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Marin County, the expanse of land on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, is famous for, among other things, The Redwoods, the birthplace of mountain biking, and the past or present home to a bevy of entertainers and rock stars, including most of The Grateful Dead. But the idyllic county also provides a window to America’s demographic future: One in five residents in Marin are 65 or older. By 2030, that will be true of all of America.

Marin also is known for its winding and hilly roads that are challenging to navigate, particularly for the elderly. So we want to take note of a new Sausalito senior transportation program, “Call a Ride for Sausalito Seniors” (CARSS), helping older residents get around in a safe, reliable way.

The first “on-demand” service in Marin, seniors can request a free ride the same day without having to schedule days in advance. The senior transportation program is run by a group of “vetted volunteers” who provide rides to banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc., from 10am to 2pm Monday through Friday.

CARSS, funded with a $15,000 grant from Marin Transit, was spearheaded by Sausalito’s Age Friendly Task Force, which is chaired by Tricia Smith. Sausalito was the first city in Marin to join the World Health Organization’s global network of age friendly cities and communities. The city’s other impressive age friendly initiatives can be found here.

CARRS is not alone in understanding the senior transportation needs of Marin, whose population is aging one-and-a-half times as fast as the rest of California. As noted in the reader comments to the article, Whistlestop, an organization that supports the well-being, independence and quality of life for the county’s older residents, recently launched CarePool, a volunteer driver program offering seniors free rides to medical appointments and the grocery store.

“Senior transportation is a growing need in Marin,” said Jon Gaffney, senior mobility analyst for Marin County Transit told the Marin Independent Journal’s Mark Prado. “We are trying to get out in front of it by providing more choices to meet individual needs.”

Mobility is one of the biggest issues affecting the elderly population. The ability for seniors to remain active and leave their homes is crucial to their health, which is why we applaud Marin’s initiative and innovation in providing free, reliable access to transportation.

CareLinx "hugging heart" logoCareLinx CEO Sherwin Sheik

Sherwin photo in CNBC April 2015

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