Free transportation service helps Latinos travel along East End

<p>Organizaci&oacute;n Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island, or OLA, is a nonprofit agency focused on arts, education and advocacy work on the East End for both Latino populations and the community.</p>

News 12 Staff

Aug 27, 2018, 7:09 PM

Updated 2,092 days ago

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Free transportation service helps Latinos travel along East End
A free transportation service in the Hampton Bays is helping Latin Americans and other community members travel along the East End.
Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island, or OLA, is a nonprofit agency focused on arts, education and advocacy work on the East End for both Latino populations and the community.
Volunteers with the service say they have been driving community members who would otherwise be forced to walk or take public transportation to doctors' offices.
Minerva Perez, of OLA, says limited bus service, expensive Uber rides and the fear of being deported has led to difficulties for Latinos to get to their jobs, school, grocery stores and medical appointments. She says a donated van is used to drive community members, and that the gas is paid for by private donations and grant money.
"They call us up, let us know what the appointment is, where it is on the eastern end of Long Island or sometimes further out, and we get them to the appointment and bring them home," she says.
Perez says seven to 10 bus lines were cut from the Suffolk County bus service and that the buses only ride once every hour, ending at 7 p.m. Latino groups says it could take up to three hours for someone to get to a medical appointment.
Alma Tovar, an OLA driver, says she has driven as far as Stony Brook when she had to rush a 5-week old infant to the hospital during a medical emergency.
"They are so glad and thankful and always tell me how grateful they are," she says.
Perez says they are currently offering free rides for medical appointments and that the service helps about 15 people each week.
"There is a human right there that is being violated and it is not about being privileged or entitlement, it’s about a human being that needs to get to the doctor," she says.
Suffolk County Legislator Bridgett Fleming tells News 12 a new route has been put into effect that will help the Latino population living in Springs get to medical appointments in Easthampton. Fleming also said more needs to be done to address public transportation needs.


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