February 13, 2019 4:50 pm
Updated: February 13, 2019 4:55 pm

Councillors recommend $180K to keep Edmonton senior driving service running

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


A transportation service for seniors in Edmonton is one step closer to receiving financial help.

On Wednesday, a city committee recommended giving $180,000 in one-time funding to Drive Happiness, which serves up to 700 seniors in the Edmonton area with 18,000 rides a year, with the help of about 90 volunteer drivers.

The committee has also asked city administration to work with the non-profit on developing a business plan for sustained operations beyond 2019.

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“We’re thrilled with the decision that the committee has come up with, and certainly about the prospect of on-going funding for seniors assisted transportation in the city,” Drive Happiness executive director Shannon Gill said.

READ MORE: Edmonton senior transportation service could get cash boost from city

Despite strong demand, the non-profit organization said it was in need of more funding to avoid service reductions.

Earlier this month, Coun. Andrew Knack presented a motion to commit $180,000 for 2019 and to look at how to keep the service sustainable beyond this year.

On Wednesday, Knack suggested the city work with the province to make sure the service is sustainable.

“These are people that, for any number of reasons, can’t use our transit service to get them to their medical appointments, to get them to their social gatherings,” Knack said.

“That’s why I think it was important to bring this forward: Number one, we want to make sure we can continue to provide this service for the rest of this year, but then the bigger question, the second point, is how do we create a permanent solution?”

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City council will meet later in February to make a final decision on the funding.

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

— With files from Global News digital journalist Albert Delitala 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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