ADRC offers taxi service to seniors, disabled citizens

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Deb Reed, of Prairie du Chien, exits one of the ADRC vans that regularly transports her to and from appointments, shopping outings and other essential trips around the community. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

 

The Crawford County Aging and Disability Resource Center provides affordable transportation to appointments, meal sites, shopping and social activities. Its Taxi Subsidy Program is for those age 60 and older and adults with disabilities. 

Rides are typically offered Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For rides in the evenings or on weekends, users may buy rides for the Prairie du Chien taxi services at a discounted rate from the ADRC directly.The ADRC offers multiple modes of transportation, including handicap-accessible buses and vans of varying capacities.

Though the number of riders was down a little more than half in 2020 due to COVID-19, there were still about 115 county residents who utilized the door-to-door service. (Of course, riders are seated apart in the vehicles and required to wear masks now.) In 2019, before the pandemic, ridership had increased by about 1,000 rides for the year­—to around 4,000 total rides. 

Deb Reed, 56, a lifelong Prairie du Chien resident, is one of the regular riders. She recently shared her gratitude for the ADRC taxi because she is unable to drive herself. Mostly, she takes it to go shopping, visit the library and attend her Healthy Hearts exercise program at the hospital. This also offers her opportunities for social trips, and she appreciates the “wonderful people” she has met.

“I love it because you get treated so nice. The drivers treat people how they want to be treated, with respect,” Reed said. “I take it anywhere I want to go.”

Reed started using the ADRC Taxi about a year ago after hearing about it from another resident in her apartment building. 

“I call, request a ride and they pick me up right at the apartment door,” she noted.

ADRC Director Roby Fuller said the taxi program’s purpose is to ensure senior citizens and disabled persons can get to medical appointments and complete essential shopping. Before the pandemic shut down meal sites across Crawford County, another main purpose was to transport people to the meal sites daily. 

Fuller said, the ADRC applies yearly for a Department of Transportation grant to use toward its taxi service and 20 percent of that is matched by the county tax levy. She said the ADRC works to continue this because it recognizes this service creates the opportunity for riders to be independent citizens.

“Some of the regulars don’t have family and friends close by who they can rely on. This is to make sure people are getting their needs met,” Fuller said. “The medical appointments especially increased in 2020. There were certain months where we were booked all five days a week for that reason.”

During a “normal” year, the ADRC Taxi tries to offer many social trips. Past destinations have included holiday lights and haystack suppers, for instance. These outings make for the perfect time to make friends and check in on friends too, which is another one of Reed’s favorite aspects of the program.

“They really get to know each other. They start to look out for each other too,” Fuller stated.

To receive a ride via the ADRC Taxi, call 326-0235. Fill out an application. Once that’s approved, a punch card can be purchased. Each month, the ADRC has an allotted number of punch cards to sell. Clients may purchase one card per month, and carry them over from month to month as well. A second card can be issued for special circumstances. 

Basically, in-town trips cost only a couple dollars, depending upon the purpose.

“I think it’s a very reasonable cost,” Fuller said.

The ADRC vehicles will transport people outside of the city, for an additional fee, and they request riders make the dispatcher aware of this when calling for a ride.

“I love the ADRC service and I’d like to see other people ride,” Reed added. “The people are just wonderful.”

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