Every year, the town of Irondequoit receives a sizable grant from the federal government, known as the Community Development Block Grant. Despite efforts by the new administration to put this program in jeopardy, it continues to have the strong support of Congress.
The money is used to fund a good part of our street paving program, we provide counseling to homeowners entering foreclosure and a very popular grant program for home modifications. In all, CDBG intends to help our senior population as well as moderate to lower income residents.
The town has historically offered a senior transportation program, whose operation several years ago was taken over by Medical Motors. The service provides older residents with low-cost rides — on demand — for a number of destinations, including: physical therapy, grocery shopping, visits to nursing homes; and yes, medical appointments.
Medical Motors provides reliable service for our seniors, however, over the past few years we have noticed a declining utilization of the program. We haven’t been able to pinpoint any specific reason; yet, suspect that residents may believe that the service can only be used for medical purposes. Such is not the case!
Over the next year, we will be rebranding this program as “I-Ride.” Nothing will change, except that we hope more seniors (60 and older) realize that it can be used for nonmedical trips as well. This is too good of a program to be under-utilized. To that point, senior residents should be soon receiving a postcard with information the service.
When we conducted our older adults survey in 2015, one of the biggest needs that emerged was transportation. Indeed, as we continue working with RTS on their new system redesign, our senior residents drive our priorities. However, whereas the bus system generally provides trips to destinations outside of Irondequoit, we feel I-Ride can enhance mobility within our town’s borders.
Scheduling a lift with I-Ride is as easy as calling Medical Motors at 585-654-7030. The cost share for a resident is on sliding scale, determined by income level. We will continue to do our best to promote the program, but ask for the community’s help to ensure that all residents are aware of its potential to enhance mobility.