Transportation can be a barrier to participating in the life of a community, and nonprofit Newtrax seeks to remove that barrier.
Executive director Mike Greenbaum says Newtrax makes a real difference in people’s lives. “One of our services is a weekly circulator bus that includes White Bear Lake, Mahtomedi, Gem Lake, White Bear Lake Township and Vadnais Heights. Riding it might be the only time people get out of their apartments. A woman who lives in East Shore Place Apartments in Mahtomedi, low-income senior housing, helped get the circulator set up at East Shore. Now she supports it every way she can. Whether she’s riding it or not, she sends a contribution of 10 dollars a month along with a thank you letter because it’s so important to her,” Greenbaum says.
Newtrax also provides a weekly shuttle from Washington Square Apartments to Kowalski’s. “It’s a weekly outing for people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to get out of their apartments. They might not even go shopping. They might sit down at Starbucks and have the chance to talk to other people,” says Greenbaum.
“People without cars can feel isolated, and these services allow people to be more social,” he says.
Greenbaum says Newtrax started as an effort to make transportation more efficient for two nonprofits that provide vocational and life-enrichment services to adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. To help save costs, they formed Newtrax as a separate nonprofit. Newtrax now provides daily transportation for more than 600 people, helping people with disabilities and elders participate more fully in the community.