PHOENIX (November 8, 2017)—A brand new 16-passenger van may not make headlines in some cities, but for seniors in Guadalupe it means improved access to medical care, shopping, and vital social connections. Riders like Manuel Gonzales can't wait for their new ride.

“A van that will be able to transport a larger capacity of passengers is greatly appreciated by all who depend on it for some of their transportation needs,” says Gonzales, who rides the bus daily to the senior center.

A ceremonial ribbon cutting will inaugurate the van service, with members of the media invited to enjoy the first ride. The ceremony will be held Thursday, November 16 at 10:00 a.m. at the Mercado building, 9201 S. Avenida del Yaqui, Guadalupe, AZ 85225. The building is just north of Town Hall and shares the same parking lot.

For more than 20 years, the only transit vehicles in Guadalupe were two aging buses that are each being leased for $1.00 per year. “The Guadalupe senior bus transit program provides critical connections for our senior adults,” says Guadalupe Mayor Valerie Molina. “The buses take people to senior centers, medical and pharmacy stops, recreational locations, and shopping trips. This new, reliable vehicle will ensure that those services will continue, and will permit the older, deteriorating buses to be retired.”

The purchase of the van is possible through a federal grant after determined efforts of the Town of Guadalupe, the City of Phoenix, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), and two District 7 congressional representatives, including Congressman Ruben Gallego and former Congressman Ed Pastor.

The purchase of the bus wouldn't have been possible without the help of the City of Phoenix, which provided staff assistance in navigating through a six-year federal grant process. Former Congressman Ed Pastor, who currently serves as the chair of the Phoenix Citizens Transportation Commission, championed the application while in office.

“As I recall, there were challenges getting the initial funding match due to the recession,” says Pastor. “It was through the diligence of the Town of Guadalupe, the City of Phoenix, and MAG that this is finally a reality.”

Current District 7 Representative Ruben Gallego also has been a steadfast supporter of transit investments.

“Transportation is one of the single most important factors in helping us enjoy a life of health and happiness,” says Monica Sandschafer, outreach director for Congressman Gallego's office. “Last year, the bus program provided more than 2,000 trips to Guadalupe residents, which is a testament to the joint efforts of many partners.” Along with those listed above, other champions of the project include the Area Agency on Aging and the Guadalupe Senior Center.

The total amount of the grant from the Federal Transit Administration is $150,000. The Town of Guadalupe contributed just over $10,000 to purchase the new, $63,000 van, with the option to purchase a second van in the future. In Fiscal Year 2016/2017, the Guadalupe Senior Bus Transit Program provided the following services:

  • 2,044 trips to the Senior Center for lunch, socialization, exercise and crafts.
  • 3,107 home delivered meals.
  • 68 trips to medical and pharmacy appointments.
  • 274 recreational trips, such as picnics, exercise facilities, local events and to other senior centers.
  • 220 trips to shop for grocery items.
  • 32 trips to shopping malls during holiday seasons.

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