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United We Ride: Helping to Provide Rides for Seniors

Finding rides for seniors is crucial to getting them access to proper health care, employment, social activities, and education. For many older adults, mobility and lack of available transportation contribute to isolation or a feeling of helplessness.

United We Ride (UWR), “a federal interagency initiative,” aims to improve the availability of senior transportation, so older adults have the opportunity to find low-cost, efficient transportation services in their area. 

Senior Transportation for Medical Needs

One of the biggest challenges seniors face regarding lack of transportation is the ability to receive timely medical care. It can be challenging to find rides for seniors when access to low-cost options or an accessible bus route are minimal.

This situation can lead to missed appointments, lack of proper medical care, and even life-threatening situations. And these challenges aren’t just for seniors in rural areas — In fact, many people in urban and suburban areas still “struggle to find reliable transportation” due to financial hardship or long travel distances. 

Social Interaction and Health for Seniors

One of the greatest concerns for aging adults is the lack of social interaction. The National Institute on Aging says “that social isolation may have significant adverse effects for older adults.” These effects may include loneliness that affects both physical and emotional health, or leads to depression and higher systolic blood pressure. 

Thus, providing rides for seniors could be a way to encourage social interaction with other seniors, family members, and the community. Sometimes even a simple trip to the store can help elevate someone’s mood, especially if they spend much of their day alone at home. 

A term associated with positive emotional and physical health in seniors is social capital, or “the potential of individuals to secure benefits and invent solutions to problems through membership in social networks.” Mobility is a key factor in developing greater social capital.

In fact, one study found that seniors “living in areas with greater social capital had significantly higher physical mobility scores.” This means that access to senior transportation truly does matter for overall health and wellness in older adults. The more rides for seniors, the more opportunities to build your social network. 

Getting Seniors Access to Basic Needs 

When you can drive or have easy access to transportation, the thought of securing basic needs may never occur to you. But for many seniors, simple tasks like shopping can be a struggle. 

Getting to the store is crucial for older adults to get proper nutrition for themselves and supplies for their pets. Some seniors can feel like a burden and not ask for help out of fear. With services like FACT SD, seniors have a one-stop-shop that can help them access rides to the store without feeling like they have to rely on a family member or caregiver to drive them somewhere. 

Do you or a loved one need help to find reliable rides for seniors in San Diego? Contact FACT SD today to get more information on affordable senior transportation!

October 21, 2019 / by / in ,
Getting Around: Rides for People with Disabilities

People with disabilities often struggle to find secure, safe, affordable transportation. Getting basic needs and going to-and-from medical appointments become a challenge due to lack of mobility. So, what are the options for rides for people with disabilities? And what should an individual or caregiver consider when searching for low-cost transportation options?

Public Transportation is Non-Discriminatory

It’s important to know what the laws are regarding discrimination when using programs that receive Federal Funds, regardless of mode of public transportation.

In accordance with Title VI and the US Department of Transportation, “a transit agency’s ADA complementary paratransit service, as well as its fixed-route service, must comply with Title VI.”

Paratransit, or special transportation services for people with disabilities, is meant to serve as a supplement to existing public transit systems. And Title VI ensures that all riders of transit services that offer specific ADA transportation must ensure that riders’ rights are respected. Discrimination against a rider based on their disability is not tolerated. Services like North Country Transit District and MTS both offer paratransit services as a subset to their normal transportation services.

Additionally, “states, transit agencies, and metropolitan planning organizations that pass funds through to sub-recipients must monitor their sub-recipients to ensure the sub-recipients are in compliance with equal access and non discrimination provisions of the law Rides for people with disabilities should not only be available but also be reliable and free of harassment, regardless of what organization is providing the mandated ADA  services. 

Managed mobility services like FACT SD take great care to ensure that all riders feel respected

What is Considered Specialized Transportation?

Specialized transportation is transit designed to specifically address the needs of persons with disabilities. This may also include specific services that assist seniors with transportation needs. 

To address the growing need for specialized transportation, SANDAG has created a strategic plan to improve San Diego’s transportation systems to provide better service to seniors and persons with disabilities. This includes a Regional Plan that aims to guide investments through the year 2050. 

The benefits of providing specialized transportation are immense, giving greater mobility to individuals that struggle to access reliable, fixed-route service. 

An example of specialized transportation would be mandated ADA paratransit services. This is defined as an “alternative mode of flexible passenger transportation that does not follow fixed routes or schedules, and can offer door-to-door service that is particularly important for people with disabilities.” Often, these services include modified vehicles that include lifts for people needing wheelchair access. These services may vary on the degree of flexibility that they provide their customers as they are not subject to the same guidelines as specialized services.

ADA Paratransit services must be offered by those public transportation systems that offer fixed-route service, to ensure that riders with disabilities can get to the same locations and take advantage of the same low-cost transportation given to other riders.

Examples of Specialized Transportation in San Diego

FACT SD acts as a one-stop-shop for mobility services for seniors, veterans, and any persons with disabilities.  FACT is a resource for any individual with mobility challenges who needs information about the public ADA paratransit services and numerous nonprofit and private service options available in San Diego County.

Some of these resources include:

FACT SD is proud to be a reliable source for helping find rides for people with disabilities. Want to know about all of our amazing transportation services in San Diego? Contact us today!

October 7, 2019 / by / in
Affordable Senior Transportation in San Diego

Caregivers and seniors often feel helpless when transportation services are limited, especially when it comes to keeping medical appointments. But seniors don’t have to have to feel stuck. Affordable senior transportation is available in many areas around the country, including San Diego County, through agencies like FACT.

We act as a one-stop-shop that seniors and their caregivers can use to access timely, safe, efficient transportation throughout San Diego County, including all 18 cities. Let’s take a look at some of the options.

Senior Transportation Predicament

As more and more Americans are aging, they have a greater need for specialized transportation services. Demographic projections show dramatic increases in older adults needing social services and care. With this rise, there is concern over where so many aging adults will get their needs met, including transportation, which is also key to meeting all their other needs. 

Mobility Management

If you haven’t heard of mobility management services, you’re not alone. These services help communities by offering options for getting around town. Rather than provide one type of transportation service, mobility management compiles information about a wide variety of service options so that people can make empowered decisions about their transportation. 

This is especially important for seniors, as many do not know the options available. Often, if seniors don’t drive, they can feel isolated. Even if they have someone to take them places, if they have a spontaneous or more urgent need, that person may not always be available to help. 

Mobility management services are often provided by nonprofit groups that work to support their communities by educating the public, establishing partnerships with various transportation providers, and promoting easy access to transportation options. 

Affordable Senior Transportation Options

There are a number of options that mobility management services offer for seniors. Here are some of the most well-known:

Private Driving Services

Many people are turning to driving services that provide more individualized experiences, allowing seniors to run errands on their own time, rather than being subject to bus timetables. This can also be helpful for seniors that have special needs that are more difficult to accommodate public transportation. 

An example would be the services offered at Care.com, that allow you to choose from a variety of private drivers in your area, including name, experience, rates, and reviews. 

While these services are more personalized and cost-effective for occasional outings, there may be options more suitable for regular activities. 

Bus and Paratransit Services

We’re all familiar with local bus and rail that provide affordable transportation, which can still be a great option for older adults who can navigate the public transportation system.

For those that may need more specialized assistance, there is ADA paratransit: reasonably priced, curb-to-curb transportation service that allows people to travel to the same areas that other public transportation goes. 

Contracted Transportation Services

For seniors that are a part of a senior living community or specialized senior support groups, there may be transportation services already a part of an agency’s offerings. This is worth looking into, as they often offer lower rates than private transportation services and can suit a wider variety of unique senior transportation needs. 

With so many options, it may be hard to know the best route to take, literally and figuratively. FACT is here to help. Contact us with questions about booking a ride or finding the right affordable senior transportation for you or your loved one. 

RideFACT

RideFACT is operated by FACT for individuals who are not able to use the transportation options listed above. When it is not possible to connect a senior to any other mobility option in the County, FACT will offer transportation via its own service named RideFACT.  

This is a curb-to-curb, affordable, and convenient transportation service that covers all San Diego County. It is available between 7 am and 8 pm on weekdays. The fare begins at $2.50 for shorter rides and companions can ride for free. 

FACT is a nonprofit based in Oceanside and designated by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) as the Consolidated Transportation Service Agency (CTSA) for San Diego County. We strive to ensure that reliable transportation is accessible to all San Diego County residents. Contact us to learn more about finding your next ride!

September 16, 2019 / by / in ,
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