This week Free Wheelin’ celebrates its third anniversary as the Mad River Valley’s homegrown transportation service offering local seniors as well as all homebound people in The Valley free rides to medical appointments, local and regional shops, hairdressers, attorney’s office and more.


This local nonprofit relies on a small paid staff as well as a cadre of volunteers and provides about 100 rides per month. It got its start when local folks recognized a need for reliable transportation and began exploring whether existing services such as Green Mountain Transit might be expanded.

Those initial organizers went to the town of Waitsfield, they went to the Mad River Valley Planning District and the Mad River Valley Transportation Advisory Committee and Green Mountain Transit. They were stymied at every step.

So, they took matters into their own hands, developed a plan to buy a car and use volunteer drivers to get folks where they needed to go. Armed with a business plan and determination, they approached the Mad River Valley Community Fund, the Mad River Valley Interfaith Council and the Mad River Valley Seniors. All agreed to provide funding for a two-year pilot program.

A Subaru was purchased, drivers found and Free Wheelin’ was created. This incredible service and those who made it a reality deserve our praise and recognition for what they did. They saw a need, put their minds together, came up with a solution and brought it to life. They did this on their own, without state funding or grants. They worked to make it sustainable – and it is. Free Wheelin’ has had its funding renewed until 2023 and thanks to grants from local organizations and businesses, there’s enough funding to reimburse drivers for mileage when they use their own cars.

This is a story of cooperative community success. It’s an example of what can happen when local folks sit down at the table together to figure out how to solve a local problem. It’s the ultimate self-help story.

Congratulations to all involved and thank you for what you’re doing to make our community a better and more inclusive place.