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Volunteer Spotlight: Drivers wanted for ‘Dial a Ride,’ giving a lift to those who need one

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/25/2021 9:49:45 PM
Modified: 9/25/2021 9:49:46 PM

If you’re looking for a volunteer gig where you can set your own hours, driving people through Tri-Valley Transit might be a good fit.

The nonprofit organization — which runs a bus service for residents in Addison and Orange counties, as well as people who live in the northern part of Windsor County — is recruiting drivers for its “Dial a Ride” program. There is a particular need for people in White River Junction, Quechee and Fairlee, volunteer coordinator Chelsea Larson said.

“They tell us if they want to drive seven days a week or one day a week. They tell us if they want to drive eight hours a day or one hour a day,” Larson said of volunteers. “They drive the boat here.”

Volunteers must pass a background check — including their driving records through the DMV — and have at least five years of driving experience, which puts the minimum age at 21. Larson also interviews all potential volunteers to see if they’re a good fit.

“After that process is done, it’s pretty much good to go,” Larson said, adding that volunteers from New Hampshire are welcome.

People who need rides let Tri-Valley Transit know at least a day in advance. Then, staff match volunteers’ availability with the requests. Most requests are between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 6 a.m. to noon on weekends.

“They tell us what they’re willing to provide to us if that’s one day for a few hours as long as we have a trip that fits within that time, great,” Larson said.

Currently, there are around 21 active volunteers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some volunteers stepped back. Ideally, the organization would like to have 30 to 35 volunteers. Drivers are matched with riders who are geographically closest to them.

“It’s very cost-driven,” Larson said. “We do everything in the most economically feasible way.”

Volunteers are reimbursed at the federal mileage reimbursement rate of 56 cents per mile driven and are paid every two weeks. The money will not be taxed like a paycheck would.

“They’re not an employee,” Larson said. “They’re a volunteer and it’s reimbursement.”

Drivers and riders are required to wear masks, per federal laws about mask usage on public transportation. Tri-Valley Transit provides hand sanitizer, masks and cleaning supplies.

“(The) more volunteers, the more rides we’ll be able to provide,” Larson said.

Editor’s note: For more information or to apply, visit trivalleytransit.org/ways-to-support-tvt/#volunteer or call Larson at 802-728-3773.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.




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