ITNNorth Jersey is a four-year-old program that relies on volunteers to drive older adults and those with visual impairments to the places they need – or want – to go. Unlike other services for older adults, ITN doesn’t restrict destinations to more urgent needs such as health
appointments and grocery stores. Instead, older adults can arrange for a ride to and from a wide variety of destinations – a hair salon, a movie theater, a friend’s house or their house of worship. Volunteers pick members up at their door and escort them into the door of the place they’re going, making the service a good option for those too unsteady to take a taxi or public transportation.
Since it was founded, ITN NorthJersey’s 116 volunteer drivers have provided more than 25,000 individual rides. But Teaneck residents can’t yet schedule an ITN ride.
“We really can’t start service in a new community until we have enough volunteers to support the requests for rides we would get from its residents,” said ITN Community Development Director Mary Lyons-Kim.
Jamie Elkin, a member of Age-Friendly Teaneck’s health and social engagement task force, is one of only two ITN drivers from Teaneck. “I’ve driven some of the nicest people,” said Elkin, who said she enjoys conversing with the older adults and knowing she is helping people who would otherwise be isolated at home.
Volunteering for ITN is manageable, Elkin said, because there is no set schedule. Instead, ITN keeps a database of ride requests and volunteers can check it to see if they can accommodate someone.
“There’s no minimum time requirement for our volunteers,” Lyons Kim said. “We have volunteers who drive six times a day and others who only have time for one ride a month.”
To volunteer, you can contact ITNNorthJersey by calling 201-398-6885 or logging onto www.ITNNorthJersey.org
Below are some new transportation options that have emerged in Bergen County in recent years:
Ryde-For-Life helps those without a smart phone use Lyft or Uber
E-Z Ride, a shuttle and vanpool provider, has a new program that allows older adults to book Lyft and Uber rides by making a cell phone call instead of having to use a smart phone app. There is a $2.50 administrative fee added to the regular fee, but discounts are available to some eligible older adults. To sign up, call (866)208-1307, and then choose Option 4, or log onto ezride.org/transportation/senior-transportation/
New Jersey TIP @ Rutgers helps to demystify public transportation
For older adults unfamiliar with bus and train routes, the New Jersey Travel Independence Program has produced a guide of options in Bergen County and also offers one-on-travel instruction. For more information, call 848-932-2831 or log onto njtip.rutgers.edu
Who We Are
Age-Friendly Teaneck formed in 2016 with this mission in mind: A great place to grow up should be a great place to grow old.