Sylvan seniors looking for social connection have access to a variety of trips through the Sylvan Lake Seniors Bus Association. Dave Dale, President of the association has been offering a door to door bus service for people 55 and up for over 25 years.
Dale prides his service on offering an economical and convenient form of transportation with passengers paying $8 to get picked up from their home, driven to destinations along Gaetz Avenue in Red Deer, then dropped off back at home in the afternoon. “Not a lot of people know we do door to door pick up,” said Dale of what he thinks is the lesser known aspect of the service.
Generally the service is a regular Thursday run from Sylvan Lake to Red Deer with home pick ups starting around 9 am and pick up from the south end of Red Deer at 1pm for the ride back to Sylvan Lake. This gives passengers time to do a little shopping, get to appointments or meet friends in Red Deer. “Some trips we have up to 11 people and other trips we have 3 people,” Dale said.
The last Wednesday of each month, the bus service provides a trip up to Edmonton or down to Calgary, usually to a casino. The most recent bus took a group of seniors up to the River Cree Casino in Edmonton on Aug. 30. The service is also available for other other types of outings.
The service depends on volunteer drivers like Dick Swarbrick who do most of the driving. Swarbrick will have driven the bus for the last three years this October. “After I retired, I needed something to fill the void and I like driving,” Swarbrick said. All passengers have to to do is give volunteer driver, Dick Swarbrick a call before 8pm on Wednesday to book their seat on the bus. His phone number is: 403) 505-0977.
When asked about the funniest part of his volunteer work, Swarbrick says he finds it amusing at how secretive many of the passengers are about their winnings or non-winnings on trips to the casino. But despite the secrecy, Swarbrick still managed to find out one woman won $900 on the last casino run. Sounds like riding on the bus might make you lucky!