Most of us in the Tri-Valley have cars or use buses to get to doctor and dentist appointments, shopping and other services. What happens to those who don’t have, or can’t afford, what many consider their easily attainable every day transportation? In Livermore, Jacky Poulson decided to start a community-wide campaign to provide funds for bus tickets for those who found the costs beyond their financial means. In 2016, there were 35 donors. By 2018 this number had increased to 151 donors who raised almost $12,000 – enough to buy 8,400 bus tickets.
Each one-way ticket with no transfer costs $2. A full day pass costs $3.75, which for a family of four would equal $15. Transportation could mean getting to and from a job, a free hot meal at one of the available sources, a place to do laundry, take a hot shower or care for other needs.
“Having transportation enables people to integrate with other members of the community and not be isolated. This year, Wheels bus service has had a significant price increase that caused a big impact on people who are also struggling. The bus ticket drive officially runs from mid-November to mid-January. However, donations are accepted throughout the year,” said Poulson, bus ticket drive coordinator.
Wheels Bus Line will match the first $1,500 in donations this year, Poulson said.
“For me, the bus ticket drive is an opportunity to make an immediate and direct impact in someone’s life,” donor Gina Bonanno said. “The bus drive allows people to access services or a job opportunity they otherwise wouldn’t have without transportation.”
All five Axis Community Health sites are located on bus lines. “Often patients would not be able to get to and from medical appointments without this support. Some weeks we provide tickets to as many as 10 patients,” said Valerie Jonas, Axis’s chief development officer.
Rosemary Young, coordinator of the Interfaith Sharing food pantry said, “The bus ticket has not only helped us get clients to meals and other services, one client has used passes to reduce the cost of getting to dialysis appointments.”
To donate and receive a 501(c)(3) receipt, mail goes to Asbury United Methodist Church 4743 East Ave. Livermore, CA 94550. (Write “Bus Tickets” on the memo line and the envelope and include your email address) or visit http://bit.ly/2019bustickets (There is a convenience charge based on the donation amount added to the credit card so that the Bus Ticket drive receives the full donation amount.)