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Improving mobility at Gateway Center of Monterey County

Aera provides capstone funding to Gateway Center of Monterey County for mobility van

Photo courtesy of DMT Imaging. Gateway Center of Monterey County celebrates the unveiling of a new Ford Electric Transport Van, to help residents get where they need to go and doubles the number of rides for passengers who use wheelchairs

Residents and clients of Gateway Center of Monterey County will now have an easier time getting to appointments and activities thanks to a new wheelchair-accessible Ford Electric Transport Van made possible by community businesses and organizations.

The Transportation Agency for Monterey County provided an initial $60,000 grant for the vehicle purchase and Aera Energy, Vistra Corp. and The Landman Trust stepped in to provide the rest. The center gives about 1,000 rides, at no cost, to roughly one hundred developmentally disabled residents every year.

“I am excited about the new electric van, and that my wheelchair can fit in it!” said Jonathon Schwanz, a Gateway Center day-program client. “Sometimes my current transportation forgets to pick me up or is very late. I know Gateway Center will never forget me and will make sure I get to the day program and back home.”

Before the new van, the center gave about five hundred rides a year to clients who use wheelchairs with a van that could only transport one wheelchair passenger at a time. The new van will more than double the number of rides they can give with two spots accommodating a wheelchair.

“This electric wheelchair-accessible passenger van is crucial to the success of our various programs, as there are many opportunities around Monterey County that are inaccessible to people without transportation,” said Robert Freiri, executive director of the center.

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