RYDE for Seniors Shifts into High Gear with Expansion for Local Residents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             
May 20, 2021


SAN JOSE – Seniors in five West Valley cities (Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga), Morgan Hill, and parts of San Jose will soon be able to get around more easily thanks to a recent expansion of Reach Your Destination Easily (RYDE), a service that provides rides to residents over 65. But not all residents are aware of the expansion, or that they qualify for the program at all.

To inform residents about this development and connect them to service providers in their area, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian will co-host a RYDE Webinar on Wednesday, June 2nd at 3 p.m. He will be joined by West Valley Community Services (WVCS) and the Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council (SASCC), the two non-profits that currently operate the program.

“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,” said Simitian. “The goal of this event is to make sure folks know how to access these services when they’re ready to get back out in the community.”

Simitian spearheaded efforts to launch RYDE in 2017, noting that it was a critical effort to combat senior isolation. At the time, the program aimed to serve residents in Saratoga, Cupertino, Campbell, Los Gatos, and Monte Sereno.

In March 2021, the Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) awarded RYDE $652,701 in 2016 Measure B grant funding to facilitate its expansion into Morgan Hill and parts of San Jose in the following zip codes – 95118, 95119, 95122, 95123, and 95139. RYDE currently operates in four San Jose zip codes – 95129, 95130, 95120, and 95124.

VTA set aside this 2016 Measure B funding to support innovative transit service models that address first/last-mile connections.

"RYDE has had an enormous impact, making it possible for older adults to stay connected to their community,” said Josh Selo, Executive Director at WVCS. “We are excited to have the opportunity to bring this program to even more folks in our county." 

Simitian said the program’s innovation comes not from high-tech gadgets, but from relying on partnerships with community-based organizations that can 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.

Over the past year, these services have included vital resources related to COVID-19: "RYDE has remained in service throughout most of the pandemic, ensuring that seniors would have safe and reliable access to the places they need to go, including testing and vaccination appointments,” said Tylor Taylor, Executive Director of SASCC. “As the county continues to reopen, we look forward to helping more seniors break out of isolation and get back into their communities."

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. RYDE serves residents 65 and up. The average RYDE client is 77 years old.

Interested residents can join Simitian, Taylor, and Selo at the June 2nd Webinar to learn more about the service and hear about the experiences of RYDE clients (“RYDErs”) and drivers. 

Carol, a “RYDEr”, provides one example: “RYDE has allowed me to stay independent, and that is so important as we age.”

To register for the RYDE Webinar, follow this link: tinyurl.com/huwf5pwc. Residents can also call into the Webinar on the day of the event by phone at +1 669 219 2599 or +1 669 900 6833 and input the Webinar ID: 923 4359 2196.



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