EDISON—Driving seniors in need to critical medical appointments has become easier in the township thanks to the addition of a Chevy Uplander.
Edison is the first municipality in the county to obtain the Uplander – a minivan with a manual wheelchair ramp along with additional amenities to aid in transporting the senior citizen population.
“This new vehicle will be used to transport our seniors to dialysis and various other treatments. Edison residents who are living with chronic, debilitating diseases have the greatest need for this type of vehicle,” said Mayor Jun Choi.
Choi was joined by some senior citizens, Director of Health & Human Services John Grun and Assistant Director for Aging Judith Gillingham as the group exhibited the new Uplander.
The low-to-the-ground minivan can hold two wheelchairs and three ambulatory individuals plus a driver. The low-angle aluminum ramp allows for easy entry and exit. Unlike the other vehicles in the fleet, the Uplander does not require the driver to have a commercial driver’s license. This enables multiple staff members to assist residents as needs arise.
“Having this minivan enables us to expand service and at the same time save taxpayer dollars,” Choi said.
The minivan gets 16 miles per gallon of gas, compared to 10 miles per gallon with the current buses. The manually operated ramp will save on costly repairs associated with hydraulic ramps. Fuel consumption will decrease because the vehicles size will allow it to take direct routes on narrow roadways and under bridges and trestles.
The Edison Senior Citizen Center provides curb-to-curb transportation services, free-of-charge, to Edison seniors who have no other means of transportation. Senior citizens are brought to and from senior club meetings, shopping malls as well as medical, dialysis, and nutrition appointments.
In 2007, the Edison Senior Citizen Transportation Service provided 33,254 trips and logged a total of 42,000 miles on the bus fleet. Excluding the Uplander, the township owns 13 buses that can accommodate between eight and 33 passengers.
This service is not available to seniors who have a car, are currently driving or have other means of transportation such as a spouse or family member. Although, should a medical condition prevent an individual from getting behind the wheel for a limited amount of time, they are eligible for transportation until such time that their physician allows them to drive themselves.
Transportation to club meetings, shopping, nutrition and medical appointments are offered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment or pre-registration. Transportation services are provided “curb-to-curb.” Drivers are not permitted to assist any rider beyond the curb, enter the home, assist with ambulation, unlock doors or carry personal items. Drivers do not accompany passengers into the medical office or building. For more information call (732) 248-7345.
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