Lorraine Leen, 76, relies on Via Paratransit rides to take her from Cherry Creek to Aurora for frequent doctor appointments. Discovering the service in Denver gave her power over her life again. “I don’t need to rely on my family now,” she said, “but I do need to schedule Via rides a week in advance.”
Since there is so much need for the service, Lorraine’s likely to be turned away if she wishes to do something spontaneous. Despite providing 1,000 rides a week around Denver to older adults and people with disabilities, Via turns away at least 200 due to lack of capacity.
Why Metro Denver?
Via Mobility Services, headquartered in Boulder, started renting a Denver facility to operate Access-a-Ride buses for RTD two decades ago. This contract generates revenue for Via’s mission to promote independence and self-sufficiency for people with limited mobility. The Denver facility provides a local place to service and park the Access-a-Ride vehicles. It also supports the dispatchers, maintenance workers, operations specialists, and other employees our services require.
But things have changed. A lot. For example:
- Seniors’ Resource Center (SRC) ended their paratransit services in 2020 for older adults in the Denver area. Via quickly jumped in to fill the loss of service for hundreds of older adults.
- The acquisition of SRC paratransit expanded our service area by 900 square miles in Denver and nearby counties. It also brought us 45 new vehicles to service.
- In 2021 the number of clients Via served doubled over the previous year. And more than 300 new clients per month are requesting paratransit rides, primarily in the Denver area.
The pressure on the small Denver facility and staff is mounting.
Freedom to Move Campaign
Thousands of people rely on Via Mobility Services for freedom and independence. From grocery shopping to social activities, Via is a lifeline for older adults and people with disabilities. We are committed to supporting the burgeoning need of today while planning ahead for growing numbers of baby boomers needing our services.
That’s why we’re excited to share a special opportunity with you. Thanks to the generosity of the Paige Family Foundation, we will begin fundraising for a new Denver facility with the capacity needed to provide our high-touch, customer-focused services for more Coloradans.
From June 15 through July 15, 2022, the Paige Family Foundation will double the value of each donation we receive, dollar for dollar, until we reach our $50,000 goal. Contributions will carry forward as we leverage this campaign for additional support from local agencies.
Visit ViaColorado.org/Freedom-to-Move-Denver to donate safely online. You can also deposit a check in a donation box on a vehicle, or mail us at 2855 63rd Street Boulder, CO 80301.
Mark Patterson, who oversees Via Paratransit services in Denver, described some of the specific issues hampering efficiency in the Denver facility. “The Denver location services 170 vehicles with only one vehicle entrance,” he said. “This prevents the maintenance crew from servicing more than three vehicles at a time.” He explained that bottlenecks in and out of the entrance are a regular occurrence. An efficient facility would have at least six bays, each with lifts to raise vehicles.
Other difficulties include a dirt parking lot that is filled to capacity, making it difficult to maneuver vehicles. The administrative area is also limited in size and unable to provide adequate space for the staff to do their jobs.
We Need You
Donations from the community will allow us to purchase a facility that will accommodate the growing need for mobility transportation services in the Denver area. Via works closely with many organizations on our common goal of helping older adults and people with disabilities live independently. Your support makes you a valued partner in this effort!
Support our growth in metro Denver. Join the Freedom to Move Campaign.