue facing British Columbia seniors in this vast province is transportation.

Transportation problems can be severe for seniors living in spread-out communities with sketchy public transit, or rural areas without any public transit at all. Also, as the years roll by and ones cognitive capacities decline, your kindly family doctor may suggest it is time for you to surrender your driver’s license, and overnight, you are stranded. Or, you may have given your still-runs-just-fine Pontiac to your grandson and now live in some sort of communal arrangement where HandiDart is good but not so frequent. As backup, our provincial TaxiSaver program, which pays 50 per cent of taxi fares, is hugely popular – but has a monthly spending cap.

Seniors Bus to the rescue. In Delta, at least for now.

At a special event organized at a seniors centre at Delta, I was pleased to deliver a $20,000 cheque which will help Delta defray the $60,000 cost of a brand new “seniors bus.” This “age friendly grant” supplemented a $40,000 investment by the municipality, plus a spontaneous $1,000 cheque from a friendly senior who showed up for the ceremony. The Delta Seniors Bus has been procured.

The Corporation of Delta is one of 27 communities receiving a government “age friendly” grant for 2013. The purposes of these grants vary, community to community, and the winners are chosen in a non-partisan fashion by a committee of the Union of BC Municipalities. The focus is on proposals which will help B.C. seniors remain independent and involved in their communities, active and healthy. Isolation can be a killer for many seniors, and getting out of the house using services such as the Seniors Bus is one answer.

The Corporation of Delta Seniors Bus pilot program aims to provide seniors with accessible, affordable and reliable transportation options, facilitating access to seniors’ activity centres, shopping, medical services, banking and other community services. It is but one more transportation option for seniors who might otherwise be isolated or inactive.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson is to be commended for implementing a service offering seniors improved and affordable transportation. The government’s “age-friendly grant” program is a partnership between the government of B.C. and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities; we put up the cash, and UBCM determines who gets it.

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