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Call-N-Ride Keeps Oswego County Residents Moving

Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
Fulton, NY – As it has for the past 11 years, Oswego County Opportunities’ (OCO) Call-N-Ride provides an invaluable transportation service to Oswego County residents.  One of OCO’s Public Transportation Services, Call-N-Ride offers curb-to-curb, low-cost bus service for elderly and special needs individuals within Oswego County.  Additionally, individuals and the general public may use the service when public transportation is not readily available.

Lynne Boyce of Oswego County Opportunities’ Transportation Services (left) and Laura Smith of the Oswego County Visually Impaired program (right), congratulate Ruth Kitney on celebrating her 100th birthday.  Ruth is a regular rider of OCO Transportation, and frequently uses the Call-N-Ride service.  For her 100th birthday OCO Transportation Services presented her with 100 bus tokens.

Lynne Boyce of Oswego County Opportunities’ Transportation Services (left) and Laura Smith of the Oswego County Visually Impaired program (right), congratulate Ruth Kitney on celebrating her 100th birthday. Ruth is a regular rider of OCO Transportation, and frequently uses the Call-N-Ride service. For her 100th birthday OCO Transportation Services presented her with 100 bus tokens.

According to Gary Mashaw, director of transportation services at OCO, Oswego County Call-N-Ride is posting record numbers for usage in 2011.  “Over the recent five year period, there has been a 128% increase in usage.   We have done more than doubled the ridership, we have given folks freedom and overcome a transportation barrier for those we service through Call-N-Ride.”

Since its inception in 2000, Call-N-Ride has completed thousands of passenger trips as it has brought individuals to medical visits, business appointments and social events.  For one remarkable passenger, the Call-N-Ride service has allowed her to continue being a part of the Oswego County Visually Impaired program.

Ruth Kitney has used the Call-N-Ride service since it began.  Each month Ruth attends OCVI’s general meeting, leadership committee meeting and book club meeting.  Thanks to Call-N-Ride, she has not missed a single meeting.  An impressive accomplishment when you consider that Ruth recently gathered with her family, including 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, to celebrate her 100th birthday!

Prior to using Call-N-Ride, Ruth depended on others for her transportation.  With Call-N-Ride, Ruth now has the opportunity to travel independently and attend the OCVI meetings that she truly cherishes.  “I can’t express the pleasure I receive from being a part of OCVI.  I enjoy the many friendships that I have made and look forward to our monthly outings that have allowed me to go places that I would not have been able to otherwise.  I appreciate that the Call-N-Ride service allows me to continue being an active member of OCVI,” she said.

Laura Smith of OCVI acknowledged that Ruth’s participation in OCVI is greatly appreciated.  “We look to Ruth for her fresh ideas.  We appreciate her insight and her years of wisdom that she shares with us.  Ruth, like all of our members, enjoys our monthly outings.  It provides us with an opportunity to be with people who share similar situations and can understand each other’s concerns.  It is because of the Call-N-Ride service that we are able to have these outings.  It is a wonderful resource,” said Smith.

To help celebrate Ruth’s 100th birthday, OCO Transit Services Coordinator, Diane Shannon presented her with a special gift of 100 bus tokens courtesy of OCO’s Transportation Services.  “I was flabbergasted,” Ruth said.  “I never expected such a thing.  I can’t say enough about the Call-N-Ride service.  The drivers are always so considerate.  I appreciate that they help me go from door to door.”

Established in 2000 as the result of a partnership between the Vision Network of Oswego County, Oswego County ARISE, Oswego County Visually Impaired, Oswego County Opportunities and the Oswego County Legislature, the Call-N-Ride service helps individuals who are unable to drive due to vision loss or other situations retain their independence.  In the early 2000s budget cuts forced the county to end funding for Call-N-Ride, but the Vision Network managed to keep the service in place through fund raising. In 2005 Constellation Energy began funding the service through corporate grants, which continue to this day. According to Mashaw, the grant funds help defray costs including fuel, which has steadily increased in price for the past few years, and allows the service to keep costs low for the riders, especially those who are on fixed incomes.

Call-N-Ride operates within Oswego County, Monday-Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with the exception of holidays.  Call-N-Ride service is available during specific days each week or every other week in zones that have been established by school district.  To schedule a ride, those interested may call the toll-free number between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday-Friday. Reservations must be called in at least 3 business days in advance of the need and cancellations must be called in at least 2 hours before the scheduled pickup.  Costs range from $2 – $4 each way for the elderly and disabled, depending on distance traveled. Call toll free 1-877-484-3287 for more information,” Mashaw said, “or go to one of these websites: www.oco.org or www.forthebus.org.”

A private, non-profit agency, OCO’s many programs touch the lives of more than 28,000 Oswego County residents each. One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO employs more than 650 people and boasts a volunteer force of 1000.  Now in its 45th year, OCO continues to build partnerships and is on a roll as it strives to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by helping people, supporting communities and changing lives. For more information, visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org

More Residents Rely On Call-N-Ride Transportation

FULTON, NY – Oswego County Call-N-Ride transportation service is posting record numbers for usage in 2011.

The curb-to-curb, low-cost bus transport service for the elderly and persons with special needs typically sees usage drop during the winter months, but not this year.

Laura Smith (left), president of Oswego County Visually Impaired, helps member Evelyn Vorse purchase some tokens to use for bus rides provided through Oswego County Opportunities Call-N-Ride. For more information about Call-N-Ride or to purchase tokens, call 1-877-4THE-BUS.

Laura Smith (left), president of Oswego County Visually Impaired, helps member Evelyn Vorse purchase some tokens to use for bus rides provided through Oswego County Opportunities Call-N-Ride. For more information about Call-N-Ride or to purchase tokens, call 1-877-4THE-BUS.

“We’ve had a record for January with 275 passenger trips,” said Gary Mashaw, director of transportation services at Oswego County Opportunities, the agency providing the service.

By comparison, there were 203 passenger trips in January 2010, 214 in January 2009, and 212 in January 2008.

“This is a significant increase,” Mashaw noted. “Especially considering the severity of weather conditions we’ve experienced this winter.”

Call-N-Ride has completed more than 3,000 passenger trips a year since 2008.

The service operates within Oswego County only, Monday-Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with the exception of holidays.

To schedule a ride, call the toll-free number between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Reservations must be called in at least three business days in advance of the need and cancellations must be called in at least two hours before the scheduled pickup.

The county is divided into five different zones based on school districts and each zone has Call-N-Ride service available during specific days each week or every other week.

Costs range from $2 to $4 each way for the elderly and disabled, depending on distance traveled.

“Call 1-877-484-3287 for more information,” Mashaw said. “Or, go to one of these websites: www.oco.org or www.forthebus.org.”

Call-N-Ride was launched more than 10 years ago when the Vision Network of Oswego County partnered with Oswego County Arise, Oswego County Visually Impaired, Oswego County Opportunities and the Oswego County Legislature to fulfill an important need.

“People who want to retain their independence may not be able to drive due to vision loss or other situations,” said Sabine Ingerson, director of Oswego County Arise. “Call-N-Ride allows them to schedule doctor visits, hairdresser appointments, go shopping, or visit family and friends. They don’t need to rely on others for rides and they are much less likely to become isolated.”

In the early 2000s, budget cuts forced the county to end funding for Call-N-Ride, but the Vision Network managed to keep the service in place through fundraising.

In 2005, Constellation Energy began funding the service through corporate grants, which continue to this day.

The grant funds help defray costs including fuel, which has steadily increased in price for the past few years.

“This allows us to keep costs very low for the riders, which is important for people on fixed incomes,” Mashaw said.

For those who use the service often and especially for persons with visual impairments, OCO recently added the option of purchasing bus tokens.

“These can be used for any OCO transportation service,” Mashaw said. “The rider does not have to worry about carrying and counting cash.”

“We’re grateful to the OCVI and Vision Network for advocacy, to Oswego County Opportunities’ Transportation Services and to Constellation Energy for their financial support,” Ingerson said. “It’s all of these groups working together that have made Call-N-Ride possible and this recent growth in usage makes it all worthwhile.”

Oswego County Visually Impaired Recognizes OCO’s Call-N-Ride Bus Service

FULTON, NY – The Oswego County Visually Impaired program recently honored Oswego County Opportunities’ Transportation Division for the effectiveness of its Oswego County Public Transit System Call-n-Ride service.

Members of Oswego County Opportunities’ Oswego County Public Transit system were recently recognized by the Oswego County Visually Impaired Program for the services that they provide to its members. Seated from left are: transit operator Doris Turner; dispatcher Micki Hughes; financial manager Lynne Boyce; and transit supervisor Patricia Holmes. Standing from left are: transit operator Jerry Jackson; maintenance coordinator James Dann; scheduler Mary Herzog; transportation director Gary Mashaw; OCVI president Laura Smith; and transit services coordinator Diane Shannon.

Members of Oswego County Opportunities’ Oswego County Public Transit system were recently recognized by the Oswego County Visually Impaired Program for the services that they provide to its members. Seated from left are: transit operator Doris Turner; dispatcher Micki Hughes; financial manager Lynne Boyce; and transit supervisor Patricia Holmes. Standing from left are: transit operator Jerry Jackson; maintenance coordinator James Dann; scheduler Mary Herzog; transportation director Gary Mashaw; OCVI president Laura Smith; and transit services coordinator Diane Shannon.

A program of AURORA of Central New York, Oswego County Visually Impaired is a group of visually impaired individuals in Oswego County who meet monthly to offer support and a source of enjoyment for each other.

Transportation to and from the meetings is available for a reasonable fee through OCO’s Call-n-Ride Bus Service.

“While the Call-n-Ride Bus Service is only one part of OCO Transit, it is an essential part of our daily being,” said OCVI president Laura Smith. “Thanks to OCO’s thorough communication they are able to accurately schedule buses for us as a group and for individuals as well, as they safely transport our members from their house to our meetings and back. So many of us do not have the transportation or the people available who can turn their lives around to accommodate our schedule. Call-n-Ride allows us to keep our independence by not having to depend on a relative or a friend for transportation.”

Smith added that the staff at OCO Transit is continually looking to work with OCVI to make things easier.

“We have transportation director Gary Mashaw to thank for that desire to assist us and he always answers our requests with his favorite expression, “We’ll make it happen,” she said.

Call-N-Ride service provides curb-to-curb transportation for the elderly and persons with special needs in Oswego County.

The service is available for medical, social or personal business.

Sponsored by Constellation Energy, Call-N-Ride service is available on specific days Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Reservations for Call-N-Ride must be made three business days in advance and can be made by calling toll free at 1-877-484-3287 (1-877-4THEBUS).

For more information on the Oswego County Visually Impaired program, call Smith at 343-4781.

Constellation’s $20,000 Donation Fuels Call-N-Ride Transport Service

Submitted article

</p>Oswego County Opportunities Transportation Division Manager Gary Mashaw and Constellation Energy\'s Kenneth Geary (left) are joined by Oswego County Arise Executive Director Sabine Ingerson and Vision Network representative Betsy Copps with one of the new buses currently in use for the Call-N-Ride program. Thanks to a $20,000 award from Constellation, this curb-to-curb transportation service continues to grow in Oswego County.Constellation Energy Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station has generously provided the Call-N-Ride program with $20,000, which underwrites much of the cost of providing curb-to-curb transport within Oswego County for elderly residents and persons with special needs. All school districts in Oswego County are covered by the service.

Ken Geary, president of Constellation Nine Mile Point’s Community Council, was on hand at a recognition luncheon on Monday, July 28, along with members of ARISE, Oswego County Opportunities Transportation Division, and Aurora of Central New York. The picnic lunch was hosted by the Oswego County Visually Impaired organization, to recognize these agencies for their support.

Thanks to Constellation’s gift, Call-N-Ride has been able to continue expanding services in 2008, adding monthly special outings to its regular schedule. Ridership continues to increase.

The Call-N-Ride program is provided and operated by the Oswego County Opportunities Transportation Division, and can be used for medical, social, or personal business. Riders pay a nominal fee each way ($2 – $6), based on how far they need to travel within the county. It operates Monday – Friday, between 10 am and 2 pm, except on holidays. Reservations are required and must be called in 3 business days in advance.

Support for Call-N-Ride was secured through the work of the Oswego County Vision Network, the Oswego County Visually Impaired (OCVI), and ARISE.  “We’re very grateful for Constellation’s support,” said Laura Smith, a member of the Vision Network and OCVI. “Without Call-N-Ride, many of our members could not go to doctor appointments, get their hair done, run errands, or meet a friend for lunch. With Call-N-Ride, many residents can continue to do things independently, and that means a great deal.”

Sabine Ingerson, director of Oswego County ARISE, agreed. “This program gives people freedom and independence. Oswego County has large rural areas where public transportation is not available. Without Call-N-Ride, these residents would have to rely on friends and relatives for all of their transportation needs.”

More information is available by calling this toll-free number: 1-877 4THE BUS (1-877-484-3287), or by visiting Oswego County Opportunities’ website at www.oco.org.

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