Central Ohio community organization and municipality partner to offer free transportation to older adults

  • Author: Laurel Schwartz
  • Date: September 26, 2023

Local government officials and human services staff identified at-risk populations in their communities who faced food insecurity and transportation difficulties. So they partnered with their local transit association to extend services to two towns that didn’t previously have access to public transit options.

In the suburbs of Columbus, OH, leaders in Canal Winchester and Lithopolis identified that a significant senior citizen community didn’t have access to transit. Lithopolis Mayor Eric Sandine partnered with Canal Winchester Human Services. Together, they reached out to transit partner Lancaster-Fairfield Public Transport to brainstorm ways to expand mobility services to these residents.

“I am happy to report after our pilot year, the village of Lithopolis deemed this service valuable to its elderly residents thus continuing our partnership in 2023. We know there is a growing need for transportation amongst our senior population. We are fortunate to be able to provide this free service to our residents in the Canal Winchester School District and the village of Lithopolis.” Canal Winchester Human Services Director Aletha Mullins told the Columbus Messenger.

Since Canal Winchester began their senior transportation services in 2012, they’ve grown from employing three drivers to now recruiting for a seventh part-time driver, in an expanded geographic area. For seniors ages 60+ who live in Canal Winchester School District or village of Lithopolis, the program offers free round-trip transportation for medical appointments anywhere in the county. They also offer low-cost non-medical trips and within a 10-mile radius of Canal Winchester’s headquarters.

In addition, the organization runs twice-weekly group grocery store trips, and monthly lunch group outings, and trips to activities such as baseball games, theater performances, park visits, and historical tours.

Much of the funding for these programs comes from the City of Canal Winchester, Fairfield and Franklin County Offices on Aging, Clintonville-Beechwold Resource Center, Madison Township, MORPC, the Village of Lithopolis, and LifeCare Alliance.

In addition to free senior transit services, Lancaster-Fairfield Public Transport offers six fixed-route loops for people of all ages, which will deviate as much as ¾ mile from their published routes. Additionally, they offer on-demand curb to curb transit services for all residents. Reservations made between 14 days to 24 hours in advance are discounted and fees range from $2-$60, serving an area in as far as a 50-mile radius.


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