Age Friendly South Portland, in partnership with ITNPortland, has announced the launch of SoPo Age Friendly Rides, a pilot program designed to provide transportation to medical appointments for eligible South Portland residents. This program will primarily serve low-income seniors aged 65 and older, as well as adults with visual impairments, by addressing a critical need for accessible transportation.

Age Friendly South Portland, in partnership with ITNPortland, has announced the launch of SoPo Age Friendly Rides, a pilot program designed to provide transportation to medical appointments for eligible South Portland residents. Courtesy image

“Age Friendly South Portland has provided rides to medical appointments utilizing taxis for a number of years,” said Maxine Beecher, chair of Age Friendly South Portland. “Recently, this has become more difficult because of the limited options available. So we did some research and determined that ITNPortland was the best way to go to provide reliable medical rides for South Portland seniors,”

According to the Age Friendly South Portland ad-hoc committee, the group ensures that the older adult residents will have access to services which enables them to live safely and with dignity as they age. ITNPortland provides transportation to seniors and people with visual impairments in the greater Portland area.

SoPo Age Friendly Rides will offer transportation services to and from health appointments, including doctor and dentist visits, eye appointments, and therapy sessions. The pilot program will commence with an initial intake of 20 participants, administered by the city’s social services office.

“This pilot program will serve 20 residents,” said Shara Dee, media contact for Age Friendly South Portland. When asked about the program’s inception, Age Friendly South Portland member Kathryn Adams said, “Getting to appointments is a real challenge for many. We’re excited to launch this new program and make it easier for these residents, and our community as a whole, to be well. Age Friendly South Portland is very interested in gauging the need in our community for independent door to door transportation opportunities; primarily for medical and health appointments as well as other community destinations that south Portland seniors want to pursue.”

Mike Luce, a Portland resident and volunteer driver for SoPo Age Friendly Rides, assists Ruth Putney at an appointment. Courtesy photo

ITNPortland, an organization with a long history of providing transportation services to older adults in the greater Portland area since 1995, is joining forces with Age Friendly South Portland. ITNPortland’s Executive Director, Morgan Jameson, said, “Our partnership with Age Friendly South Portland is a great model of how ITNPortland teams with local towns and cities to foster mobility, activity, and health among its senior and visually impaired community members. This collaboration allows us to extend our outreach and make a positive impact on those we serve.”


The success of SoPo Age Friendly Rides heavily relies on volunteer drivers. “Our volunteers get as much out of the experience as the riders,” Jameson said. “Being a volunteer driver is a unique opportunity to create a positive impact and even lasting friendships.”

Kaitlyn Morse, community engagement manager at ITNPortland, said, “Volunteer drivers are key to the success of ITNPortland services. Drivers undergo training geared to the unique needs of passengers, helping to ensure a safe, comfortable, and accommodating travel experience. Volunteer transportation is different. Our volunteers want to drive and enjoy the experience. Our rides are more reliable than certain other transportation organizations and there’s a level of emotional support that riders experience because drivers want to be there.”

To avail of SoPo Age Friendly Rides services, eligible participants should contact the South Portland Social Services General Assistance office at 207-767-7617. To qualify, applicants must be visually impaired, or age 65 or older, and meet income eligibility criteria. Priority is given to those who do not drive and those without access to a vehicle. Applications will be accepted until the 20 spots are filled, although it is expected that demand will surpass the available spaces for this pilot program.

Dee emphasized that the creation of the program was made possible thanks in large part to Age Friendly South Portland, the committee dedicated to serving the needs of the city’s older adult residents. “SoPo Age Friendly Rides is one example of how South Portland’s volunteer boards and committees do very meaningful things for our community,” Dee said. “There are currently open seats on several City boards and committees.”

Those interested in becoming volunteer drivers can contact Kaitlyn Morse at or 207-588-0430.

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