The AARP Livable Communities team put together a list of “Fare-Free and Low-Cost ‘Age-Friendly’ Transportation Options” for their newsletter and included the Salem Skipper as one of the featured best practices.
Alongside other age-friendly communities from across the country, the Salem for All Ages solution – the Salem Skipper – is an on-demand fleet of shuttle vans that provide low-cost, shared rides within the Salem city limits to people of all ages.
Established in 2020 with funding from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation (now Point32Health Foundation), the program was created by the Salem for All Ages task force in partnership with the city’s traffic and parking department. Since its launch, the Skipper has provided more than 35,000 rides, including thousands to residents over age 65.
Riders can request a ride via a smartphone-based app or by calling a reservation number. (Both can be accessed in English or Spanish.) Senior citizens, middle school and high school students, and people with disabilities pay $1 per trip.
The highest levels of ridership are from neighborhoods where 4 out of 10 residents have incomes below the poverty line and a quarter of the households do not own a vehicle. Most rides are related to shopping, health care, and after-school activities. A pilot program is providing Salem Hospital with a customized platform that can book rides for discharged patients who don’t have their own transportation.
The full article is available here.