Yesterday at the California Transportation Commission (CTC) meeting, the CTC awarded funding to four organizations in the San Luis Obispo region to continue and expand their Federal Transit Administration Section 5310 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities programs. Winners include the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), NCI Affiliates, Wilshire Community Services (WCS), and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)/ Ride-On Transportation. SLOCOG, NCI Affiliates, and Wilshire Community services each received $300,000 to further their programs. UCP/Ride-On Transportation received an award for five new buses (three large and two medium).
SLOCOG/SLO Regional Rideshare
SLOCOG/SLO Regional Rideshare’s mobility management program, Know How to GO!, provides resources and information to seniors and people with disabilities through traditional and digital communications; a Travel Trainer phone number; mobility options counseling; outreach events like the Afternoon Tea with Your Travel Trainer Workshop Series; and relationship-building with social service organizations and local/regional agencies. The program’s Travel Trainer is available during business hours Monday through Friday to help callers understand all the options available to them for getting from point A to point B.
NCI Affiliates and its subsidiary Achievement House (AHI) provide a wide range of vocational rehabilitation, education, social development, and community living skills to intellectually and developmentally disabled adults in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara counties. NCI and AHI offer its disabled adult population free door-through-door transportation alternatives. Door-through-door service means that drivers pickup, transport, and escort disabled adults to and from appointments, errands, interviews, employment work sites, etc.—often accompanying passengers to their destinations to assist with paperwork, shopping, and other needs.
Wilshire Community Services
Wilshire Community Services (WCS) got its start 20+ years ago as a grassroots effort to bridge gaps in safety net services available to older and disabled adults in the region. WCS strives to bring dignity and respect to the process of aging by providing a myriad of opportunities that lower stress, strengthen community connections, and improve outlook and mood. WCS will be implementing a pilot project that expands their driver base from only volunteers to both volunteer drivers and paid staff, allowing more people to access transportation when it matters most. This hybrid model will help Wilshire broaden their service area, increase their service hours, and provide more rides.
UCP/ Ride-On Transportation
UCP/ Ride-On Transportation transports passengers 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Since 1987, Ride-On’s purpose has been to provide programs, services, and transportation to children and adults with Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities. Ride-On also provides transportation for social service agencies and individuals to increase access for riders and maximize the use of their fleet. Uniquely, Ride-On has a large fleet of over 90 vans, buses, and wheelchair lift-equipped vehicles, in addition to a number of paid, well-trained staff.
“These kinds of programs help seniors and people with disabilities feel more connected in their communities. And helping people be more connected—to people, jobs, nourishment, resources, etc.—is the very design of transportation,” said SLOCOG Executive Director Peter Rodgers.
Each of these programs, briefly described above, are designed to enhance mobility for seniors and people with disabilities. FTA’s Section 5310 Program makes federal resources available to improve mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities by removing barriers to transportation service and expanding transportation mobility options. The program supports transportation services in all areas – large, small, urban, and rural.