Aurora Twp. senior bus service expanding to Sugar Grove Twp.

A transportation service that already provides more than 30,000 rides a year in Aurora Township is expanding into Sugar Grove Township.

The service is a scaled-down version of the old dial-a-ride service senior citizens and people with disabilities may be familiar with. In partnership with Pace, Aurora Township will offer rides for Sugar Grove Township seniors or people with disabilities from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If the service is successful, it may expand to riders on other days and times or for other travel purposes, Aurora Township Supervisor Bill Catching said.

To get a ride, the passenger must qualify and register at the Aurora Township office. The fee is $4 per ride within a 10-mile radius and $1 for every additional mile. The qualified passenger can bring along a companion, who can share the ride at no additional charge.

Catching said the townships decided to partner in an effort to create a win-win scenario. Sugar Grove gets a new transportation service, and Aurora can make a more cost-effective use of its seven full-time drivers.

"As a provider, we have some gaps between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. where our drivers aren't very busy at all," Catching said. "It's a terribly popular service, but it's also terribly expensive."

Catching said scheduling rides and billing through Pace are the most complicated and frustrating aspects of the program.

The main barrier to expanding the service is Pace is more interested in expanding its Ride-in-Kane program and pursuing dial-a-ride-type transportation services. Because of that, the future of the program in Sugar Grove will depend entirely on how much buy-in Aurora Township sees from Sugar Grove users.

So far, Catching said, only a few people have registered.

For more information, call Sugar Grove Township officials at (630) 466-4283 or Aurora Township officials at (630) 897-8777.

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