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Seniors Drive Demand for Ride Services

Elderly Weston residents should know Nancy McCormick . Since November, McCormick has managed operations for ITNCoastalCT , a Westport-based company that provides rides for seniors and people with visual impairments.

"The growth trajectory has been just incredible," McCormick said at the Weston Senior Center. The organization saw its riders increase by nearly 1,000 percent after its first month and nearly tripled after the second month.

"We should keep building," she added. "We're seriously looking for people who want to volunteer to drive in our six town area." ITNCoastalCT also serves Easton, Fairfield, Norwalk and Wilton. Weston and Norwalk are the towns most in need of volunteer drivers, McCormick said.

Drivers must pass a criminal background check and have at least three years of clean driving. Volunteer drivers receive a free annual membership, mileage reimbursement for part of the ride and transportation credits for the rest. "These credits are for your own future use, transfer them to a loved one or donate them to the Road Scholarship Program for low-income riders," says the ITNCoastalCT website .

The Road Scholarship Program helps low-income seniors pay for their rides. McCormick entered the Main Street Connect Close to My Heart contest in January and said she would have donated her winnings to this scholarship fund.

McCormick estimates the average age of ITN riders is 85 to 90. "These are people who really should not be on the road," she said. "People who are self-limiting – they don't drive in the rain, they don't drive in the snow, they can't turn their heads, they don't know how back up anymore. Those people shouldn't be driving their cars" for their own safety and the safety of others.

The service requires a membership fee and the establishment of a prepaid account that is deducted after each ride. The company also offers a variety of incentive programs and fundraisers to maximize its effectiveness.

Dial A Ride also offers rides for seniors or disabled individuals but is limited to certain hours per day. McCormick's service hopes to fill in that gap by being available 24 hours a day. As the first wave of baby boomers turns 65 this year, the demand is sure to rise. ITNCoastalCT reported that the number of licensed drivers age 65 and older is expected to double by 2030.

What do you think of senior ride services like ITNCoastalCT? Let us know below!

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