Hilltown Easy Ride and Hilltown Driver Pool

Answers to Common Questions

Need a ride? Hilltown Community Development provides transportation for shopping, medical and COA outings for seniors in the towns of Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Plainfield and Worthington. Our primary program is operating a FRTA van, which runs five days a week, prioritizing medical rides on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesdays we go to the Big Y in Northampton and Thursdays we go to Market 32 in Pittsfield – both of those shopping trips have the option of also shopping at Walmart and other stores in their respective plazas. The shopping trips are a great way to get food and errands done while leaving your car at home – plus we have a great group of regulars which add to the enjoyment of the outing each week.

You must be 60+ to be eligible to ride the Hilltown Easy Ride and fill out a Demand Respond Application with FRTA. We would gladly help you with that process, or you may go on the FRTA website and download an application. It takes about a week to be processed, and once you get the acceptance letter you can start booking rides.

For those occasions when the van is unavailable for a medical appointment, we supplement with the Hilltown Driver Pool – a pool of drivers from the community who can take passengers in their personal vehicles to medical appointments which the van cannot accommodate due to scheduling or service area restrictions. Please make your appointment request to Ed Pelletier, Dispatch Coordinator, and he will determine which option will work according to the schedule: 413-296-4232.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will the van take me anywhere I want to go?

The Hilltown Easy Ride is operated under a contract with Franklin Regional Transit Authority and they do give us restrictions on which towns we serve (Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Plainfield and Worthington), where we go and how it is used. Re-occurring medical appointments and appointments more than 30 miles away are not allowed as they overburden program resources. For this reason we secured a small grant for the Hilltown Driver Pool to help us cover those limited instances. Shopping, wheelchair accessible transportation, and medical rides we can cluster are all great uses of the van! The Hilltown Easy Ride is public transportation, not a taxi service, so sometimes there is a bit of a wait to be picked up or for other passengers to complete their shopping.

So yes, the van can take you almost anywhere with a few exceptions, caveats and within the grant funding we have available. But we are always happy to work through scheduling conflicts and program restrictions – so call us! We can only keep these programs funded if they are well used and we consider riders an essential part of our Hilltown transportation team.

What does it cost?

Van fares depend on distance, but the average rides are from $3.50 to $4.50 round-trip. Hilltown Driver Pool rides are by a suggested donation of $5 to $15.

How do I book a ride?

Call our dispatch coordinator Ed Pelletier at 413- 296-4232 and tell him about your trip request. We do need 48 hours notice (two business days – call Friday for a Tuesday request) as our drivers are all “on-call” and need to be set up.

How do I know if the ride is confirmed?

Ed will secure the driver and adjust the schedule and call you back the day before to confirm.

What if the dispatch doesn’t answer the phone?

Ed works 8-10am so often riders leave him a voicemail. He checks and returns calls within 24 hours – please feel free to leave a message and he will get back to you.

Is there a low-income eligibility requirement?

NO, any resident of those five towns who are 60 years old and over, plus veterans of any age, may ride regardless of income.

Why do I have to do paperwork to apply?

The van belongs to FRTA who contracts with us, so we are required to use their forms and they keep approved rider lists. It is also important for your safety that we have your full name, contact information and an emergency contact on file while riding with us. Some terminology on the application is unfamiliar, or maybe you don’t have a copier at home to make a photocopy of the required drivers license. We are happy to help, call Ed if you require assistance with the application.