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Shuttles ease bills, boost travel

Created date

July 14th, 2009
Pick any bus stop across the country, and the early morning hustle and bustle of people chatting and buses humming is enough to make any sleepyhead crawl back under the covers. Not so for the early birds at Seabrook, in Tinton Falls, and their friends at Cedar Crest, in Pompton Plains. On any given day in a typical month, we are driving our residents to a variety of events that really appeal to a majority of the community, says Yvonne Van Pelt, trip coordinator for Seabrook. We explore new locations and savor the familiarity of our regular trips to Atlantic City. Out on the town In any given month, there are more than 30 trips planned from Seabrook to local symphony orchestras, a variety of restaurants, casinos, museums, plays, and the local outlet mall. Being a regular is a good thing according to Seabrook transportation department driver Joe Torrence, who is the familiar face to residents who take the weekly ride down to Atlantic City to the Taj Mahal casino. We have our regulars, and we really look forward to it, Torrence says. We re a happy group win or lose. Van Pelt says that she spends a lot of time researching trips and accepting suggestions and requests from residents who would like to travel to new destinations. There really is something for everyone, she says. Mary Stelle has been at Seabrook for eight years, and she says she never gets tired of the opportunities to travel locally. The trips just get better every year, she says. Diversity is the key; Yvonne always keeps it interesting. Your own chauffeur Residents really don t have to worry about a thing when they travel with us, says Cedar Crest Transportation Supervisor Sil Carioti. Our drivers are frequently screened for drugs and alcohol, and all of them are professionally accredited with CDLs (commercial driver licenses). Cedar Crest has a fleet of 17 vehicles that includes cars, 25-passenger buses, mobility vans, and a tour-line bus that seats 39 passengers. They travel to local supermarkets; superstores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Lowe s; and the local Willowbrook Mall. In addition to the shopping and doctors shuttles, drivers will also stop at the post office and library upon request. It s 24/7 service. We can take them wherever they want to go, Carioti says. It s a family atmosphere, and it s comforting for them to see a familiar face picking them up at the airport when they return from a trip. Our residents love to travel, and when they recognize our uniforms and drivers, it reduces the stress of having to get in the car with a stranger. Residents are never exposed to the weather either. It really is door-to-door service. Carioti says that residents who decide to give up driving and rely on the transportation department for local errands and trips to the doctor (for a nominal fee) are saving about $2,000 a year on auto maintenance, gas, insurance, and the cost of a reserved parking space.