City Looking For A Few Good Drivers

LA MESA – One of the great parts of living in the Jewel of the Hills, everyone agrees, is the rural, small-town feel. Homes are tucked away in quiet glens and secluded hillsides. But without a car, life can quickly become unmanageable.

That’s where city officials are hoping another small town tradition – neighbors helping neighbors – will step in. La Mesa’s Rides4Neighbors program is seeking volunteer drivers who can be matched up with La Mesa neighbors who can no longer drive. Already, the program has supplied 5,000 rides over the last year, helping the elderly get to medical appointments and shopping runs.

The program also serves Santee, El Cajon, Lakeside, Lemon Grove and Spring Valley and runs largely on $300,000 in grant money supplied through the San Diego Association of Governments, which covers special activities, events including the Transportation & Mobility Expo, driver training and scheduling and reimburses drivers for their mileage.

Yvonne Garrett, the assistant city manager, said the demand for the rides has been increasing and the city is hoping to attract new volunteers to help meet the demand.

“It’s what makes living in this community so great,’’ Councilman Dave Allan said. “People helping people.’’
Garrett said the rides are provided by screened and trained volunteers who use their own vehicles to assist car-less neighbors in need of a lift.

The La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center accepts applications, explains ridership rules, a suggested donation system and matches ride request with volunteer drivers.

In addition to mileage, the volunteer drivers receive secondary liability insurance. Volunteers establish their own availability and choose which rides they want to provide. The web-based scheduling system allows each volunteer to determine their own schedule. There are no minimum ride requirements.

More information is available from Rides4Neighbors at 619-667-1321.

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Tags: City of La Mesa, Dave Allan, Government, Rides4Neighbors, Yvonne Garrett

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