Engaging elected officials with community needs is effective. Mayor Lois Jackson’s involvement on the Seniors Advisory Committee and her awareness of senior’s needs in North Delta propelled this project forward.
Commuting is difficult for many seniors living in North Delta. This may be due to infrequency of public transportation services, difficulty driving resulting from health complications, and unaffordable taxi services. With these barriers, seniors are often confined to their homes, which can lead to isolation and negative health outcomes.
The senior population is growing in the North Delta region, and there is a need to improve mobility and social well-being. Arising from the Tsawwassen Walkability Study conducted by the community-service organization Deltassist, and a presentation to Council by the Seniors Advisory Committee, the Corporation of Delta has addressed these needs by implementing the Seniors Bus pilot program in North Delta.
Partnerships and Stakeholders
- Corporation of Delta
- Kennedy House Seniors Society
- Sungod Recreation Centre
- North Delta Recreation Centre
- Fraser Health Authority
Summary of the Process
North Delta staff attended a Seniors Transportation Access and Resources (STAR) seminar and visited North Shore’s Seniors Go Bus to gain more information about improving mobility among seniors and how to implement a Seniors Bus Program. A presentation was made to Mayor and Council based on this information.
With support from Mayor and Council, the Corporation of Delta applied for and received an Age-friendly Community Planning & Projects Grant offered by the Provincial Government and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). In May 2013, the City of North Delta implemented a one-year Seniors Bus pilot program.
The Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre, which offers recreational opportunities for seniors in Delta, is the hub for the Seniors Bus service. This curb-side transportation service is free to seniors Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 4:00pm. Service users must call in advance to reserve a seat and pick-up time. The bus transports clients to requested locations such as grocery stores, shopping centers, or to see family and friends. Trips can be made to neighbouring communities for specialty services not available in North Delta, such as those for medical needs. The Seniors Bus accommodates 16 people, and is equipped with an automatic lift to make it wheelchair accessible. The budget for this service is approximately $90,000 per year. This includes the lease for the bus, fuel, insurance, cell-phones, the drivers’ wages, promotional materials, and more.
Marketing tools were utilized to reach the target population. Decals for vehicles, brochures, a webpage and email information, newspaper inserts, the Kennedy Seniors Newsletter, the North Delta Reader Board, and a route map were distributed to raise awareness about the Program.
Outcomes and Impacts
- Reached isolated seniors and the older senior population.
- Increased uptake of the service by the South-Asian seniors population.
- More seniors are accessing the Kennedy Seniors Centre and the Sungod Recreation Facility.
- Ridership has steadily increased from 141 one-way trips in May 2013 to 385 one-way trips by November 2013.
- Service users cite making new friends and social interaction as the key benefits.
- A funding strategy, which includes renting the bus, advertisement, sponsorship, and community donations, has helped to offset costs and make this a financially sustainable program.
- With the program’s success, the Corporation of Delta is looking to extend the program to seven days and potentially offer service in Ladner and/or Tsawwassen.
- Seniors Transportation Access and Resources
- North Shore Seniors Bus Program
- Video: North Delta Seniors Bus Convenient and Free
Acting Emergency Social Services & Seniors Resource Coordinator
Corporation of Delta