Where: Lanier Tech Business Incubator at Brenau East Campus, 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville
Fares: pickup charge, $4; otherwise, $1.20 per mile. A scholarship program is available for low-income riders.
More info: iTNLanier.org or 678-696-0360
A new, fare-based transportation service for Hall County seniors rolled out Monday morning.
Officials with Independent Transportation Network Lanier, or iTNLanier, cut a ribbon and talked about the new service, which provides “arm-in-arm, door-through-door” rides to residents 60 and older who can no longer drive, as well as the visually impaired.
“We hope the community will embrace iTNLanier and help us keep your relatives and friends active, healthy, independent and connected to the community,” iTNLanier co-chairwoman Erika Walker told the crowd gathered for the opening.
Rides will be provided to wherever customers need or want to go, including the doctor’s office, grocery store, church or restaurant.
The 24/7 service, based at Lanier Tech Business Incubator at Brenau East Campus, 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville, has a $4 pickup charge and a fare of $1.20 per mile. A scholarship program is available for low-income riders.
Volunteers run the program, with iTNLanier conducting background checks and other measures “to make sure we’re delivering a safe and enjoyable experience for our members,” treasurer Jerry Butler has said.
Transportation for seniors emerged as an idea from the Wisdom Project, a senior leadership program sponsored by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
“A focus of that was how do we improve the lives of seniors in the future (as this is) a growing population,” Butler said. “We looked at a lot of different avenues, but transportation was always a big one.”
Data has shown Hall County has an estimated 42,000 residents older than age 55, and more than 8,000 of them are 74 and older.
Chestnut Mountain resident Marsha Wright said she is thankful for the new service.
“It’s great,” she said. “I have a friend … who never goes anywhere, and he’s very excited (about the service). He has to take Dial-A-Ride all the time, and he has no relatives in Gainesville.”
Hall Area Transit operates a fixed-route bus service with limited routes, Gainesville Connection, and Dial-A-Ride, a curbside transportation service that requires reservations at least 48 hours before pickup.
Phillippa Lewis Moss, director of the Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center, which operates Hall Area Transit, has said she doesn’t see iTNLanier as competition “so much as I see it as providing a customized transportation option for our rapidly growing and graying community.”