Local Editorials

Guest view: Alternatives to nixed McHenry Township bus service

Residents protest ahead of a special meeting of the McHenry Township board where the board is expected to vote to eliminate the senior and disabled bus program, on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Johnsburg.
Residents protest ahead of a special meeting of the McHenry Township board where the board is expected to vote to eliminate the senior and disabled bus program, on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Johnsburg.

Dear McHenry Township resident,

As your elected McHenry County Board representatives, we have received numerous phone calls, emails and texts regarding the McHenry Township Board’s action to eliminate the township’s bus service for seniors or people with disabilities. We would like to take this opportunity to remind you about other transportation services that operate here in our area and, as such, are available to you. These options may help you get where you need to go.

The county’s MCRide program is a coordinated dial-a-ride service that provides flexible, curb-to-curb public transportation throughout most of McHenry County.

Eight townships and 11 municipalities collaborate with the county, Pace Bus and the Regional Transportation Agency to make the program available.

In our County Board District 4, agencies participating in MCRide include McHenry Township, Richmond Township, the city of McHenry, the village of Johnsburg, the village of Richmond and the village of Ringwood.

All of McHenry and Richmond townships  have MCRide coverage for their seniors (age 60-plus) and individuals with disabilities. The municipalities have MCRide coverage within their incorporated limits for all riders or the “general public.”

Since the program’s start in 2012, these strong partnerships have allowed MCRide to offer intercommunity travel, expanded operating hours and increased service efficiencies through a standardized transportation program. The 111,236 trips that MCRide provided in 2018 filled transportation gaps that otherwise may not have been possible without the program.

MCRide rider fares are based on the distance of the trip; seniors and individuals with disabilities get a reduced fare. The average MCRide fare per trip, averaging fares for all users and all trip lengths, is about $2 a trip.

MCRide buses are all wheelchair accessible. Drivers are trained to assist riders with using the lift, getting on and off the bus and securing the wheelchair on the bus. If you would like more information about MCRide, please reach out to the McHenry County Division of Transportation at 815-334-4960 or email mcride@mchenrycountyil.gov. Additionally, throughout the county there are social service agencies providing transportation to specialized groups. These include Senior Care Volunteer Network (815-455-3120), Senior Services Associates (815-344-3555) and Veterans Assistance Commission (815-334-0303).

You can call these or other agencies to learn of their program qualifications for transportation services. The Lake County Center for Independent Living (847-949-4440), which serves Lake and McHenry counties, also can assist seniors or individuals with disabilities to continue to live independently. Their services also include helping with transportation referrals or instruction. For their clients who are on Medicaid, they also can help navigate the trip reimbursement process for relevant medical appointments.

Finally, depending on where you live or where you need to go, don’t forget about Pace’s fixed bus routes and Metra trains. Pace routes 806 and 807 run through our area as well as the Union Pacific Northwest McHenry spur. Rest assured, as your County Board representatives, we value your input and will continue to monitor your transportation needs.

Pamela Althoff, Kay Bates, Stephen Doherty and Chuck Wheeler

McHenry County Board District 4 representatives

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