Erik Phelps, executive director of Call a Ride of Southlake, or CARS, said the nonprofit organization was formed in 1999 when a group of Southlake retirees noticed members of their group had stopped showing up to their regular get-togethers.

“They could no longer drive safely, and their family took the keys away, and they had no way to get there,” Phelps said. “They decided to see if they could ... form a nonprofit to help drive seniors where they need to go.”

CARS transports seniors and disabled adults free of charge. Drivers will go up to 25 miles for nonemergency medical appointments and up to 7 miles for nonmedical purposes.

Regarding the percentage of seniors to disabled adults that CARS transports, Phelps said that number shifted during the pandemic.

“Two years ago, we had 90% seniors and 5% disabled adults,” he said. “After [the pandemic], we got a groundswell of folks on the disabled side of things, and now it’s maybe more 60[%]/40[%], still swinging higher towards seniors.”

There are 15 volunteer drivers who have logged 881 one-way rides for Southlake seniors and disabled adults in 2022. Phelps said by the end of the year, the organization is on pace to reach an estimated 1,300 rides.

However, there were 375 ride requests that went unmet due to a lack of drivers this year.

“We could eliminate those unmet rides with just another 10 or 15 drivers,” Phelps said. “Please volunteer.”

CARS drivers are volunteers using their own vehicles. Phelps said Rebecca Petty has been a volunteer driver since 2019.

“I tell people it’s like driving carpool, but the ‘kids’ are grateful, and they don’t leave juice boxes and shoes in my car,” Petty said.

Phelps said drivers volunteer for a variety of reasons, such as the service fitting their schedules and it makes them hopeful for their parents.

“I think they are trying to put something good in the universe,” he said. “They may have lost their own parents; [or] their parents may live in another state or country, so to a certain extent by helping seniors in Southlake, they are putting it out in the universe that maybe someone will help their parents in Mexico or Pennsylvania, or wherever they may be.”

The nonprofit is funded primarily by the city of Southlake and other entities, including Tarrant County, the Southlake Women’s Club and individual donors. The donations are used for office supplies, a cellphone shared by board members, paying a part-time employee and other operating costs.

CARS requests riders schedule rides a week in advance by emailing [email protected], or calling or texting 817-798-4022.

Phelps said the most basic benefit the community receives via CARS is “folks who can’t drive themselves get transportation.”

He also pointed out that many of their riders live with family members where the other adults have multiple responsibilities.

“That senior may see all that their adult son or daughter is dealing with and doesn’t want to add another event to the family schedule,” Phelps said. “CARS enables that senior to go to the senior center or medical appointment on their own.”

The families, Phelps said, have peace of mind when their loved ones ride with CARS volunteers, because they know the drivers must be age 21 or older, have a valid Texas driver’s license and pass an annual background check.

Drivers’ lives are enriched as well, Phelps said.

“Our drivers gain a unique perspective on being a senior or a disabled adult,” he said. “By giving a rider a lift, our drivers lift the rider’s spirits and their own.”

Call a Ride Southlake

P.O. Box 92683, Southlake


Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.