Senior Transportation Program, RYDE, Drives Off With Additional Funding From Measure “B” And County
SENIOR TRANSPORATION PROGRAM, RYDE, DRIVES OFF WITH ADDITIONAL FUNDING FROM MEASURE “B” AND COUNTY
SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has approved an agreement with the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to provide additional funding for the senior transportation program known as RYDE (Reach Your Destination Easily). The funding allows even more seniors to access RYDE.
Currently RYDE provides affordable and responsive curb-to-curb transportation for older adults, age 65 years and older, in the West Valley communities of Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Saratoga, in addition to Morgan Hill and areas of San Jose. The increased funding will allow RYDE to expand its current range of service into the following San Jose zip codes: 95118, 95119, 95122, 95123, 95139, and 95037.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Simitian says he hopes to keep growing the program. “It’s gratifying to see a pilot project like RYDE prove itself and grow to serve more communities,” said Simitian. “I knew this program was working when I had people come up to me at my sidewalk office hours and share how the service was making a difference in their lives; now the numbers bear that out.”
“The RYDE program has enabled older adults to remain connected to their community and their social safety net,” says Josh Selo, Executive Director of West Valley Community Services. “Transportation and equitable access to public and private services is and will continue to be a pain point for many area older adults.”
“RYDE has continued to provide service throughout the pandemic, not only providing transportation to vaccine appointments but also delivering much needed food and essential items to older adults sheltering in place,” said Tylor Taylor, Executive Director of the Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council. “This expansion with partnership from the County's Social Services Agency is another demonstration of the flexibility the program and our ability to scale.”
Funding for RYDE will come from 2016 Measure B grant funds through a revenue agreement with VTA. In addition to expanding the area of service, a position will be added to the County’s Social Services Agency to help manage the program.
“To see this program secure dedicated Measure B and County resources is a step in the right direction,” said Simitian. “As our county ages, there will be an increasing need to provide transportation to older adults, not just to meet their day-to-day needs, but their mental health needs as well.”
RYDE officially launched in October of 2017, in an effort spearheaded by Simitian, with nonprofits Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council (SASCC) and West Valley Community Services (WVCS), and was intended to work in concert with existing County programs, services, and initiatives. The program looked to address the transportation needs of older adults in areas of Santa Clara County where public transportation is less accessible.
With a quick phone call, ambulatory older adults can schedule a ride to their doctors’ offices, dentist appointment, or grocery store. RYDE maintains three service hubs with each serving a portion of the total service area. Each hub in turn is managed by a RYDE coordinator who oversees trip scheduling, driving staff, and data collection for their respective service area.
“The expansion of the RYDE program, building on several years of successful implementation in the West Valley, will help meet the current and growing needs of our community's older adults and ensure that our region's seniors can fully participate and thrive in our County,” said Selo.