Over 50 years ago, providing accessible transportation for older adults was a growing concern in Marin County. Speaking to the San Rafael Daily Independent Journal in 1968, Vera Schultz, Marin County’s first female supervisor, said older adults in Marin County were the “most seriously disadvantaged” in the Bay Area because of the lack of public transportation and low-income housing. She was concerned that the current services did not meet the needs of Marin’s older adults. So, in 1968, Vivalon began its first ride program with a single vehicle.
Schultz paved the way for Vivalon’s healthy aging services, and in the decades that followed, Vivalon began offering more transportation services to care for older adults in and around Marin County. Today, with a fleet of ADA-compliant and wheelchair-accessible vehicles and highly trained drivers, thousands of older adults and people with disabilities receive rides to day centers, medical appointments, visits with loved ones, and more throughout Marin, San Francisco, and the East Bay.
Due to a decision by Marin Transit, as of February 1, 2022, Vivalon will no longer provide paratransit services to Marin County. It has been a true privilege to serve our community in this capacity for the last 50 years, and while we are saddened by the change, we look to the future as we continue to offer and expand our many other ride services for people in need.
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) and Missed Appointment Reduction Service (MARS) are two critical programs for patients who struggle to find transportation to their appointments. People who are covered by Medi-Cal can use NEMT to go to physical therapy, oncology visits, dialysis treatment, prenatal care, surgical procedures, mental health and/or substance abuse treatment. In addition, medical providers arrange rides for their patients to and from their appointments through Vivalon’s MARS program.
CarePool is a free volunteer driver program that helps older adults maintain their independence when they can no longer drive. Anyone over the age of 65 or living with disability can use CarePool to go to grocery stores and medical appointments, including COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
SHUTTLES AND CHARTERS
People living in senior care communities, students and adults living with disabilities, and other Bay Area residents in need receive rides to school, outings, daily activities, adult day centers and one-time events through our shuttle and charter service. Our vehicles are ADA-compliant and wheelchair accessible for the comfort and safety of our clients.
SPECIALIZED REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
Social service agencies, adult day centers, medical centers, and community organizations throughout the Bay Area rely on Vivalon Rides to get their members and clients safely to and from their centers. “There are very few [of our members] who are independent enough to walk out and catch a bus or a ride in a taxi or Uber,” says David Dubinsky, Chief Executive Officer of the Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center in San Francisco, which provides recreational, vocational, and educational opportunities for people with disabilities. “Most are reliant on transportation services that are designed for their special needs. What I see with the Vivalon drivers is a caring attitude. They’re there to care for those individuals and not just drive the bus.”