Dial-A-Ride busses keep rolling to help area residents deal with coronavirus mandates
Saturday hours suspended til further notice
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The Crawford County Transportation Authority or more commonly known as Dial-A-Ride is offering free delivery of prescription medications and groceries as people of all ages are urged to stay home in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Residents can order their groceries from Family Fare in Grayling through the store’s Fast Lane program. Bus drivers will also pick up prescription medications at the Walgreens in Grayling as well as the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy.
“We’re doing our part,” said Julee Dean, the executive director for the Crawford County Transportation Authority.
In addition, Dial-A-Ride is suspending its Saturday hours, which are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until further notice.
Weekday hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. will be maintained.
A lot has changed in one week
On Saturday, March 14, just two Dial-A-Ride drivers transported 200 people.
Since then, ridership has tanked due to the mandatory closures following a series of recommendations from federal and state officials to stem the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19.
The Crawford AuSable School District closed schools from Monday, March 16, through Sunday, April 5.
The Crawford County Commission on Aging & Senior Center was closed to the general public effective Wednesday, March 18, until further notice.
Congregate Meals will continue to be offered Monday through Friday on a curbside take-out basis from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meals can be picked up at that time for both lunch and dinner as well as meals for the weekend.
Monday Night Community Dinners through the Michelson Memorial United Methodist Church will continue but will be carry-out only.
Dial-A-Ride drivers are available to deliver those meals to assist people from having to come into town themselves.
“It’s whatever we can do,” Dean said. “It’s just been crazy.”
Cleaning always emphasized
On Thursday, March 19, a Dial-A-Ride employee went to the Walmart in Gaylord at 6 a.m. to pick up disinfectant wipes and bleach. Supplies in Grayling are short due to high demand for those products.
“We’re now bleaching after every shift,” Dean said.
Dean ordered an electrostatic sprayer, which combines a disinfectant spray with an electric charge to cover an entire surface such as bus handles, but the units are not available until June.
“Everything is backordered,” she said.
All employees for Dial-A-Ride are maintaining their employment despite the lack of riders.
"We are cleaning. That place is going to be germ-free, and that could happen every day, because there are 25 of us there,” Dean said. “Everybody needs to be there and that’s the bottom line here. They all need to work.”
To schedule a delivery or a ride, contact Dial-A-Ride at (989) 348-5409.