Have bus, need driver

Dinosaur seniors using bus for bingo, not lunch

Because of a lack of daytime drivers, Dinosaur senior citizens have been unable to use a county-owned bus to get meals in Rangely.

But one faithful driver has made sure they make it to bingo every Monday night.

Though socialization is important, Moffat County Commissioners say that may end if the bus isn't being used for its intended purpose. Moffat County bought the bus so senior citizens could ride to Rangely to get meals at the senior center.

"If it's not serving the purpose it's intended to, maybe we need to remove the bus and go back to joint services," Moffat County Commissioner Les Hampton said.

By joint services, Hampton referred to a previous agreement the Moffat County commissioners had with Rio Blanco County. Rio Blanco County used to send a bus to Dinosaur to bring seniors to Rangely for meals.

But the joint services came at a cost of about $20,000. Moffat County bought the van for what Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos called a "reasonable price," and this year budgeted $3,372 to operate it.

Going back to the original agreement with Rio Blanco County isn't an option, Raftopoulos said.

"We need to find a driver or do something different," she said.

Dinosaur Mayor Wendy Petersen said drivers are hard to find in the town of 400 residents. Raftopoulos said the commissioners might consider hiring a driver if the price is affordable.

Rose Drushella of Dinosaur used to drive the bus before she got a job working maintenance at Dinosaur Town Hall. She said about four to five seniors depend on the bus to get to the meals as well as the grocery store, doctor's appointments and to pick up prescription drugs.

Because one man is very faithful about driving the bus to Rangely on Monday nights, the seniors regularly make it to bingo, Drushella said.

"If there were drivers for the day, it would be used during the day," she said. "There's not a lot of people to draw from."

One woman who used to drive the bus stopped because she no longer felt comfortable doing so, nor could she drive at night. Another woman was driving until she discovered that she had health problems, Drushella said.

Drushella wasn't sure how seniors are getting to their doctor's appointments or the grocery store now. She guessed some of them waited until their family was available to take them.

Every month this year has seen fewer meals served to seniors, Hampton said. In January, 39 meals were served to Dinosaur seniors. In March, 14 meals were served, and in June seven meals were served.

But when drivers were available, the seniors made it to the senior center for lunch every day it was open, and they often attended the Thursday night meal, Drushella said.

"It's something that's definitely needed. I'm sure there would be more (riders) if it was available more," she said.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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