Mobility for Life 3

Nonprofit Via Mobility Services offers transportation to those who need it most.

This situation isn’t rare. Perhaps you’re recovering from surgery, and the doctor says you can’t drive yourself to your appointment. Maybe your mother had a fall and needed help getting her prescriptions, but you work when the pharmacy is open. If you or someone you know is simply unable to drive, Via Mobility Services offers a level of independence we all deserve.

With Via meaning “by way of,” this nonprofit’s goal is to provide mobility for life. They aim to promote self-sufficiency for those with limited mobility by administering customer-focused transportation opportunities. Just last year in 2016, Via was able to serve in the neighborhood of 3,000 members in 19 of our communities, spanning five Colorado counties. They operate on donations and a social enterprise business model, meaning the profits from Boulder’s Hop shuttle, Access-a-Ride and Call-n-Ride help keep Via running.

“Via needs awareness of the services, in the broader sense, that we offer,” says Frank Bruno, Via CEO. “We need local companies and local governments to hear the message of the service we offer, and how that enriches their business, their communities and most importantly, the individuals we serve who might otherwise become fairly isolated in life.”

The heart of the operation, Via Paratransit, provides driver assisted, door-to-door transportation. This is an on-demand, call-in shared ride service from and to any destination within Via’s service area. Trip requests can even be made online at any time. Fares range between two and six dollars, depending on whether the trip spans between communities or stays within. Those with incomes that qualify may even have reduced rates.

Via also provides Travel Training, where they will help teach individuals how to safely and independently use public transit. Additionally, they provide Mobility Options, supplying information and referrals to help quickly access transportation information and services in English or Spanish.

“What I want to do is to elevate Via Mobility Services and the team here,” says Bruno. “There truly are many elements to the soul of Via, the people we serve, the joy in helping someone feel connected, or reconnected to the community has an energy that is palpable each day around here.”

“When I have the opportunity to speak with our clients or the families of those we serve, I thank them—they could choose to address their needs in several ways, and yet, they have placed the life of a loved one in our care.”

Kati P., age 89

Kati has lived in Boulder for 24 years. As a nurse and mother, she frequently drove her own car or took the bus around town. When she was 68, her life suddenly changed in an instant. After suffering a pulmonary embolism, she could no longer drive or even walk to the nearest bus stop.

“I felt my life was over,” says Kati. “I couldn’t bear asking for help, but I had no choice.”

It was 20 years ago that Kati began using Via’s services.

“I had such a strong resistance to being helped, and when I got on that Via bus, I would sit in the back feeling sorry for myself,” says Kati.

It wasn’t long before Kati discovered a kinship with her fellow riders. She says she found a little community within the Via bus she wanted to explore.

“I needed help from Via and I got it, but I’ve still felt independent,” says Kati “Every single person at Via cares about my well-being. I feel safe. I feel cared for. And I couldn’t live the life I live without Via.”

Amanda Q., age 30 and Scott L., age 34

Friends since meeting on the Longmont Special Olympics basketball team, Amanda and Scott are also co-workers and neighbors as well as teammates. Despite intellectual challenges, with Via’s help, they are both able to participate in their favorite activities, staying active and pursuing interests and hobbies. In addition to basketball, Amanda enjoys volleyball, softball and track and field, while Scott likes bowling, gymnastics and swimming.

Thanks to Via, they are both able to attend a day program that offers classes, community outings and supported employment opportunities. Both Amanda and Scott work at Oscar Blues Brewery in Longmont a couple of days each week.

Scott’s mother and Amanda’s father are both thankful for the Paratransit services available to their children each week. Via puts them at ease knowing they can place the safety and security of their children with the Via community.

Steve D., age 55

Steve lost his sight suddenly at the age of 16 with a rare, inexplicable build-up of spinal fluid in his brain. Now in his 50s, after many years of struggling to find consistent employment, Steve works in Longmont’s family-owned Welzig Heating & Air. Despite the challenges he faces with his vision impairment, he has found a full-time job that has been willing to focus on his strengths for the last seven years.

Steve relies on Via to get to and from work every day, and Via will not let him down.

“I am contributing because of Via,” says Steve. “I am enjoying my community. I am living a full life.”