For most Southlake residents, a trip to the grocery store or going to a doctor appointment may not be a favorite activity, but do not require much effort or forethought. However, for the city’s senior residents and disabled adult citizens, such routine tasks can be daunting. Oftentimes, the challenge starts with simply figuring out how to get there and back.
For this reason, Call A Ride Southlake (CARS) was established in 2000 to provide free, non-emergency transportation to Southlake seniors and disabled adult citizens for medical, dental, social, business, shopping and personal needs. Since that time, CARS has provided thousands of rides to hundreds of qualified residents, helping to encourage local senior citizens to be more independent and active.
Staffed with volunteer drivers, CARS operates Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will transport within a 25 mile radius of Southlake (including Arlington, Fort Worth and Dallas) for most medical purposes, and within a seven mile radius of Southlake for other appointments.
According to CARS volunteer Lisa Adam, the non-profit organization has been hosting fundraisers with local businesses to assist it marketing efforts. Through August 23, CARS is featured on Our Hometown Deal, which donates a percentage of each sale.
“Our biggest priority right now is to get our name out there, both to increase awareness of our services and to recruit volunteer drivers. We want people to know we’re here and ready to help, but we need to grow our volunteer base before we grow our service,” said Adam, noting CARS has provided nearly 1200 trips this year.
To help accomplish this, CARS recently took its marketing efforts online with the launch of its first website, www.CallaRideSouthlake.org, and a Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/CallaRideSouthlake. Both forums provide information for drivers and riders, along with testimonials and how-to volunteer or make a tax deductible donation.
Senior citizens and disabled adult persons who need or desire to utilize the CARS program must complete an application and interview. For a qualified rider to utilize the transportation program, riders must call CARS at least 72 hours in advance. A dispatcher will contact a volunteer driver to arrange transportation. The driver will then contact the rider to confirm the destination and pick-up time requested.
Likewise, all volunteer drivers must complete an application form and have an exemplary driving record. Volunteer drivers provide and maintain their own vehicles to participate in this program. If a rider has a special handling need such as a wheelchair, a ramp-equipped van is available in the CARS fleet. And while users must reside in Southlake, drivers may live in other communities.
For more information about CARS, call 817-798-4022 or visit our website.