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Dubuque RTA offering free rides to vaccine appointments

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) - The Dubuque County Regional Transit Authority are offering free rides to vaccine appointments for anyone needing assistance with transportation. The RTA service is available in Dubuque, Delaware, and Jackson counties.

$920,000 of CARES Act Funding was granted to the Dubuque RTA to give free rides to vaccine appointments and clinics. The transit authority started this service at the beginning of March.

"I think we need to reach out and make sure they know we're here for them," RTA driver Margie Davis said.

About 32 people have already taken advantage of the free vaccine rides, and RTA wants to reach even more people. As vaccine appointments become more readily available, the RTA knows there is still a need for shots to get into the arms.

Some may still have trouble with getting to and from a vaccine appointment, therefore the Dubuque Regional Transit Authority wants to get the word out about this free service.

"We would love to have a problem where 'how are we going to get everybody there?' That would be a great problem to have," RTA Mobility and Outreach Specialist Tricia Wagner said.

Anyone in the RTA service area can request this service. The transit authority already assists the elderly, homeless, and those with disabilities.

The busses are wheelchair accessible and drivers can even assist clients onto the bus from their doorstep if needed.

"Anytime. Anytime and we can get them over there," Davis said, "Schedule a ride and we'd be more than happy to take them."

Davis has been a driver for almost 30 years, and she looks forward to driving people to get their shot against COVID-19.

"They're happy, they're ready to get it over with, and then when we do the return ride, they're really happy. They're ecstatic," she said.

Without drivers like herself, people would need to rely on paid services such as cabs or public transportation.

"Some people just don't have those funds readily available so I'm happy to be of service," Davis said.

The RTA hopes to also reach those who live in rural areas of the counties they serve, where the vaccine may not be easily accessible.

"We're really hoping that people will hear about this and call us and utilize the service. Don't let anything prevent them from going to get the vaccine," Wagner said.

The Dubuque County Regional Transit Authority asks those seeking the free rides to vaccine appointments to call and schedule a pick up day and time at least 24 hours in advance. Wagner suggests calling as soon as an appointment is set up.

The RTA can take calls and schedule rides on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can call them at 563-588-4592.

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Diego Hernandez

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