SMART grant allows Wyandotte seniors to continue receiving discounted transportation

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — The City Council accepted the contract renewal of the credits from SMART to provide bus services to senior citizens for the 2014 fiscal year Monday.

The city will receive $58,870 from SMART, in municipal and community credits, to subsidize the municipal bus, van and taxi token programs offered to seniors, to maintain the 12-passenger SMART bus and eight-passeger SMART van owned and operated by the city, and fund the use of local school buses used to transport seniors on special day trips.

The total expenses for the three programs is expected to be $88,920 after driver wages, gasoline, insurance for the vehicles, and the upkeep of the vehicles are added up. The city and Wyandotte Public Schools will split the difference between the operating costs and the credit from SMART. The city pays for the driver’s wages and gas used by the school buses, while the school district will provide the bus and driver.

The SMART municipal credit was expected to be reduced by half, but the councilors said recent legislation allowed them to receive the entire credit.

The use of the school buses for service runs will be from 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends for any special trips taken by seniors. The program is offered at no charge to seniors.

The taxi token program provides tokens to senior citizens to use for travel around the Downriver area. The available travel area for the program is broken into three zones, which have specific amount of tokens to go one way.

Zone one — which covers Wyandotte, Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, the Memorial Pool, Copeland Center and Meijer and Kmart in Southgate — costs two tokens each way. Zone two — which covers Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Riverview, and Southgate — costs three tokens each way. Zone three — which covers Oakwood and Heritage hospitals, downtown Trenton, Southland Mall, and Grosse Ile Township — costs four tickets each way.

Residents can purchase tokens for $1.75, but have to purchase a minimum of 10 tokens and are allowed 40 a month. Tokens are available at the Wyandotte Recreation Office, 246 Sycamore, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

The service is available 24 hours a day to seniors or any resident with a disability, and is offered through Wyandotte Cab, 734-282-2222, and Downriver Cab, 734-283-8383 or 734-283-9090.

The SMART bus and van are used by the city to assist its senior and other eligible residents in traveling to the doctor, school, hospital appointments, and other necessary trips in Wyandotte and some of the surrounding communities. The cost of the service is $2 round trip.

The service is available to them, by appointment, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Arrangements can be made 48 hours in advance by calling the Tele-Care and Senior Van Office at 734-324-7285 between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

The programs define senior citizens as a resident over 60 years old and require proof age. Disabled residents must provide proof of disability from a doctor.

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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