Charlevoix County Transit (CCT) is a CTAA member providing rural transit services in Michigan. They recently started providing meal and medicine delivery service to their riders’ homes. We spoke with Jill Drury, General Manager at CCT, to learn how her system is handling these additional services, while also operating under a statewide “stay-at-home” order.
Question: What precautionary steps have you taken in light of the virus?
Answer: CCT has stepped up our cleaning protocols; drivers are disinfecting before and after their routes as well as in between passenger pick-up and drop offs.
Question: How have you included the new delivery service into your existing services?
Answer: We have included delivery of senior meals, student meals, food pantry and groceries, and prescriptions as well as offering free rides for all rides.
Question: What was the moment when you realized Charlevoix Transit needed to offer these services?
Answer: Here’s a timeline: Michigan’s Governor declared a State of Emergency on March 10th. At that time we began looking at what service changes would be needed should schools, agency programming and other businesses and services were closed. On March 13th, the order for schools to close was received which began the first wave of cancellations and changes for our demand-response schedule. Beginning March 16th, our communities really stepped up and began putting food programs into place for the school kids and right away we offered to provide free service for residents of the county who needed to get to a school food program or to one of the local restaurants that was offering reduced or free meals for students. In addition to that we put into place free medical transportation with no eligibility criteria. Knowing that our area was being hit heavy with resort and service industry closures we knew we needed to do more for our communities. Effective March 19th, we expanded our free fares to all rides and services provided by CCT. At this point, we included delivery of groceries, food pantry boxes, senior meals, prescriptions as well as still providing rides for essential services. On March 23rd our Governor put in place a Stay At Home Executive Order effective March 24th through April 13th. Once again, service delivery is changing; we’ve reduced service hours on the mainland to 7am-4pm, Monday through Friday and on Beaver Island service will be offered from 11am-2pm, Monday through Friday.
Question: What has been the reaction in the community in adding the delivery service?
Answer: The word is just getting out about our expanded services. Today we did an interview with a local television station and I believe that will help get the word out. The community reaction has been very positive; while the passengers who normally depend on us are thankful for the free service, the larger community as a whole is appreciative of the fact that we’re providing additional services and helping folks social distance and stay at home as much as possible.
Question: Are there any other challenges you’re experiencing?
Answer: The biggest challenge is not being able to provide service for every request. We’ve reduced our hours and staffing in an attempt to reduce the risk to as many staff members as possible. We’re being somewhat flexible with our hours but know that there will still be an unmet need.
This blog post is part of our latest CTR blog series highlighting the ways in which CTAA members are managing operations under COVID-19. Want to share your COVID-19 experiences with us? Email Taylor Klocke (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) and its members believe that mobility is a basic human right. From work and education to life-sustaining health care and human services programs to shopping and visiting with family and friends, mobility directly impacts quality of life.