Published May 16, 2024


NORTH READING — The arrival of a recent-model 15-passenger van to serve the ever-growing needs of the town’s senior population was greeted with fanfare and a ribbon cutting last Friday afternoon.

According to Public Services Director Lil Hartman, the efforts of State Rep. Brad Jones and State Sen. Bruce Tarr during the Fiscal Year 24 budget process enabled the Senior Center to be awarded a $25,000 earmark through the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

“Earmark funding was received in January, and with the additional use of reserve funds the town purchased a recent-model, 15-passenger van to help sustain transportation services,” Hartman told the Transcript.

She offered additional thanks to the North Reading Transportation Committee for establishing this priority, and to the Finance Committee for authorizing reserve funds.

Ride volume doubled in one year

Notably, according to Hartman, “ride volume on the Senior Center’s vans more than doubled between calendar years 2022 and 2023 and now far exceeds pre-pandemic levels. North Reading’s senior vans provide over 400 one-way trips per month. MeVa – Merrimack Valley Transit – continues to offer a medical ride service to Peabody and Boston on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as to the Bedford VA on Wednesdays and Fridays.”

She further explained that the North Reading Transportation Committee was established by the Select Board in 2022 to advise the Select Board on matters related to current and future transportation options in the community. The committee’s webpage,, hosts a list of transportation options available to North Reading residents, she said.

Subsequently, in July 2023, the Transportation Committee and Senior Center launched a volunteer driver program to supplement these services. “Volunteers primarily bring neighbors to out-of-town medical appointments, covering 41 one-way trips in March and 58 one-way trips in April,” Hartman said.

“As we celebrate the arrival and Town Seal being mounted on this new van, it is also a great opportunity to remind folks that a need for local transportation exists and that the Select Board, Transportation Committee, Finance Committee, and our state leaders are responding to the call,” Hartman said.

Residents who need help finding ride options or who would be interested in becoming a volunteer driver may contact the Senior Center at 978-664-5600 for assistance.