The Forest Folk, a local nonprofit, are planning to turn a 12-passenger shuttle bus, donated in the past to the now-defunct Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce, into transportation for Hill residents. Forest Folk is now seeking drivers.
Through funds obtained from a grant written by Forest Folk key organizer Reba Coulter, assisted by Sue Harper, the planned transportation specifically targets Idyllwild/Pine Cove’s elderly, disabled and economically disadvantaged.
“We’re doing everything by the book,” said Coulter. “We’re advertising for drivers with a minimum Class B license, we’ll obtain applicants’ driving records from the DMV to ensure we’re employing individuals with excellent driving records, we’ve put six new Michelin tires on the van, have installed a new battery so that the wheelchair lift operates properly, and we have obtained workers’ comp, liability, auto, and directors and officers insurance.” Coulter said once at least one driver is employed, the van will be checked out by the California Highway Patrol for mechanical road worthiness. “Any repairs that have to be made, we’ll take care of,” said Coulter.
Coulter said her group envisions a fixed-route system, with designated pick-up points in the Idyllwild/Pine Cove area. “We’re thinking, based on demand, perhaps three days a week, maybe Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” she said. “We’ll accommodate those who might not be able to get to the designated pick-up points, especially those who are older or disabled.
“We know there’s a need, we just don’t yet know how much of a need.”
Coulter said the group already has a scheduler/dispatcher and a phone number dedicated to van transport — 951-292-UHOP (8467).
“Since there is no public transit in Idyllwild, this was one of our goals when we formed four years ago, to provide some local transport service,” said Coulter. “There’ll be no charge for the service.”
After three to six months, should demand not be sufficient to merit maintenance expense, Coulter said her group would rethink the commitment. “You don’t know until you try,” she said.
For more information about the Forest Folk, visit www.forestfolk.org.