'Y' offers low-cost transit

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 20:00
The Armed Services YMCA’s “Y on Wheels” program offers a low-cost transportation option to soldiers and airmen on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The Armed Services YMCA offers a low-cost transportation service, Y on Wheels, to airmen and soldiers and family members of deployed service members around base.

ASYMCA has been offering this service to the military for five years, providing over 40,000 rides to members each year. Members are provided rides to and from work, school, appointments, the hospital and shopping, as well as many other locations on base. The ASYMCA will also provide transportation to specific People Mover locations off base. These bus stops are located right outside Boniface, Muldoon and Government Hill gates.

“We provide this program because the need for dependents to get around while spouses are deployed and for those personnel who recently changed station who aren’t ready to drive in this weather,” said Cliff Penn, ASYMCA program director.

JBER is a big base and the winters are frigid; who wants to walk around when they can get a ride? Y on Wheels is a door-to-door transportation service that will pick up anyone on base who is 18 or older. Anyone who is younger may use the service if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. An exception to this is if a service member or spouse is under 18.

As some may have noticed, ASYMCA transportation used to be a free service, but now has changed to a “low-cost” service. ASYMCA does not receive any government funding and is a non-profit organization where sponsors and donations provide the funding. Cost of the service is only $1 per person over 6 years of age and donations are accepted.

ASYMCA has only one vehicle for the service and peak hours are 11 a.m. - 1 p. m. and 3-7 p.m. This service starts at 7 a.m. and the last call is taken at 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Penn highly encourages persons wanting to use the service to call in advance.

“If customers don’t give us enough notice, we can’t guarantee their on-time arrival to their destination. We get caught up sometimes and have to pick up someone on the way,” Penn said. “We are on a first-come, first-served basis and we remind people that we can’t make scheduled stops.”

Y on Wheels was established in May 2005 and the program is constantly being reviewed. The organization encourages people to give feedback through our website, www.AKASYMCA.org or the Interactive Customer Evaluation system online.

“It’s a great feeling getting to provide this service to military members and their families, deployed or not, we’re here to serve the JBER community,” Penn said.

To schedule a ride or ask questions call 907-384-3733.

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