By Curt VanHyning
Shuttle System Chairman
The ‘RoundTowner, the only affordable transportation on San Juan, announces its 10,000th customers: Mollie Heath and Simeon LaRiviere of Harbor Ridge, Friday Harbor.
Little did Heath and LaRiviere know that their reservation to go shopping at Friday Harbor Market Place was the 10,000th ‘RoundTowner customer since the inception of the shuttle service in 2013. Their take on the ‘RoundTowner: “The ‘RoundTowner makes so much sense on our island. Who can pay almost double to go to the doctor, drugstore, post office, grocery and other important errands that must be taken care of? The ‘RoundTowner is an absolute necessity for many people in Friday Harbor. I don’t know what my husband and I would do without this very important service.”
Small communities have the same need for affordable, customized public transportation as larger urban areas, but with fewer resources, they must use the least expensive provider model. That is what the small, single-focus nonprofit has accomplished with its donated SUV and unpaid volunteer staff. Family members tell staff that their elderly and disabled parents chose to stay home without health or community social access before the ‘RoundTowner. The ‘RoundTowner is now firmly established as the preferred transport option for seniors and the disabled to their most common destinations such as the Mullis Community Center, PeaceIsland Medical Center, Village at the Harbour, Friday Harbor Drug, Market Place and San Juan Healthcare.
With small fare collections and gifts from groups and individuals, staff manage to provide services most days with unpaid drivers. Help to assure that this transportation can continue to meet community needs by donating at www.roundtowner.org. Staff are grateful for grants from United Way of San Juan County covering necessary insurance.