Survey results reveal need for it to expand to Sundays, holidays

By Cathy Kozlowicz


After receiving the results of a church survey recently sent out, the Walworth County’s Transportation Coordinating Committee agreed to look further at ways of providing increased services for people with mobility issues on Sundays and holidays at its April 1 meeting.

After looking into some of the liability of logistics of using volunteer drivers, the committee sent out a survey to 68 county churches following the Feb. 4 meeting and 26 of the 68 of the surveys were filled out.

After about a 30-minute discussion, the committee decided to continue to look at the logistics of operating a service and the financial implications.

County Administrator Dave Bretl said the County Board can consider factoring this into the 2020 budget.

Nineteen of the responses indicated that seniors and disabled members of their congregation were unable to attend services due to a lack of transportation while 21 indicated that there would be a demand for the program if the county was to expand transportation services.

“This is a good amount of feedback,” Nicole Hill, office supervisor and mobility manager for the county, said.

Bretl agreed.

“I think it is great that the churches responded. We have a need identified,” he said, adding that now they need to figure out where to get the money.

Bretl said he would like to flesh out the number of vehicles and the drivers needed, along with other logistics and report back to the committee.

This project began when unity member Robert Peryea approached the committee Jan. 7 with a goal of having volunteer-run transportation for Sunday and holidays. After discussing some liability and logistic issues, the committee said it would look into this need and put in on the Feb. 4 agenda. At that meeting, it was decided the issue deserved further attention.

According to the VIP Services’ website, the transportation services program helps people get to non-emergency medical appointments outside of Walworth County, transportation for dialysis appointments and trips to senior dining centers on scheduled days. The hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

According to Executive Director of VIP Services, Inc., Cindy Simonsen, they are short on drivers and vehicles and the demand is increasing. She also said many of the vans VIP Services operates have more than 100,0000 miles, some over 150,000.

In previous meetings it was determined that volunteers can be used and that the insurance will cover liability insurance.

“We don’t want the volunteerism and the good neighbor spirit to go away,” Andrew Kerwin, citizen representative and vice-chair of the committee said.

Nancy Russell, chair of the committee, said it’s an important topic.

“We (the committee) came a long way. Our population is getting older. Our friends are getting older. Let’s keep the subject open,” Russell said.



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