Starting April 11, people living in Benzie County will have access to a new transportation service. After six years of planning, Benzie Bus is launching their Health Rides, a The personalized, non-emergency service.
The service is available for people in Benzie County, specifically those 60 years old and older.
“We know transportation is a huge barrier to accessing healthcare, so that’s the impetus behind starting this service,” said Jessica Carland, Benzie Bus Mobility Manager.
Health Rides takes patients to appointments in nearby counties, including in Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Manistee, and Wexford counties.
“Not everybody has friends or family members that can take them to doctor’s appointments. This is really important to help people who could like to age in place. Right? Senior citizens that want to stay in their homes, but maybe don’t have family members or friends that are able to take them.”
Blair Foote lives in Frankfort. She used other Benzie Bus services in the past, says she’s looking forward to having new service.
“Getting this service going is going to be tremendous. So much easier for people to not, to be able to make an appointment without having to find people to bring them.”
Rides are $15 one-way and an extra $5 for every stop.
“It would’ve been great to have this when my father lived here, because I used to drive up from Chicago to take him to appointments,” said Foote. “He didn’t have anyone else, so this would’ve been outstanding.”
Benzie Bus is also working with a third-party digital software company. This will help patients schedule transportation appointments with their medical providers at the same time they schedule their follow-up appointments.