Organizations: Independent Transportation Network

Independent Transportation Network provides an affordable, dignified, customized shuttle service for seniors and the visually impaired in Hall County.
Organizations Graphic
Graphic by Penny R. Alligood

Evelyn Asher needed a ride to the hospital.

She turned to the Independent Transportation Network, or ITNLanier, a nonprofit that provides an affordable, dignified, customized shuttle service for seniors and the visually impaired in Hall County.

“My driver and I had pleasant conversation that totally took my mind off the medical procedure I had,” Asher says, “and I felt at ease not having to disturb family members or friends.”

ITNLanier uses software that is similar to Uber’s, but with detailed information about the clients’ needs, such as walkers, wheelchairs, canes, dentures, purses and briefcases. The driver makes certain the passenger has reached the correct address, which can be confusing if a labyrinthine hospital is involved. Rides are available for all needs, including church, hair salon appointments and grocery shopping.

“We’re not a bus service with a fixed route, and we’re not a taxi service,” says Executive Director Dana Chapman. “An experience with us is like getting a ride with a trusted best friend. We take you door-to-door, arm-in-arm if necessary. It’s very personal and very caring.”

The organization deploys 49 volunteers who drive their own cars, and it serves 126 clients, who buy yearly individual memberships for $50 ($75 for a family) and pay a $4 pickup fee and $1 per mile traveled. Scholarships are available for low-income clients, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals sponsors all trips related to eye-care, so those are free of charge.

Since May 2016, ITNLanier has provided 6,496 rides. “That’s 117,944 miles,” Chapman says.

One of the drivers shows up in his convertible red Mustang. “That sports car reminded me that I’m very much alive,” Asher says with a laugh.

itnlanier.org

Categories: Organizations, Up Front