Edmonton senior transportation service could get cash boost from city

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WATCH: A transportation service for seniors could receive a cash injection from the City of Edmonton. Albert Delitala explains – Feb 3, 2019

A transportation service for seniors could soon receive a cash infusion from the City of Edmonton if a motion for funding passes at city council this week.

Drive Happiness serves between 700 and 800 seniors in the Edmonton area and has about 75 volunteer drivers.

Connie Van Dyk, 70, is blind and has depended on the service for about a year.

“For me, it means independence,” Van Dyk told Global News. “It means I can go to the things I like to go to. I can go to work and back home again.”

Despite strong demand, the non-profit is in need of more funding to avoid service reductions.

This week, a motion by Coun. Andrew Knack aims to inject $180,000 into the service for 2019 and look at how to keep it sustainable for the long term.

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The service operates alongside the city’s Disabled Adult Transit Service (DATS).

“If they’re not around, what we’ve often heard is a lot of people would have to use DATS service, which is already fairly constrained,” Knack said. “We heard a lot during budget about the need to really enhance that service.”

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Van Dyk uses Drive Happiness in conjunction with DATS. She believes further funding is essential.

“Please, please give them the money so that people like myself — no matter what the disability and the age — we can get out there and be the independent people we want to be and live life to the fullest, really,” Van Dyk said.

The motion is set to go to Edmonton city council on Tuesday.

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