With all due respect, I found the off-hand remarks concerning Western Maine Transportation Services riders and funding expressed by County Commissioner Terry Brann in your recent Franklin County funding article shortsighted and uninformed (“Franklin County cuts nonprofit funding 75% in 5 years, sparking debate,” June 3).

“A couple of us” decided that program shouldn’t be funded, Brann states, “as only a few use it and I bet they could find friends or family members to take them where they need to go.” Yet WMTS cites 4,595 rides in 2018.

Every rider has unique reasons. The buses are wheelchair accessible; most passenger vehicles are not. Some disabilities are invisible to the casual observer. Not everyone wants to divulge them. Not everyone has a large support system, or one with viable drivers.

A loss of independence is difficult at any age. I lost mine, for medical reasons, in mid-career, suddenly constantly asking favors, told I won’t drive again. The bus allows me to save my favors for out-of-town medical trips and off-hours. My husband and friends work and are not always available. Others have driving issues, or live some distance away.

We should support busing in Franklin County as the population ages and driving safety becomes a barrier to aging in place. The bus gives people without a vehicle a boost to employment opportunities. This makes sense fiscally, and there is no affordable alternative. This service is available to the general public as well as the disabled. Any elder can safely get their groceries independently, including those who are proud to be independent of “charity.”

 

Nancy Walters

Wilton


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