RYDES FOR SENIORS GET A BOOST
SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority – VTA – has awarded Reach Your Destination Easily (RYDE) $652,701 in 2016 Measure B grant funding.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian spearheaded efforts to launch RYDE in 2017, noting that it was a critical effort to combat senior isolation by providing rides to seniors in the West Valley. With this new 2016 Measure B funding, RYDE will be able to expand into San Jose in the following zip codes - 95118, 95119, 95122, 95123, and 95139 - as well as increase service to the entire Morgan Hill 95037 zip code.
“RYDE has proven its worth in the West Valley. I’m pleased that the program will serve even more community members due to this grant,” said Simitian. “As we look to a future where people can more safely socialize, we want to make sure no community member is left housebound due to lack of transportation.”
RYDE is currently operated by two non-profits, West Valley Community Services and the Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council, who bring more than just transportation services to the seniors they serve – they also connect them to programming and services through specially trained drivers who are knowledgeable about their senior clientele.
"RYDE has had an enormous impact, making it possible for older adults to stay connected to their community. We are excited to have the opportunity to bring this program to even more folks in our county," said Josh Selo, Executive Director at West Valley Community Services.
RYDE fees are based on income and the number of miles from destination to destination. Prices can range from $0.90 to $18. Drivers will help with safety belts, if needed, and caregivers or companions may accompany seniors at no additional charge. RYDE staff also help seniors connect to transit centers and support larger trip planning outside the RYDE service areas. The average RYDE client is 81 years old.
In October 2017, the VTA Board of Directors adopted the 2016 Measure B Transit Operations Program Category Guidelines. One of the 2016 Measure B subcategories funds projects and programs that support innovative transit service models to address first/last-mile connections. VTA staff recognized that the RYDE program provides more than transit to transit-dependent populations, through their unique partnerships with community-based organizations that provide services to seniors.
“RYDE has been serving Saratoga, Cupertino, Campbell, Los Gatos, and Monte Sereno. The expansion into San Jose and Morgan Hill is great news,” said Simitian.