Ride service cut for elderly residents

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s about 120 apartments at the Davenport-Dunbar residence in Hamden, and most elderly tenants depend on public transportation. Residents here just learned that an important service they rely on will soon be cut.

“This is the first project that’s gotten everyone confused,” said Christine Hargreaves, a 12-year resident.

The Greater New Haven Transit District is canceling it’s twice a week service for seniors living in the Davenport-Dunbar complex in Hamden. The news was unsettling for the dozens who showed up for a neighborhood meeting and rely on the service for weekly shopping and errands.

“It’s important to know that these residents rely on this as a link literally to the outside world,” said Rep. Mike D’Agostino (D-Hamden). “Many cannot use the bus, they need para-transit services.”

Greater New Haven Transit Executive Director Kim Dunham said ridership was low and that a federal grant to fund the service also dried-up. They promised to help find a solution, but nothing is final yet.

“We’re going to come back next two weeks with our partners, sit down one-on-one with our people, and discuss what mobility options are,” said Dunham.

Many residents rely on wheelchairs, and were not happy about the proposed changes.

“They want to put us on a bus? And it doesn’t even go halfway up Dixwell Avenue or into the mall? No, that’s not right for us,” said Hargreaves.

Hamden Mayor Curt Leng promised the town will step in and provide the shopping service that is being cut.

“We’ve been talking internally and we met with Greater New Haven (Transit) yesterday just to finalize how we would handle it,” said Leng. “And we’re going to make sure we take care of our seniors.”

Those seniors are hopeful for a successful transition..

“Oh yeah (I hope they get better),” said Mary Lou Sablitz. “They can’t get worse (laughs).”

The Hamden mayor went on to say that the service they hope to bring in would cost less for rides. If you need ride assistance, please call this number: (203)288-2885.

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