By Abby Walton
In 1978, Margot Corson would travel out of state each weekend to help her aging parents run errands. Seeing a need for her own parents and people in Boone County, Corson started a non-profit called Boone County Senior Services Inc. In 2000, Corson was killed in a car accident, however during those 22 years, she was able to create an organization that continues to grow.
“From the beginning, Margot’s main goal was to provide transportation to those who need it,” said Cindy Elliott, transportation director for BCSSI.
So for Boone County residents, 60 and older, transportation services are available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
“Over the years, we’ve gone from two cars and a few drivers to 18 vehicles and 22 drivers,” Elliott said.
To use these services, a person needs to make an appointment.
“Right now, we suggest people reserve a spot at least two weeks ahead of time. Of course, if there’s an immediate need or an emergency, we can try to make other arrangements,” Elliott said.
Anyone with a medical need will take priority, and Elliott said all drivers are trained to assist older or disabled adults. While not every vehicle is handicapped-equipped, Elliott said several vans are wheel chair accessible. Initially, BCSSI only provided transportation to the area’s older adults. However, Elliott said it became apparent there was a need to provide transit services to people who might not have any form of transportation.
“We realized we needed to open up our services to the entire community,” Elliot said.
Out of that idea came the Boone Area Transit System. It runs the same days and hours as the senior services van and also requires a reservation. Any Boone County resident is able to ride for a fee to anywhere in their service area. The fees for people older than 60 are just a donation. Those on Medicaid pay $1 per one way trip to medical appointments only. For everyone else, BATS charges $3 per stop in the rider’s town or city or $5 per stop outside their town or city.
“If there’s a special situation, all a person needs to do is call us and we can connect with other transportation outlets in other communities to get that person where they need to be,” Elliott said.
After several decades, Corson’s dream just continues to expand. Elliott said they’ve opened a satellite office in Zionsville. Besides transportation, this not-for-profit offers many other personal and caregiver services. To make a transportation reservation, call 765-482-5220 or 873-8939. More information can be found at www.booneseniors.org.