A team of dedicated volunteers, working under the umbrella of Age Friendly Sisters Country (AFSC) has launched an all-volunteer no-charge medical transportation service for Sisters Country: Sisters Transportation and Ride Share, or STARS.

Currently, this no-charge round-trip service will only be available for medical appointments in Sisters, Bend or Redmond.

As more volunteer drivers and dispatchers are added to the action team, it is anticipated that the service will expand to include shopping and errand stops. Further expansion will include coordination with other “for-fee” and volunteer services such as CET, Lyft, SPRD, and local cab and shuttle companies.

How does STARS work?

•Call the STARS volunteer dispatcher (541-904-5545) on Tuesday or Thursday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to schedule a ride to your medical appointment for any future weekday. Rider information and appointment date/time will be logged into the Spedsta software.

•Ride requests should be made at least 48 hours ahead of the appointment if possible. The shorter the notice, the less chance of finding a driver. Drivers will be available on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

•Using the Spedsta software, a dispatcher will match the rider’s needs with driver availability and schedule the ride. Riders will receive an explanatory email when they are matched with a driver.

•The rider will be contacted by the driver when the scheduled trip date is near to confirm pick-up location, date/time/location of the appointment, and any special requirements. All STARS rides are round-trip.

All STARS drivers have passed background and insurance checks. Drivers will not accept any form of compensation for their generous effort.

The Spedsta software used to track and coordinate this ride-sharing program was developed and first implemented in San Diego and is now in use in more than a dozen cities. A $1,200 donation from an anonymous supporter covered the first year’s rental of the software, and a donation of $500 from the City of Sisters Community Grant Program covered the installation and training costs.

For the past several months, the STARS action team responsible for this “good-neighbor” transportation has spent many hours testing and refining this ride-share system for Sisters Country. The action team includes Jeremy Davis, Tom Gonsiewski, Marcy Kuhlman, Toni Landis, Ann Marland, Rennie Morrell, and Karen Waddell.

AFSC is a 501(c)(3) incorporated in 2018 to recruit and support action teams to tackle the challenges faced by underserved Sisters Country residents of all ages.

The prioritized findings and goals of the Senior Alliance, Sisters Country Horizons and the World Health Organization through their local representatives, AARP of Oregon, form the basic goals of AFSC.

AFSC board members are Ren Broomhead, Dixie Eckford, Jeremy Davis, Beverly Halcon, Chris Laing, Toni Landis, and John Griffith.

To Get Involved...

Volunteers and donations to support the work of AFSC or specifically the STARS program are always welcome.

Visit their page on Facebook or at Age Friendly Sisters (under construction) or contact AFSC at agefriendlysisters@gmail.com, or call 541-904-0143 for more information.