Nonprofit rideshare service helps Fulton seniors get to vaccine sites

Margo Williams, 70, drove herself to get her first vaccination in February at the Aviation Community Cultural Center in Atlanta.

Everything went according to plan from the directions to receiving the vaccine and returning home, she said. But she worried about a change in location for her second shot in March. The location was moved to the Georgia International Convention Center and the Sandy Springs resident said she became nervous about driving that far on the interstate.

“I can’t describe to you the anxiety you get when you get older and try to do that,” Williams said. “You don’t know where it is or how traffic will be. An older person needs to know that they’re safe.”

The Fulton County Equity Initiative program arranged for a nonprofit rideshare service to drive Williams to the convention center to receive her second vaccination on March 10. Common Courtesy, a nonprofit rideshare service, arranges transportation to vaccination sites through Uber and Lyft.

The nonprofit started arranging rides in February and has coordinated 250 rides for seniors, co-founder Anne Carr said. She and her husband, Bob, started Common Courtesy in 2009 to assist senior communities, Grady Hospital and other places, Anne Carr said.

Senior citizens needing a ride can call Fulton County Senior Services, Bob Carr said, and one will be arranged. The Fulton rideshare program can be used by Fulton County residents age 65 and older and their caregivers.

Drivers pick riders up at their home and then from the vaccine site for the return trip. Common Courtesy pays Uber and Lyft and is reimbursed by Fulton, Anne Carr said.

“What we realized is the need for transportation for older people is so large.” Anne Carr said. “It’s so sad to think of people tucked away in their homes and they’re isolated. They can’t get out.”

Williams, who uses a walker to help with mobility, said the coordination between Fulton and Common Courtesy appeared seamless. Williams was met by someone when she arrived at the site, she said.

“When I got out of the car, a lady and man who worked there met me at the car, took me in and offered me a wheelchair,” she said.

For more information, call Fulton County Senior Services 404-613-6000.