Year after year wildfires are becoming more frequent and more extensive, especially in the West Coast. August and September were particularly busy months for PRIDE Industries Transit department due to their involvement in the community.
On average, PRIDE Transit provides more than 1,200 daily shuttle rides to individuals with disabilities – working at PRIDE Industries or in the community. Often, for people with disabilities, access to transportation is a barrier to employment, for more on barriers to employment click here. Transportation provides an essential lifeline for people with disabilities to connect with employment opportunities, skills development, vocational related services, and the community.
PRIDE Industries Transit has a fleet of 60 vehicles covering 52 routes each morning and afternoon. Three buses are based and operate in Yuba and Sutter Counties, 20 are based in Auburn that operate in the foothills of both Nevada and Placer Counties, the remainder are based in Roseville at PRIDE headquarters and operate in Placer and Sacramento Counties.
Accessible vehicles are not only essential for providing transportation for people with a wide range of disabilities but also senior citizens and those with mobility restrictions. As it was the case in early September when a wildfire threatened the safety of an elderly community in the Foresthill area in Placer County, CA. “A call came into transit dispatch from the Placer County Public Health Department, requesting buses for the possible evacuation of a senior citizen mobile home park in the area,” says Jeff Murray, PRIDE’s Transportation Manager. “PRIDE Industries Transit responded by dispatching seven drivers and vehicles to the command center staging area.”
PRIDE Transit vehicles are small enough to maneuver in rural areas and are equipped with mobility lifts. The vehicles allow for ease of loading and transporting individuals requiring mobility aid. During this evacuation effort, four of the seven shuttles along with their driver spent the night at the staging area ready for immediate emergency evacuation scenario. Luckily, no one had to be evacuated, and all the residents of the senior living community were safe.
Later the team received a heartfelt note from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, “You don’t know what a relief it is having you here. We didn’t know how we were going to get all those people out of there until you showed up.”
PRIDE’s Transit team is committed to providing outstanding service to the community and participates in the Placer County Mass Evacuation training. In recent years, the team has assisted in other evacuation efforts along with participating in community events such as the 1st Annual Association of the US Army (AUSA) Veterans Business Forum.