By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Over the past year, the residents of Trona, CA have been hit hard. The July 2019 earthquakes caused significant damage to essential services, and now with the COVID-19 pandemic closing more businesses, transportation for the residents is needed more than ever. Recently, Victor Valley Transit’s CTSA Division, working in conjunction with the County of San Bernardino, donated a new 2020 Dodge Caravan with wheelchair accessibility to the Trona Community Senior Center for their Specialized Transportation Program. The program, funded by San Bernardino County Measure I funds, allows Trona residents, aged 60 years or older, as well as ADA disabled passengers, transportation to essential medical appointments, shopping, airport pick up & drop off, and to various locations throughout Southern California. On its maiden transport, a Trona resident was taken to Loma Linda Medical Center in San Bernardino for medical testing.
“Having a brand-new vehicle will allow the Trona Community Senior Center to have more flexibility in providing transportation options to the Trona community in a comfortable, reliable, and satisfactory fashion,” stated Ashley Palmer, CTSA Program Manager for Victor Valley Transit.
The 5-passenger 2020 Dodge Caravan Transit Van also includes space for two wheelchairs with commercial side entry, manual loading ramp, Q’Straint tie-downs, roll out co-pilot seat, rear storage area, and a foldaway double seat. On the technology side, the vehicle is equipped with an Ecolane Mobile Data Tablet and mount, allowing the driver to accept trips from any location.
As the Program Coordinator for the Senior Center for the past 15 years and local historian, Priscilla Benadom stated the van could not have come at a better time, “I am so excited that we have a new vehicle for our transportation program. With the help of our volunteer drivers, we have logged thousands of miles on our vehicles, providing transportation to our senior citizens and disabled clients. Since two of our current vehicles have logged over 100,000 miles, the new vehicle makes it possible to provide reliable transportation for the coming years and expand our services to meet the needs of the community.
With a working relationship surpassing five years, Victor Valley Transit and the Trona Community Senior Center have worked together previously on a Trona to Ridgecrest Transportation Program. Following the earthquakes last year, weekly transportation services were added for transporting any Trona resident to Ridgecrest for needed essential services, including shopping and medical appointments.
Now with the Specialized Transportation Program in place, many more opportunities are available. According to the Center’s President Sandra Spouse, “We really appreciate what the VVTA team has done for Trona since our earthquakes last year. They have worked hard to help our seniors and disabled people in our community. By providing this van, we are now able to grow our program to include public transportation.”
While the population in Trona has dwindled since the 2019 earthquakes, the area still has a large senior population and Victor Valley Transit has been happy to assist the needs of the community and provide transportation solutions. Trona area seniors and ADA qualified individuals may call 760-995-3571 to book transportation today.