When we have an appointment for our mental health and substance abuse treatment services, how do we get to them?
Did you know every day there are about 15 scheduled drop-offs and pick-ups for one service? More about that later. Let me tell you about the first thing I noticed when I moved to Port Charlotte.
If you moved to Port Charlotte from the big cities, there may be one thing painfully clear to you if do not have a vehicle. Port Charlotte does not have a transit system. No, not one…unlike what I was used to living in Boston, where I could hop on three buses travel 10 miles to the beach for a $buck fifty. Or Just hop on the “T” Orange line to the Red Line and go to Haymarket /Quincy market.
No, you would think you would need wheels, transportation to live here. Yes, without a doubt, having a car or a vehicle does make life easier. However, in my opinion, Charlotte County offers something better than having to wait and wait and wait for a bus just to miss it. Or run as fast as you can to try to catch a bus that’s driving away because you’re running late and buses run on schedule and can’t wait for you. What resources do we have here in Port Charlotte to help consumers get to mental health and substance abuse treatment services appointments on time?
I was talking to Fred McKenna, Transit Operations Supervisor and it turns out Port Charlotte, as I see it, has a chauffeur service, a door-to-door pickup and delivery service. I asked Mr. McKenna if there is a service from Transportation Services Division that assists me in getting to Charlotte Behavioral Health Care appointments?
He kindly sent me this information, along with the photos to use with this blog post. THANK YOU!
The Sunshine Ride program is a door to door transportation service for those unable to provide or purchase their own transportation due to disability, age, living in a rural area or income. Sunshine Ride passengers pay a $1.00 co-payment for each one way trip.
Sunshine Ride serves qualified Transportation Disadvantaged (TD) individuals.CHATO’s NOTES: You have to Apply for this program. Here is info from the site with a link to the application. Depending on available resources, an individual may be eligible for reduced-rate rides if he/she is: Physically or otherwise disabled/60 years of age or older Receiving Medicaid (Download a Medicaid Transportation Application) Qualified as Low Income/Living in a rural area
Sunshine Ride operates Monday – Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with limited services on Saturdays.
The Sunshine Ride’s goal is to help you get where you need to go, such as: health care appointments, jobs, school, shopping, and other life-sustaining activities.
CHATO’S NOTE: The Goal of having an appointment for mental health and substance abuse treatment services is a vital part of recovery processes. We want to see you through this process and understand that sometimes finding a ride is challenging. The Sunshine Ride is one public resource that can help us get to our appointments.
The mission of the Sunshine Ride program is to provide safe and reliable transportation to individuals who cannot do so for themselves due to economic, mental, or physical disability. The Transit Division strives to improve quality of life by building a sense of community through connecting neighborhoods.
For more information please call: (941) 575.4000 or go to our website at: http://www.charlottecountyfl.gov/services/transportation/Pages/Sunshine-Ride.aspx
CHATO’S NOTE: There are some rules, make sure you understand them so there are no mix-ups. SEE: Passenger Rules Booklet pdf
I want to thank once again Mr.Fred McKenna of Transit Operations Supervisor and Human Services Department Transit Division for his time and sharing the photos of the buses. “To Exceed Expectations in the Delivery of Public Services” was the motto in the Email he sent to me, and I believe they are doing their best to prove that true.
Remember the question I asked when we started: Did you know ever day there are about 15 scheduled drop-offs and pick-ups for one service? While Mr.Fred McKenna would never give me the exact data, I was able to confirm that Sunshine Ride schedules about 15 drop-offs and pick-ups to Charlotte Behavioral Health Care DAILY. Sounds like we may have our own bus route and not even know it.Chato Stewart Consumer Peer Ambassador