Vancity Credit Union

Vancity Credit Union

October 15, 2014 13:30 ET

First of Its Kind Transportation Co-Op Launched in Langley

Langley Seniors' Agencies Pool Resources to Make Bus Trips More Cost Effective

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Oct. 15, 2014) - The Bus Co-op, Canada's first transportation co-operative focused on serving the elderly, was launched today by three Langley seniors' agencies with the support of Vancity.

The Bus Co-op will serve seniors and other specialized groups who have a need for transportation in the community. The co-op currently has two buses that will make bus trips more cost effective for seniors and groups who have specific transportation needs such as disabilities' associations, churches and schools.

Langley has a combination of low average income, low transit access and high concentration of older adults that makes it particularly vulnerable to seniors' transportation challenges, according to the United Way of the Lower Mainland Seniors Vulnerability Report.

Some seniors' agencies have been attempting to fill the gap by offering transportation services, mostly recreational trips, but many struggle with the high costs of purchasing, operating and maintaining their own buses-some of which end up being used as little as four hours a week.

The Bus Co-op, founded by Langley Seniors Resource Society, Langley Care Society and Magnolia Gardens, owns buses of different sizes and configurations and rents them to member agencies by the hour. Agencies buy a membership share and in return get access to buses that are maintained, insured and fueled by the co-operative.

The new co-operative takes the bus ownership burden off of seniors' agencies and enables a more efficient use of resources, while increasing access to transportation and supporting seniors to be active and participate in social activities. For Langley Care Society, joining the co-op was an alternative to replacing its aging bus. For the other two members, the co-op will enable future expansion of their transportation services.

The Bus Co-op is currently looking for seniors' agencies in the Langley area to join the transportation network and hopes to expand into White Rock and Surrey in the next few years.

In addition to providing over $156,000 in grants and financing, Vancity has supported the development of the new co-op with leadership, advice and technical support.

Quotes:

Linda Morris, senior vice president, Vancity

"This is a creative approach to a growing problem. We think this model has great potential to be replicated in other communities that are trying to support an aging population in the face of dwindling resources."

Janice McTaggart, director of outreach and volunteer services, LSRS

"We know first-hand that owning and maintaining a bus can be a huge burden for seniors agencies, so why not share our resources? The co-operative model really appealed to us because it is democratic, values-driven and very connected to the community."

About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 501,000 member-owners and their communities through 57 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. As Canada's largest community credit union, Vancity uses its $17.5 billion in assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

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