Transportation Access

Volunteer Community Car Ride Program

Like many rural areas, Berkshire County could be called a transportation desert. Many of our neighbors struggle with a lack of mobility that unjustly thwarts their education, employment, health care, and other forms of social interaction.

 

BIO has advocated at the state level for increased investment in public transportation, and more directly has been instrumental in the development of a new county-wide ride-share program.

 

Wheels for Wellness connects volunteer drivers, who use their own vehicles, with neighbors unable to get to health-related activities. The program is free to riders and offers mileage reimbursement to drivers.

 

Since its soft, mid-pandemic launch on June 1, 2021 Wheels has been on pace to provide more than 1,000 round-trips in its first year of operation. A plan is in place to double that in the coming years.

 

In this opening phase, rides are limited to trips to and from health care appointments (physical, mental, dental), with the goal over time of supporting trips to access social services and all forms of the social determinants of health.

 

The program also strengthens community by building relationships among drivers and riders who otherwise would never have met.

 

Anyone interested in getting a ride or becoming a volunteer driver can check the Wheels for Wellness site.

 

Day-to-day operations are handled by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, with the Berkshire Community Action Council acting as fiscal agent. Other partners in this exciting new venture include Berkshire Health Systems, Community Health Programs, and Fallon Health.

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Our Organizational Partners

We deeply thank all the organizations that have come together to plan this important new resource!

 

Here are some of our partners in the work:

Berkshire Community Action Council

Berkshire Health Systems

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Community Health Programs

State Senator Adam Hinds’ Office

Northern Berkshire Community Coalition

Retired Senior Volunteer Program

Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires

Wheels for Wellness