Senior Service Provides Independence
OATS Transit has a long history of providing service for senior citizens, and though we serve people of all ages today, senior service is still a very important part of the transportation that we provide.
The company was incorporated in 1971 by a group of volunteers who saw a need for transportation for senior citizens in Missouri. At the time, the company was much smaller and served just eight Missouri counties. We quickly grew, and by 1973 OATS was servicing over 80 counties throughout the state.
In the early 1980’s we were given federal grants that allowed our service to expand to serve the general public instead of only senior citizens. Over the nearly 50 years of OATS’ existence, we have come a very long way from just senior transportation.
Today, we transport people of all ages, for all different purposes. What was once “Older Adult’s Transportation Services” has transformed into OATS Transit, with the meaning of OATS shifting to “Operating Above the Standard” to encompass inclusion of all ages.
Senior transportation is still very much an essential part of our operation today. Our services are utilized by many senior centers, nursing homes and assisted living communities. In addition to receiving funding from five Area Agencies on Aging, OATS Transit contracts with numerous facilities all over the state who use our services regularly for their residents. We transport residents from these facilities for numerous business needs and for medical appointments.
Crystal Smith is the Marketing Director at Loch Haven, a senior living community in Macon, Missouri that utilizes our services. Smith thinks that transportation is an issue for many nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“We know that there are several [facilities] that don’t have the resources like we do,” Smith said. “We feel blessed to have OATS Transit in our community.”
Like OATS Transit, Loch Haven is also a nonprofit organization. That leaves them with little to no money for purchasing their own buses or vans. Having reliable transportation is a necessity for their facility. Smith finds working with OATS to be an easy and affordable option. “We appreciate how kind the drivers are,” Smith said. “They are always on time and very courteous to our residents and staff.”
Outside of these facilities, reliable transportation is vital to keep many seniors independent and able to live in their homes. OATS Transit provides service to many seniors who live on their own. Having access to food or healthcare would prove a difficult task to many without our services. Lynn Goett, a Randolph county rider, credits being able to live on her own because she has OATS Transit. She says the drivers are especially helpful to her. “Thanks to the services that OATS provides, I’m able to continue shopping for food, picking up medicine and tending to my bills,“ Goett said. “Without the OATS Transit bus, I would lose my independence and have to move into assisted living.”