Woods is the proud recipient of two new mini-vans and a 24’ transit bus, made possible by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Since 2007, PennDOT has contributed a total of $477,240 towards the purchase of wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
These grants cover 80 percent of the total cost of the vehicles, and come from a federal capital assistance program that provides transportation services for people with disabilities and the elderly.
Transportation is an essential aspect of daily life at Woods. All three vehicles are wheelchair accessible and are needed to provide transportation to the 605 residents who live in homes on Woods’ campus and in group homes in the local community.
Woods’ Transportation Services runs an average of 1,500 transports each day throughout its 300 acre main campus in Langhorne. Many of these individuals are physically challenged and some require wheelchairs for mobility. In addition, approximately 100 Direct Care Staff, responsible for providing care and assistance to these individuals, accompany them to educational or vocational programs five days per week.
“Our transportation needs require the use of dozens of vehicles each day,” said Leon Dodson, Assistant Transportation Clerk at Woods. “This includes school buses, mini-vans, and transit buses, which are utilized by all of our programs throughout Woods.”
Woods’ residents also rely on transportation to medical appointments. While Woods provides health care and therapies on site, many individuals have serious chronic medical conditions that require them to travel to specialists in Philadelphia and sometimes as far as Delaware, New Jersey or New York.
During the late afternoon and evening hours, vehicles transport individuals to and from recreational activities, making possible greater community integration. Transportation is also provided, on a case by case basis, for home visits with families. Such transports are necessary because the nature of some individual’s disabilities makes it very difficult for them to travel by other modes of transportation.
Every year, some vehicles in Woods’ fleet reach their useful life, and replacement vehicles are needed to sustain Woods’ capacity to provide transportation to those it serves. And, as Woods continues to place more and more residents in community homes, it also needs to expand its fleet.
Woods has learned that PennDOT is awarding Woods with three mini-vans and a small transit bus in 2019.
“We are grateful to PennDOT for their continued support in helping us maintain and grow our fleet of transport vehicles,” said Kevin Whetstine, Transportation Manager at Woods. “Like everyone else, our individuals rely on accessible transportation in many aspects of their lives, including pursuing meaningful social, vocational, and recreational opportunities.”