PVTA awarded state grant for new vans

Springfield, Mass. (WWLP)- The state is paying for nearly two dozen vans for seniors and people with disabilities.

This grant money will help 333,000 seniors.

The state granted the PVTA nearly $1.1 million to replace their five-year-old vans. The vans are usually replaced after four years. The upgrade ensures seniors are able to access the services they need.

The new vans allow senior citizens to get out of the house on their own. That’s key to their mental, social, and physical health.

“They can’t drive anymore,” said Barbara Dargan of Springfield. “And when you’re used to being active your whole life, and then you’re just sitting in your house all day, it can lead to depression and other things.”

Carolyn Brennan is the Executive Director of the East Longmeadow Council on Aging. Her center is getting one of the vans.

“It’s one of the major barriers to health care is not having transportation,” Brennan said. “Loneliness and isolation is a huge risk factor for multiple health issues.”

Not only are seniors able to travel on their own, but through the East Longmeadow Senior Center, they are able to schedule appointments for grocery shopping, doctors appointments, and even hair appointments.

The PVTA also received a $105,000 grant to install landing pads at bus stations so people with physical disabilities can easily get on and off buses.