Free transportation galore

I was surprised to learn that lots of well-connected Rappahannock residents never heard of the FAMS Call Center‚ aka the Foothills Area Mobility Service.

For example, Jan Makela, who knows (almost) everyone, asked how a home-bound citizen could get to his or her medical appointments.

Here’s the answer. Write it down.

If you need a ride anywhere, for any reason, call 540-829-5300 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Wendy Oien or Mary Honeycutt will answer and ask where you want to go.

They accept lots of requests. Medical appointment? Sure. But also to go shopping, pick up a prescription, meet friends, or just get out of the house. These are all legitimate reasons. A ride to Dulles? Maybe not, but you could ask.

FAMS will refer your request to one of five local volunteer driving programs:

Cancer? That goes to the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program. Tony Cunningham is the local coordinator.

Medical? If you are 60 or older, FAMS will send your request to Darcy Canton at the Senior Center. Darcy will find a RappMedRides driver. If you are younger than 60, Larry Stillwell at VolTran (Volunteer Transportation) will try to help.

Shopping? If you are 60 and over and want to go on the first or third Friday, Darcy will ask a RappRides driver to take you to Warrenton, Culpeper, or Front Royal. Otherwise, FAMS will send you to Larry at Voltran.

Other? If you belong to Rapp at Home, Lindsay Sonnett will try to find a driver who will take you wherever you want to go. Otherwise, Larry at Voltran gets your request.

It’s free. Write down the number: 540-829-5300.

All these groups use volunteer drivers, so allow time for them to locate an available driver. The more notice you can provide, the better.

Transportation options in urban centers are plentiful. Not so in rural settings like Rappahannock. Transportation here is made possible almost entirely by volunteers. We need more! Every ride makes a difference. To learn how you can make a difference, contact the FAMS Call Center at 540-829-5300.

FAMS is facilitated by the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission. Jenny Biche, the RRRC mobility manager, thinks the FAMS Call Center is the only rural transportation call center in the entire country.

Hal Hunter

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