The writer of the letter to the editor in the July 17 issue advocating senior transport to Twin Falls (“Seniors need Twin Falls transportation”) did a public service by bringing to light this serious problem for many seniors (and others, too) who cannot provide their own transportation to medical appointments in Twin.

Obviously, there are certain required medical services not offered by St. Luke’s in Ketchum. Some of those treatments require multiple trips to Twin each week. It can be a hardship for friends or family members to bear that burden. Some cannot pitch in due to employment conflicts.

I agree that both Mountain Rides and St. Luke’s need to individually, or jointly, provide those services, which may indeed be the difference between life and death for the affected citizens. I would note that Mountain Rides already has van service to bring employees from Twin and Shoshone to Ketchum/Sun Valley and back. Are not people’s lives and health as important, or more so?

Mountain Rides is a very good and necessary service to our community. However, it receives upwards of $800,000 annually between Ketchum and the city of Sun Valley, not to mention a very small sum from the other Blaine County municipalities. In fact, the proposed city of Sun Valley 2020 budget alone would grant $352,500 to Mountain Rides. That represents a $45,000-plus increase over the past two years.

In the meantime, Mountain Rides provides a Night Owl chauffer service to drive those late-night bar patrons to stops near home. Shouldn’t the costs associated with such service, funded largely by taxpayers, be put to much better and important use in helping to provide a van service to those in need, rather than for those few who choose to frequent the bars? Why not leave the bar owners (who profit by late-night patrons) to at least subsidize that Night Owl service to stay open late at night or eliminate that service to help fund Twin Falls medical van service? There is at least one bar in Bellevue that provides its own van for its patrons. Ketchum bars should follow that example by sharing van costs.

Keith Saks, Sun Valley

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