The Botetourt Van Service provides transportation for Botetourt County residents over 55 years of age, or those residents that are disabled, for medical appointments and errands. This program provides a personal, individualized service that is rare in this technological age. The drivers know the riders and their needs, and they do an exemplary job to help users juggle appointments to help these riders maximize their trips.
However, during the 2018 Community Health Assessment conducted by the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District, it was found that residents in northern Botetourt County reported difficulty scheduling rides with the Van Service. The long distances from northern Botetourt to destinations and the sparse population mean that typically only one rider can be served on a single trip which ties up the driver for the entire day. If that driver is already scheduled to provide a ride anywhere in Botetourt, they can’t also serve a northern Botetourt resident the same day.
The Eagle Rock Ruritan Club began focusing on this issue and began raising awareness about the problem with County staff, elected officials, and residents. They partnered with the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and were awarded the Community Mobility Design Challenge grant in 2020 by the National Center of Mobility Management to research this problem and potential solutions. Additional team members from the Botetourt Resource Center, the Eagle Rock United Methodist Charge, and Botetourt County also pitched in and helped analyze the program.
The team contracted with RADAR to operate the Tuesday Shuttle for five weeks in November and December providing trips to residents specifically in northern Botetourt. During this time, ten rides were provided by the service to northern Botetourt residents.
Seeing the need in the community, Botetourt County will now dedicate one of their van drivers to serve northern Botetourt on Tuesdays starting in January 2022. The van service reserves rides on a first come, first served basis. The cost for service is $6.00 per person and $12.00 for individuals requiring wheelchair transport. Companions are not charged unless they also have an appointment. The dedicated Tuesday van driver will transport Botetourt residents who meet the Van Service criteria for service and live in northern Botetourt zip codes including 24066, 24085, 24422, 24438 or 24579. Riders are encouraged to call and schedule their ride as soon as possible; ride appointments must be scheduled at least one week in advance. To schedule a ride or to learn more please contact 540-928-2130.
Northern Botetourt residents can ride other days of the week too, but they should reserve their ride as early as possible. People who live outside of one of those zip codes can get a ride on Tuesday but should reserve their ride early.
In 2021 the Botetourt Van Service provided approximately 650 riders transportation to roughly 950 destinations. Botetourt County is seeking another driver to help meet the demand. If you are interested, please contact 540-928-2130 or [email protected].
To learn more about the Van Service and the Dedicated Day, call 540-928-2130 or visit http://bocorecreation.info.