Despite having a nifty new van, things are moving pretty slowly for Katikati Community Van Service.
The van service — which takes locals needing transport to their medical appointments — is crawling along after lockdown.
When the Covid-19 lockdown began the van service shut down like the rest of the country. Now things are up and running — it's a very slow start, says acting co-ordinator Leslie Ruf.
There were just four appointments last week in comparison to late last year when four trips per day was normal.
People need to be reminded the service is here for them, she says.
''We are definitely not as busy as before. It has surprised me. I suspect some outpatients and clinics are doing things a little differently.
''Some people might be too frail to drive and don't want to rely on relatives to drive them. We want people to know we are still here and are happy to help.''
At level 2, strict cleaning procedures are in place and the vans are stocked with wipes and sanitiser. Drivers are required to wear masks, passengers are not.
''We think some might be under the impression that it's not safe.''
Katikati Community Van Service started in 1999 to transport locals from Waihi Beach, Katikati and Omokoroa to various medical appointments, many out-of-town.
Leslie says some appointments take longer. They can find drivers who are happy to drive clients long distance, assist tshem where required and wait for them.
Last year the existing van was busy and a second van was added with the help of grants.
The $58,000 Toyota Esquire was bought complete with electronically operated ramp for wheelchair-bound clients, reversing camera and GPS. The vans contain a defibrillator and first aid kit.
Despite the lack of use, Katikati Community Van Service are still on the lookout for drivers.
''Twenty-seven drivers might sound like a lot but nobody is on a set roster which can make things challenging. Last school holidays everyone was off. It would be good to get a few more.''
Leslie says it's a very rewarding role and volunteers meet lovely people all the time.
All volunteer drivers are police vetted so clients can feel secure. Bookings for the service are essential and can be made through the Katikati Community Centre on 549 0399.