SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A new, temporary program is giving residents 60 years and older accessible van service throughout the Pioneer Valley thanks to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA).

Theresa Spooner of Chicopee testified Tuesday in favor of making permanent the expanded Dial-a-Ride hours for the benefit of older riders. It was exactly what the PVTA board needed to hear.

“I’m lucky enough to be healthy enough to be able to work. I do work at Walmart, been there for 14 years, and my hours are exactly what I need to work. I work full time, I’ll be 90 on Tuesday, and I really need my rides. It’s very important for me and I don’t have a car,” said Spooner.

Extending the Dial-a-Ride hours on a permanent basis Monday through Saturday may be just a formality-based on the reason the PVTA board held hearings in Springfield and Amherst.

PVTA Administrator Sandra Sheehan told 22News, “Now we have an opportunity to be able to expand those hours and we want to make sure that the public is aware of it, and we wanted to get feedback from them on it.”

Tuesday’s hearing provided 19-year-old Springfield student Ramon Soto attending the session with even more of a reason to be in awe of older people and to respect their needs, “To hear that a service here like in Springfield is helping elderly women, it’s great to hear that, very good for the community,” said Ramon Soto.

Because of Theresa Spooner’s fiery views contained in her testimony, the PVTA board may soon be discussing the expansion of Dial-a-Ride bus service to include Sundays as well.