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SamTrans Reaches out to Seniors

recThe number of older people living in San Mateo County, ages 65 and older, is expected to double in the next 20 years. A significant number of these people will seek or need public transit to stay mobile and maintain their independence.

SamTrans can be that transit option today.

May is designated Older Americans Month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging. SamTrans is taking part in the American Public Transportation Association's "Telling Our Story: Older Americans Outreach" May 8-11 to share what the District is doing for the senior community.

The Transit District launched its Senior Mobility Ambassador Program last fall. The program uses agency and community volunteers to introduce seniors and people with disabilities to the wide variety of transit options available in San Mateo County. After a comprehensive training program, 10 volunteer ambassadors work one-on-one with new riders to help them plan trips and accompany them as they learn to navigate the public transportation system.

Six senior centers in San Mateo County serve as "host centers" for the program. Ambassadors are available at the City of San Mateo Senior Center, Foster City Senior Wing, Little House Senior Center in Menlo Park, Menlo Park Senior Center, Redwood City Veterans Memorial Senior Center and the San Carlos Adult Community Center.

"The senior centers have eagerly embraced the new program," said Senior Mobility Project Coordinator Jean Conger. "We hope to gain many new fans of SamTrans and increase ridership along the way."

During the program launch, the Transit District also developed a "Seniors on the Go " how-to-ride guide that has been distributed to San Mateo County libraries, senior centers and city agencies. The guide and other information of interest to seniors has been posted online at .

The Mobility Ambassador Program is funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration's New Freedom Program through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The New Freedom Program provides grants for new capital and operational projects aimed at reducing, beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, transportation barriers faced by individuals with disabilities.

For information on the Senior Mobility Ambassador Program, contact Senior Mobility Coordinator Jean Conger at 650-508-6263 or [email protected] .

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