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On-demand helps this Salem couple live comfortably car-free

Learn how the Salem Skipper helps Salem residents Nancy and Christine get around town without relying on a car or expensive rideshare.

Via Transportation •

When Salem Skipper launched in December 2020, it offered a new, flexible way for riders of all ages to get around Salem without a private car. Before, residents had access to intercity bus and rail transit, but few options for appointments and errands around town. A year and a half into service, we spoke with Christine and her wife Nancy, two long-term Salem Skipper users, about their experience as riders with health and mobility challenges. 

The retired couple were early adopters of Salem Skipper. After finding out about the service from the senior community center in their area, they have used it ever since. “It really takes pressure off our friends because neither of us drive — neither of us have a license,” explains Nancy. “We surrendered it a while back and so [the Skipper] is our only way of getting around and it gives us that." With Salem Skipper, the couple no longer has to rely on the local senior bus system that had to be booked two days in advance due to demand: "[The Skipper is] available to me on an immediate basis."

Both Christine and Nancy can now travel between appointments for “a whole stable of doctors” seamlessly and affordably. "We really like it. We like that we can call and it's mostly not far a walk," says Christine, who has arthritis and other conditions that affect mobility

"And so much cheaper than a taxi,” adds Nancy, who has diabetes. “Sometimes I can spend twenty or forty dollars getting from one place to another.” At $1 a ride for seniors and people with disabilities, the service provides the Salem area with an accessible transit option at a sustainable price.

Both Christine and Nancy thank the drivers for making the ride experience even better. “The drivers are amazing,” says Christine. “They're generous, they’re kind, they’ll help us if we need something." 

"I'm oxygen dependent so I really need help getting into a car," adds Nancy appreciating how accommodating the drivers are to their needs. "They're always helpful and patient." 

The relationship between the couple and Salem Skipper's drivers lets them ride comfortably and securely. "They'll say how's your wife? Or how are you doing?" says Christine. "It's a really comforting feeling to be able to know that we can call and that they're friendly."