Before COVID-19, Jerry enjoyed regular visits to the Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco. Like all Pomeroy clients, Jerry lives with a disability. At the Center, he and his peers participate in a variety of health, wellness and educational activities, but Jerry cannot drive or navigate public transportation on his own. Because he loves visiting the Center, every day a trained Vivalon driver picks him up in an ADA-compliant bus to take him to and from Pomeroy programs.
“It’s nice to not have to worry about how people get here and how they go home,” says David Dubinsky, Pomeroy Center Chief Executive Officer. “There are very few that are independent enough to walk out and catch a bus or a ride in a taxi or Uber. [Vivalon] is the only way that I know of for people to reliably get here every day and get back home.”
The American Community Survey estimates nearly 165,000 people in Marin, San Francisco and Sonoma Counties live with a disability. Some are like Jerry and live with disabilities that prevent them from driving. They rely on Vivalon Rides to receive services at Regional Centers and attend programs like those at Pomeroy.
“If it wasn’t for the buses, I wouldn’t be here,” says Jerry. “I wouldn’t be coming to the Center if it wasn’t for these [drivers]. I’d be sitting at home watching TV all day doing nothing.”
While Regional Centers and day programs closed due to COVID-19, these critical care providers are safely reopening, and small groups of clients can return for services and activities. Today, 330 people living with developmental disabilities are receiving rides to and from local service agencies throughout Marin, San Francisco and Sonoma Counties thanks to Vivalon Rides.