In this interview, Via Mobility Services CEO Frank W. Bruno shares compelling insights on the vital role of transportation in enhancing independence and quality of life.Drawing from personal experiences and professional expertise, Frank highlights Via’s unique approach to delivering specialized transportation services. Whether aiding those with disabilities, older adults, or temporarily impaired individuals, Via’s commitment to inclusive and reliable mobility solutions stands out in Colorado. Frank also discusses technological innovations and the importance of donor support in advancing Via’s mission. This comprehensive look into Via’s services, challenges, and future goals provides an in-depth understanding of Via’s efforts to make a tangible difference in people’s lives.
Enhancing Independence with Transportation Services
“Frank, can you share a personal story or experience that underscores the importance of mobility and independence in one’s life?”
The importance of Via Mobility Services is this notion of independence and freedom of movement. We all get up every day, and like how we expect to turn on the tap and get clean water, we expect to get up and go about our day and be independent. That isn’t always the case, and for people who live with a lifelong disability or someone that has an injury, or maybe a vision issue, or they’ve had an accident, or have a cognitive problem, Via can provide that Lifeline to that Independence, connecting them with medical care. I don’t mean emergency care; I mean their doctor visits. We remove their stress over getting to the doctor. We take that fear and anxiety away from them and provide that service, and it’s amazing.
I’ve had a bunch of spinal surgeries, and I can see that sense of waking up on a given day and not feeling so independent and needing help. I watched my parents as they aged and reached the point where they needed to give up the car keys. Via wasn’t where they lived, and we couldn’t help them, but we are helping so many local families in that particular situation. It doesn’t have to be about seniors or a person with a disability. As I said, it could be about an injury: you’ve gone skiing, broken your leg, got a huge cast on your right leg, and can’t drive. How are you going to get where you need to go? You may take Uber and Lyft, but Via can be part of your solution.
Delivering Reliable and Inclusive Transportation Solutions for All Individuals
“With numerous transportation providers out there, what makes Via Mobility Services unique?”
Transportation is a big, long word, and it means different things. Are we talking about roads and bridges here in Colorado, you know, infrastructure? Are we talking about transit?
We have paratransit, which Via has provided for nearly 45 years, and the municipal transit we offer. Many people require this door-through-door service. That’s why Via stands out – we give that extra care and coverage that a family might be unable to provide. We help someone put on their coat to get out the door and get to the doctor. We make sure that they’re ready to go. We provide that service, and that’s not typical here in Colorado or around the country, so it’s extraordinary and unique.
The fact that we, as a nonprofit provider, operate earned-income contracts and use that revenue to help bolster our paratransit service makes us very different, very unique, and very complicated, but in a wonderful way.
Innovating the Way We Travel by Embracing Future-Forward Mobility Solutions
“How does Via Mobility Services stand out from other transportation providers, especially in the context of Colorado?”
Local governments are good at the notion of piloting new ideas. Technologies, whether it’s autonomous vehicles that will at some point be a relatively routine type of transport, may not be quite here today. Still, Via will be in the thick of all that.
We are currently with battery electric buses; we are set to receive a few of our paratransit-sized buses in an electric format. That’s paving the way – or blazing a new pathway – and we’ll continue to be open to new technologies.
We must also stand at the forefront of training our mechanics, technicians, and drivers on how to use these new technologies. It is sometimes complicated, and we need to be one of the very best in the business at doing that, and that’s what our goal is.
How Can You Help Address the Enormous, Growing Need for Aging Services?
“How is Via paving the way for a more inclusive and advanced transportation future?”
People are aging; we’re all aging rapidly. That’s just the reality of life, but the fact is that we’re all going to need services like paratransit, mental health services, senior care, and things like that.
Right now, that demand is far outstripping any available resources. As we continue to pilot shuttles and paratransit and micro transit services, we’re showing communities what may be possible and how we may achieve it. Now we have all got to get together and figure out how we will fund all of these needs because that’s still a challenge for all of us, but we’re going to be at the very front of that curve.
Driving Social Impact: The Vital Role of Donors in Advancing Equality
“With the evolving landscape of mobility and transportation, what’s next for Via? How can donors play a role in shaping that future?”
The reality is that no one in the local or state government has the resources right now or can push the button and say, “Here’s more money.” The notion of donors that recognize the importance of this service, whether it’s the paratransit service, workforce shuttles, or sustainability and transition to zero-emission vehicles, can help us move that needle in a big way. You can help us make forward progress and try new technologies to advance new services for people that make a difference and change a life in an instant.
We can also help sponsors promote what they’re trying to do, you know, maybe it’s a business that has a certain type of software that is in our world as well, and if they’re a donor with Via, we can help them promote their message and so a partnership can work in several ways.
Thank You for Advancing Our Work and Making a Positive Difference
“What is the impact of donor support on Via’s future, and why it’s crucial for advancing inclusive and accessible transportation?”
I would love to share with our donors a sense of profound gratitude that I know I feel every day. Our board of directors feels this and our staff here that you are helping us advance this work and helping change lives. You make a difference for that person sitting in their kitchen, waiting for Via to show up, so we can take them to the doctor or the senior center to make their day brighter. Giving them that independence and making their family’s life more manageable is something you’re helping every single day. I want to say thank you. In the words of that old marketing campaign, it’s priceless.
Thank you for making a difference in the lives of Via riders.
Help Via raise $125,000 now through December 5 on Colorado Gives Day. Our big goal will help us provide 15,000 accessible rides for older adults and people with disabilities.
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Via Mobility Services is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.