(Chelsea Update would like to thank Bobby Maldonado for the information in this story.)
St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea is re-introducing a free public transportation initiative in Stockbridge and Manchester through the Western-Washtenaw Area Value Express (WAVE) service.
The bus service, which will now launch on Aug. 3, was originally set to begin in April but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the agreement with WAVE, the hospital purchased a 12-person van with a wheel-chair lift, and will provide funding to support weekday shuttle service between Stockbridge, Manchester and Chelsea on scheduled days. The shuttle is a strategic priority for the hospital and is intended to reduce social isolation and improve transportation within communities it serves.
“We know that residents of Stockbridge and Manchester are vulnerable due to a lack of transportation options and that the collective health of the community is negatively impacted as a result,” said Nancy Graebner, president and CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea in a press release.
“As Michigan continues its return to normalcy following the outbreak of COVID-19 infections this past spring, it’s important that everyone keep up with medical appointments and their recommended diagnostic screenings. We hope that this new bus service makes attending these important appointments a little bit easier for local residents,” she said.
As a not-for-profit hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea engages local community members every three years to participate in a Community Heath Needs Assessment. Social influencers of health, particularly social isolation due to lack of transportation, is routinely identified as a top concern.
The shuttle will make four-round trips per day from Stockbridge to Chelsea on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from Manchester to Chelsea on
Tuesdays and Thursdays. It will have two shuttle stops in each community and will be able to pick up disabled individuals who have made reservations within a ¾-mile radius from each stop. The service is available for passengers of all ages.
The shuttle stop locations are:
- Stockbridge Area Emergency Services Authority (SAESA), 1009 S. Clinton Street, Stockbridge
- Veterans Memorial Park, the Gazebo on North Wood Street, Stockbridge
- Emanuel United Church of Christ, 324 W. Main St., Manchester
- Manchester Village Offices, 912 City Road and Hibbard Street, Manchester
The shuttle will travel to Chelsea and drop off passengers at their desired location within the community. The shuttle is not limited to health care appointments. Passengers may take the shuttle for trips to the grocery store, medical appointments, pharmacy visits or for shopping trips.
Passengers may also use additional WAVE bus routes once they are in Chelsea, which travel throughout Chelsea as well as into Dexter and Ann Arbor. Reservations are encouraged to ensure seating due to social distancing requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic period. Travel on other WAVE routes may require a fee.
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, all WAVE buses and vans have been outfitted with Plexiglas cockpits that enclose the driver. All hand-to-hand contact with drivers has been eliminated and fare boxes have been installed. All drivers have been issued face masks, gloves and medical grade face shields.
WAVE is limiting seating on buses to ensure that riders adhere to proper social distancing, and ALL riders are required to wear masks. Drivers will continue to sanitize high touch points inside the buses regularly during the day and a full-time cleaning staff has been hired to clean the buses every night.
For information about the shuttle and for seating reservations, please call WAVE at 734-475-9494.