Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro joined bus drivers last week from the Dutchess County Office for the Aging (OFA) as they became familiar with the features of two new buses which will be used to improve access to the county’s Senior Nutrition Program. The new vehicles are capable of carrying up to 18 passengers and include two wheelchair-accessible seats. They replace smaller vans which did not include wheelchair lifts and were nearing the end of their useful life. “I am truly proud Dutchess County is able to provide seniors with this state-of-the-art transportation to and from their local Senior Friendship Center,” County Executive Molinaro said. “Our Senior Friendship Centers help elderly residents, especially those who no longer have transportation of their own, to enjoy access to socialization opportunities, a nutritious midday meal and the opportunity to take a weekly trip to the grocery store – services many of us who still drive take for granted.”
The new buses, purchased and funded by Dutchess County, will be part of a fleet of four OFA buses and five vans. They will go into service in mid-March and replace two vehicles that provided approximately 6,500 trips for seniors last year and delivered approximately 7,200 home-delivered meals to isolated, homebound county residents. In 2015, the Office for the Aging delivered a total of 114,262 home-delivered meals to 600 homebound residents and 39,728 congregate meals at Senior Friendship Centers and senior picnics.
“Many Dutchess County seniors often list transportation as their top priority, and I’m happy these new buses will help our Office for the Aging continue to address that concern,” said County Legislature John M. Thomes, chairman of the Family and Human Services Committee. “The Dutchess County Legislature takes seriously its commitment to our residents, and these two buses are the latest example of our response to seniors’ needs.”
The Office for the Aging’s Senior Friendship Centers provide an opportunity for seniors to share in a hot meal, partake in social activities and receive nutrition screening, assessment, education and counseling. Centers are located in Beacon, East Fishkill, Millerton, Pawling, the City of Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck, South Amenia, and the Tri-Town Center which serves the towns of Poughkeepsie, Pleasant Valley and LaGrange. Most centers are open Monday through Thursday. For more information about the center nearest you, call the Dutchess County Office for the Aging at (845) 486-2555 or click here.
“Dutchess County’s Office for the Aging offers vital services and programs for senior citizens throughout the county. These buses will continue the office’s mission of enhancing seniors’ live – both transporting as many residents as possible to Senior Friendship Centers for camaraderie and activities, and delivering nutritious meals to seniors who are unable to leave their homes,” County Legislator Marge Horton said. “I’m happy my fellow legislators and I were able to provide the funding for these buses and help OFA staff members continue their important work.”