NACOG, Changepoint to expand the transport program for seniors | Latest news
SHOW LOW – A partnership between the Northern Arizona Council on Aging (NACOG) and ChangePoint Integrated Health expanded the existing transportation program for seniors.
Now seniors in both southern Navajo County and southern Apache County have transportation to get where they need to go. That could mean a doctor’s appointment, a shopping spree, or an errand. You could even go out to see family or friends who live in the area.
The service is free and will launch in southern Navajo County around January 2018. The initiative began by offering additional public transportation to seniors in the Snowflake-Taylor area.
“We started with the small service area to gauge how well it would work for seniors in public,” said Tod Morris of Flagstaff, NACOG Mobility Management Planner. “At the beginning of the program in Snowflake and Taylor we were able to check all success factors.
NACOG has the connection with seniors and is familiar with the transportation gaps that sometimes exist for the senior population. So successful was the program that the decision to expand to southern Apache County was an easy one.
In the fall of 2020, southern Apache County was added to create the expanded service area developed by NACOG and ChangePoint.
“ChangePoint is in a unique way to help people in both countries,” said CEO Jeff Oakes. “We offer our customers more than half a million miles a year for transportation. We have the drivers and vehicles to meet the transportation needs of seniors. “
Oakes and Morris agreed that a large portion of all transportation needs is for medical travel. Having this opportunity in the rural areas of Counties Navajo and Apache is a win-win for both patients and providers.
Transportation from St. Johns to Show Low is also being developed.
“We’re not trying to duplicate services, we’re trying to fill in the gaps,” said Morris. “The Springerville Senior Center has transportation, but it may not be available as often as some seniors need.”
The fact that the transportation program was so successful during a pandemic reflects the commitment of both agencies to the community.
“With COVID, driver numbers were down across the board so we knew we weren’t going to see extreme growth, but for the same reason we knew it was important to deliver,” said Morris. “We work with the senior centers in each community, distribute brochures and inform people about the service.”
When planning, NACOG has a transport manager and a call center who coordinate the trips and stops.
“We get the request, we get it on the scene as soon as possible, and we make it happen,” said Oakes.
There are of course criteria, said Morris and Oakes. Passengers must call and make an appointment at least 24 hours in advance. This is especially important in bad weather.
While ChangePoint has handicapped accessible vans and all-wheel drive, it still needs to make driver and passenger safety a top priority.
“Our primary focus now is to create awareness that this service is available in the southern region of Apache County,” said Morris.
The trips are offered Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ride requests must be made at least 24 hours prior to travel and during office hours (as shown above).
To reserve a ride, call ChangePoint at 928-537-5315 X 7724 and mention that you are calling in connection with the NACOG AAA transportation program. Please leave a message if your call is not answered.
Be ready to set a time for your travel to your desired destination and a time for your return journey.
Note that this is not a taxi service. You may be sharing rides with other members of your community as this is a public transportation service.
If you have any questions about your eligibility for the program, contact ChangePoint for more information.
- Please note that there is a monthly budget available for this program. Therefore, not all transport requests are guaranteed. You will be informed of this when you call up ChangePoint.