This spring the ITNAmerica nationwide network is poised to hit 1 million rides. This is a tremendous milestone, the result of years of dedicated work. A number of this magnitude is bound to attract notice, and this past week Maine’s Bangor Daily News wrote an editorial about our work:
“The US Census Bureau projects that in 2020, residents 65 or older will outnumber those under 18 in Maine. That is 15 years sooner than the nation as a whole is expected to reach this milestone.
In spite of their growing numbers, many seniors will have to stop driving as their mobility, eyesight and reflexes diminish. Talking with a parent about giving up their car keys can be a very difficult conversation, BDN health blogger Diane Atwood wrote recently.
“The critical thing to remember is that if someone is a dangerous driver, he or she shouldn’t be on the road,” she wrote. “It’s no easy task telling a parent they can’t drive anymore, but imagine the courage it would take to face someone after it’s too late.”
… This difficult conversation is made harder by the fact that in most Maine communities there are limited transportation options for those who do not drive.
One group is working to change that. ITNAmerica will soon provide its 1 millionth ride. The nationwide group, which was started in Maine and is headquartered in Westbrook, pairs volunteer drivers with those who need rides, including seniors and those with disabilities. Seniors or others who no longer drive but own a vehicle can donate it to ITN in exchange for credits for free rides. Volunteer drivers earn credits that they can use later in life or transfer to a relative who needs rides.
… ITNAmerica now has affiliates in 12 states. They have mostly operated in urban areas. This year, the group plans to expand to rural areas with a new program called ITNCountry. It is doing so through a pilot project in Maine. Three communities have signed up to participate — York, Saco and Boothbay Harbor — but it is looking for two more communities to participate. It would be great if they were in northern Maine.
It’s great to receive such recognition both for past work — the 1 million rides ITN affiliates have already given — and for our future — ITNCountry, which will offer ITN service to communities everywhere. ITNAmerica has been pioneering innovative senior transportation solutions for more than two decades. With a million rides under our belt, we have no intention of slowing down.
Be a part of the next million rides. Join ITNAmerica.