By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Wonderful. Safe. Comfortable.
That’s the way Jeanette Cureton of Plymouth described her experience with Cities Edge Specialized Transportation service in Delano.
Dave Socher started the business in April as a way to transport people who use a wheelchair to appointments and activities.
Cureton’s mother used the service for the first time Tuesday to travel from Wayzata to St. Louis Park. Cureton, who rode along, was clearly impressed.
“Dave is extremely courteous, on-time, and a good driver,” Cureton said.
Socher said he has always enjoyed spending time with older people. As a child, he often went to the homes of elderly neighbors to listen to their stories.
“I like hearing what they have to say,” he said.
Cities Edge works primarily with medical transportation from nursing homes, as well as private residences.
“The idea to do this came when my parents were depending on this type of transportation in the late 1990s and early 2000s,” he said.
At that time, Socher said some of the equipment and other aspects of the service were lacking.
“Everything’s gotten a lot better now,” he said, but at the time, he felt compelled to create a more pleasant transportation system for people like his parents.
“I just figured there was a better way to do it,” he said.
So, Socher spent months getting the training required to start the business, and purchased a special wheelchair-accessible van from Cummings Mobility. The van can carry two wheelchairs at a time, and also has passenger seats for people to ride along.
“I welcome family members,” he said, explaining that sons and daughters sometimes go with their parents to appointments.
“The van is safe, new, and comfortable,” Cureton said. “It’s easy on the passenger.”
Socher said he might add another van someday.
“I would expect to expand in the future,” he said. “There seems to be enough demand out there.”
Typically, passengers make appointments at least a week in advance, but Socher also accepts requests on short notice.
“Always, every week, some last minute ones fill in,” he said. Usually, these calls are from people who were injured from a fall or accident and need to go in for an x-ray or other treatment.
“It’s a very personal service right now,” he said.
The primary service area for Cities Edge is a 30-mile radius from Delano, but Socher said he hasn’t turned anyone down yet.
“If the appointments are made far enough in advance, I can go anywhere,” he said. He’s also flexible with hours. Normally, he drives from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but he will also take weekend and holiday trips by appointment.
“I think it’s a wonderful service,” Cureton said. “It’s something really needed.”
“It doesn’t feel like work,” Socher said. “I just really enjoy what I do.”
“He’s extraordinarily nice to work with,” Cureton said. “He was very kind to my mother.
“You don’t want to have to use those services, but when you do, it’s nice to know they’re there,” she added.
To schedule an appointment with Cities Edge Specialized Transportation in Delano, call Socher at (612) 418-3203 or toll-free at 800-418-4211.
The Cities Edge web site is www.citiesedge.net, and Socher’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.