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Dial-A-Ride keeps residents mobile
Rates will rise in September
1Dialaride
Melanie Borum is a longtime employee with the Dial-A-Ride program, which carries residents around town. The fare is set to rise later this summer. - photo by Autumn McBride

At a glance

• Dial-A-Ride operates Monday through Friday.

• Vans run 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Phones for scheduling appointments are open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Appointments are accepted up to 30 days in advance, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

• In order to use Dial-A-Ride, you must be a Forsyth resident at least 18 years old or accompanied by an adult.

 

Fares

• One-way trip — $1.50 per person

• Round trip — $2.50 per person (pay driver $1.25 each way)

• Additional stops — $1.25 per person (if time permits)

• For more information or to schedule a ride, call (770) 781-2195

 

Source: Forsyth County government

Forsyth County residents don’t need a car to get where they’re going — just a phone call and some change.

The county’s Dial-A-Ride program brings a van to folks who need transportation for medical appointments, shopping, employment, education and more, as long as it’s within the county.

Though the service has been operating for more than 20 years in the county, many residents may not be aware of it.

The program made news last week when the county commission raised its rates for the first time in 10 years, bringing the fare up to a $2 flat fee each way.

The new rates, which take effect Sept. 1, will still be lower than or on par with those in neighboring counties, said Avery Gravitt, the county’s fleet services director.

In the meantime, residents who schedule an appointment can use the service for $1.50 for a one-way trip and $2.50 for a round trip.

Gravitt acknowledged public perception is that the program serves only seniors.

"They use it very prominently, but it is for everyone," Gravitt said. "It’s a very busy service in quite a high demand."

Dial-A-Ride vans make an average of 70 to 75 trips per day, he said, and a little less than half of their trips are for senior citizens.

Riders often don’t have vehicles or choose not to drive for various reasons, Gravitt said.

Jim Yarborough, a senior services specialist for Forsyth County, said the Dial-a-Ride program has been "very beneficial" to some of the county’s older population.

"A lot of these people because of their age or abilities no longer have their driver’s license," Yarborough said. "They no longer have access to the freedom of coming and going."

Employee Melanie Borum has been working with Dial-a-Ride for 15 years, driving for nine years and working the phones for the past six.

Borum said the interaction with the riders is what she most enjoys about her job.

"I love to help people, put a smile on their face and make their day," she said.

"A lot of times, we may be the only ones our riders see all week long, especially if they’re unable to get out on their own much."

The program is funded about half from state and federal money and half from the county level.

The fares offset those costs.

 

Staff photographer Autumn McBride contributed to this report.