ASLCS medical bus now offering service to Revelstoke and Trail

While grant funds have allowed Arrow and Slocan Lakes Community Services (ASLCS) to expand its medical bus service, the uptake has unfortunately been minimal, Tim Payne told the Valley Voice.

“We are not sure if it is just because people don’t know about it or they are just not as interested anymore,” said Payne, executive director of ASLCS.

ASLCS’s 18-seat, wheelchair-accessible medical bus offers twice monthly service to Vernon and Kelowna, focused on medical appointments for seniors, with any extra seats to be filled by anyone. With a grant from the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior, it was able to expand service to once a week, but people seemed to still only be taking this route every second week.

So instead, ASLCS kept the Vernon and Kelowna route at twice monthly and brought back routes to Revelstoke and Trail, twice monthly. These routes all run on Wednesdays.

“We knew that Revelstoke used to be a popular route when we tried to include it a few years ago,” said Payne.

People were interested in appointments in Revelstoke, he said, and others liked to go shopping and use the recreation centre.

“We were also told by many people that a large number of folks from Nakusp and the surrounding area needed to attend visits with their medical specialists in Trail,” said Payne. “Again, the response was quite minimal.”

Hopefully as more people find out about the services, the uptake will increase, said Payne. But in the meantime, there are other avenues the ASLCS medical bus can take.

“Recently, we have just committed to some local trips with some social groups, seniors groups, and youth-run organizations,” he said. “We also remain optimistic that once people are familiar with what we have to offer, we can engage in several regular grocery runs and shuttles, and we are always open to adjusting the service to the need.”

ASLCS also offers a free bus every Thursday for local shopping trips in Nakusp. Local routes start at 9 am until mid-afternoon.

The current bus fare for the Wednesday medical bus is $20 return trip to Revelstoke, Castlegar, and Vernon, and $25 return to Kelowna and Trail. Exact change is required.

Rachael Lesosky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice