On the road toward health

The new Bayview Health Shuttle provides free transportation on an hourly basis to health clinics within the community as well as San Francisco General and St. Luke’s Hospital.

New free health shuttle in Bayview Hunters Point

On May 12, a free Bayview Health Shuttle started running an hourly fixed-route service between various health providers and community centers frequented by Bayview residents, including San Francisco General Hospital, Southeast Health Clinic, St. Luke’s Hospital, Bayview Hunters Point Adult Day Health Center, Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement-Mental Health and Substance Abuse Clinics, Bayview Child Health Center, Arthur Coleman Health Clinic, Parent University at Malcolm X Academy, Family Resource Center at the Bayview YMCA, as well as the Alice Griffith/ Double Rock housing development and others on Hunters Point.

The Bayview Health Shuttle, operated by American MAGIS Inc., is different from paratransit. The service is curbside instead of door-to-door, however the shuttle drivers are able to assist passengers who use wheelchairs or others who have limited mobility to board and exit the shuttle safely. The shuttles run on clear natural gas and will be regularly monitored for quality assurance and on-time service.

A three-year grant from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority was awarded to the Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement to help coordinate this service, after the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Transportation 2030 Equity Analysis identified the great need for such a service in the Bayview community. Compared with other sectors of San Francisco, residents in the Bayview have low rates of vehicle ownership yet high needs for access to medical facilities.

As there is no major hospital in the Bayview, patients are often forced to seek treatment through referrals outside of this district. This usually means to St. Luke’s Hospital or San Francisco General, the only two major hospitals south of Market.

It is no secret that Bayview residents face greater challenges to good health than residents in other part of San Francisco. Reports from the Department of Public Health show that Bayview residents experience higher rates of hospitalization for diseases such as asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure and kidney and urinary tract infections. It is well known that the district has endured more than its fair share of toxic environmental pollutants, which have unfortunately contributed to low health outcomes.

But step by step, access to healthy living is increasing with community efforts. With a major grocery store coming soon to Third Street to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables and the Bayview Health Shuttle now providing greater access to health facilities both inside and outside of the community, hopefully Bayview residents will soon be on the road to better health.