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Santa Monica City Donates BBB Van to Charity for Paralyzed Youths


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

July 19, 2017 -- A charity group helping paralyzed young people with everything from getting to doctor appointments to once-in-a-lifetime destinations like a Yankees game is getting a lift from Santa Monica’s municipal bus system.

Retired paratransit van No. 1606 is starting a second life as a means of transportation for wheelchair-bound youths being helped by When U Dream a Dream, Inc, a Beverly Hills-based nonprofit.

The van was taken out of service by the Big Blue Bus (BBB) system in October because it had reached the end of its seven-year useful life cycle, Director of Transit Services Edward King said in a report earlier this month.

No. 1606 had been declared surplus, the last of its kind powered by unleaded fuel, which the BBB began replacing in 2008, King said.

When U Dream a Dream, Inc. ( “inspires and educates paralyzed children,” he said, and has a successful record of working with other public transit systems, including the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Orange County Transportation Authority.

Three years ago, the City donated a diesel powered 40-foot transit bus which also had reached its useful life cycle to the nonprofit organization.

King said the BBB has also donated other retired paratransit vehicles to charities.

As of 2015, all of the BBB’s 201 buses were powered by renewable natural gas (RNG), instead of unleaded fuel. RNG consists of non-fracked methane harvested from organic waste in landfills and is considered the cleanest transportation fuel available.

After seven years, maintaining paratransit vans becomes extremely costly, requiring more parts and labor to stay in operation.

“When U Dream a Dream” primarily serves paralyzed children and teenagers. It assists the youngsters with everyday needs otherwise out of reach, like shopping or going to see the doctor.

Its website recalls a trip to a Yankees game in the Bronx arranged for a young man from upstate New York, plus a personal visit with one of his heroes, player Derek Jeter.

Since its inception in 2002, When U Dream a Dream has granted more than a thousand “dreams to children with physical disabilities in the United States and abroad,” King said.


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