If you’re used to seeing our bright purple Buz-A-Bus around town, you may have noticed that it’s stopping a bit more often these days at Episcopal Place (EP), a subsidized senior housing facility on Birmingham’s southside. A new partnership between CJFS and EP is helping both organizations recover from pandemic-related financial stresses, while expanding transportation options for EP residents.
For EP residents like Nancy Rue, the Buz-A-Bus has taken her one step closer to “normal” after receiving her second Covid-19 vaccination. “I want to be as independent as possible and do things for myself,” she said. “I do order groceries sometimes, but it’s nice just to be able to get out and look over things for yourself and make your choices in person,” she said. Without the Buz-A-Bus, however, that still might not be possible for her. An indirect consequence of the pandemic was the discontinuation of EP’s van service.
“Our annual fundraiser, the Gumbo Gala, is a major funding source for our transportation program. We had to cancel the gala two years in a row because of the pandemic,” said Executive Director Tim Blanton. “Now, our partnership with CJFS is allowing us to continue providing transportation, and it’s even giving our residents more options in terms of when they can ride and where they can go.”
The new agreement with EP is beneficial for both organizations. “At CJFS, our ridership has been significantly limited during the pandemic, threatening the long-term viability of the program.,” said Executive Director Lauren Schwartz. “The partnership with Episcopal Place has instantly expanded our ridership, enabling us to quickly move back toward sustainability. It is a win-win, allowing both partner organizations to achieve our shared mission of helping older and disabled adults continue living independently in the community.”
The Buz-A-Bus provides affordable, wheelchair-accessible transportation for people who are 60+ or disabled. For Nancy, who is 73, a bonus of riding the Buz-A-Bus is the care provided by Driver Tangi Parker. “I had a stroke in 2014, and I use an electric scooter to get around,” she said. “Tangi is so attentive when I am using the wheelchair lift and so careful to make sure that I transfer safely from the scooter to the seat and get buckled up. You can tell she is not just doing a job; she really cares about everyone who rides the bus.”
If you would like more information about the Buz-A-Bus, call 205-870-1010 or CLICK HERE.