Beaches nonprofit gets new van

Delivery slowed by chassis shortage


Beaches Council on Aging recently held a ribbon cutting for the new 2020 Ford 12 passenger/2 wheelchair van it acquired through a grant from the state Department of Transportation. This is the fourth vehicle for council’s transportation program Dial A Ride, which takes Beaches homebound seniors and disabled adults to various locations throughout the area for free.

The grant was submitted to FDOT in May 2019, and the council waited more than two years for the new van. The approval came in October 2020 and orders were given to the Ford Company in Dearborn, Michigan, for the custom built “mini-bus.”

“It is a long and involved process of approvals and checks and balances with the FDOT,” said Lori Anderson, executive director of the Beaches Council on Aging. “They have been outstanding in assisting us through our first grant.”

Supply-chain issues that are affecting all sectors of the economy are also affecting this small nonprofit. Although the van was planned for the second quarter of 2021, it did not arrive until the end of November 2021 because there is a shortage of chassis.

The council has been approved for a second vehicle from FDOT, planned for 2023. However, all FDOT purchasing contracts have been paused due to vendors being unable to accept orders at this time. In addition, price increases have halted grant approvals and negotiations for fair pricing is ongoing.

Beaches Council on Aging has been operating for 47 years in the Jacksonville Beaches area. The Dial A Ride program is available for any homebound senior age 62 and older living in the area from Mayport south through all of Ponte Vedra Beach on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway.

To make a reservation, call 904-246-1477 three days before a ride is needed. Riders will be taken anywhere within the Beaches area with a roundtrip donation of $5.