Senior citizens in Gainesville now have a new way to get around that’s tailored to some of the places they may need to go.
Hall Area Transit on Wednesday began rolling out a “Senior Center Circulator,” which has a route that includes the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center — temporarily located at Fair Street Neighborhood Center during renovations on the Prior Street facility — and many neighborhoods that feature large numbers of senior residents.
Some of those neighborhoods include Riverside Condominiums, Candler Square Condominiums, Windcliff Apartments, Church Street Manor, Lighthouse Manor, Myrtle Terraces and Ashton Senior Living.
Seniors don’t have to go to the Senior Life Center to make use of the new bus route, with other destinations including the downtown Gainesville square, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, The Longstreet Clinic, Guilford Clinics on Jesse Jewell Parkway, Publix on Thompson Bridge Road and Kroger on Jesse Jewell Parkway.
“Our goal is to better facilitate senior transportation to frequently visited locations,” said Phillippa Lewis Moss, director of the Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center that oversees the Senior Life Center, Hall Area Transit and Meals on Wheels. “If this plan goes well, we may create other circulars to popular places like grocery stores, medical offices and recreational facilities.”
Gainesville resident Barbara Dysart said “it’s going to be very convenient for me,” adding that she likes that it means she won’t be on the bus for as long.
While the new routes, which will have two buses driving them, are geared toward seniors, anybody can ride on them.
Rates for the circulator will be the same as other Gainesville Connection buses: 50 cents per ride for seniors and $1 for others, as well as $3 for an all-day pass that includes unlimited rides.
Moss said many seniors become dependent on Hall Area Transit’s door-to-door bus service, Dial-A-Ride, that picks them up at their homes at a specific time. The circulator, which runs from 8-10 a.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, will allow them to catch another bus if they don’t get on the first one that comes near where they live.
Instead of the traditional 12 hours that most Gainesville Connection bus routes drive daily, the circulator has a pair of two-hour service times.
Moss called the circulator an experimental idea she hopes to be able to expand on in the near future. She considers it efficient and cost-effective, hoping the circulator will catch on with seniors.
“We’re excited,” Moss said. “We had a good day today.”