L&A seniors fight cancellation of SOS Seniors Town Bus Service

Kingstonist file photo.

Some Napanee seniors are raising objections to the cancellation of a valued transportation service.

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jul. 9, 2024, the Council of the Town of Greater Napanee will receive a deputation describing the impact of the loss of the Lennox and Addington Seniors Outreach Services (SOS) Seniors Town Bus Service, and asking the Town to consider whether another solution can be reached. 

The Town of Greater Napanee received a petition on June 25, 2024 regarding the cancellation of the SOS bus. Town staff note in the notice of deputation that the petition included 152 signatures: 77 with a Greater Napanee address, 16 with a regional address from outside Greater Napanee, and 59 with no address provided. 

The deputation request was made by Caroline Detlor “on behalf of various local seniors,” and the petition is addressed to  the “Town of Greater Napanee and VON-Seniors Outreach Napanee.” (It should be noted for clarity that VON (Victorian Order of Nurses) is not the organization responsible for the bus service that has been cancelled; Seniors Outreach Services is.)

The deputation request reads, “We the undersigned would like to continue the Seniors town bus that was cancelled as of the end of June 2024 –- last day bus will be running is Friday, June 28, 2024.” 

“The seniors town bus has been important to many seniors,” the missive continues, “providing us with an opportunity to get out and socialize, buy groceries and other needs. As well… we enjoyed having lunch at Wendy’s and seeing our friends. Getting out and about is very important to our quality of life.”

“We would like you to please reconsider your decision to cancel this much-needed service,” the deputation request says, going on to make a suggestion: “Even if the bus could run once per week or two times per month. We’d like to see the bus running some form of way. Thank you for any consideration given to this matter.”

Along with the notice of deputation and petition was a letter from the board of directors of Lennox and Addington Seniors Outreach Services, dated June 13, 2024. The letter is addressed “to Whom it may Concern,” and it is not noted how the letter was delivered, or to whom, before it was delivered to the Town.

In the letter the board writes, “It is with great regret that Lennox and Addington Seniors Outreach Services informs you of the discontinuation of the Seniors Town Bus Service effective June 30, 2024. The reason for this is financial. We are a small non-profit organization and the annual cost to run this service [is] almost $18,000. It is no longer affordable for us, especially now that there are other options available.”

It also states, “Unfortunately, both our office and Martin’s [Bus Service Ltd.] have been receiving harassing phone calls. This is extremely unhelpful and must stop. We would like to point out that this decision has nothing to do with Martin’s Bus Service and at this time we would like to thank them for our years of partnership in helping seniors in our community.”

The letter then goes on, “Please note the following,” and gives instructions to seniors on how to register with the VON transportation program, as well as providing contacts for Deseronto Transit, Napanee Cab, and Mike’s Taxi. 

An undated website post describes the Seniors Town Bus, which ran on Tuesdays and Fridays, making “two loops through Napanee transporting seniors to scheduled stops. It is a FREE service for anyone living in Greater Napanee, aged 55 years or older.” It featured 37 stops to pick up local seniors around town at various locations and drop them off at various businesses and service locations including banks, Ontario Works, library, eye and medical clinics, grocery stores, salons, drugstores, and more.

Kingstonist has reached out to Lennox and Addington Seniors Outreach Services for comment but did not receive a call back before the publication of this article.  An update will be provided should they respond. This is a developing story with more to come.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!