Seniors And People With Disabilities Can Go Places
Freedom Transit’s Shared Ride Program provides public transit for seniors and people with disabilities to go places. It’s different from catching a bus that followed a fixed route.
Shared ride programs offer an individualized service for riders. It’s also referred to as demand-responsive – the service is provided when people ask for it. They get picked up at their curb and get off at the curb when their destination is reached.
In a shared ride program, seniors or people with disabilities ride a van with other people on their way to work, a medical appointment, grocery shopping, church or other reasons. Other people could be picked up or dropped off before a rider reaches their destination.
Shared ride services are also called paratransit. To get paratransit service, riders have to:
- Register in advance
- Supply a driver’s license or photo ID card to prove their age
- Make a reservation by phone for the service the day before it’s needed
Seniors, who ride free on fixed-route buses, can use the shared ride program at Freedom Transit at a discount. They pay 15% of the paratransit fare. People with disabilities pay half price to use the paratransit service.
The fare can be paid in cash or using FreedomFlex. FreedomFlex is like a debit card – an account is loaded with funds in advance. Anyone – for instance, family members – can add funds using cash at the Washington Transit Center or a credit card by phone.
Anyone can use Freedom Transit’s shared ride service. If someone doesn’t qualify for a subsidy – if they’re not over 65 years old or don’t have a disability – they pay the full fare.
While Shared-Ride services are available to any Pennsylvanian, they are most used by seniors. Pennsylvania’s Senior Shared-Ride program allows people 65 years of age and older to use door-to-door transportation by paying only 15 percent of the fare, and the Lottery Fund pays the remaining 85 percent.
The service is funded by different state programs:
- The Senior Shared-Ride Program is the most used part of the paratransit service – taking seniors from curb to curb at a discounted rate paid for by the state lottery and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging.
- Adults with disabilities who aren’t old enough for the Senior Shared Ride Program can receive reduced rates on the shared ride program through the Persons with Disabilities Program.
- The Medical Assistance Transportation Program covers the cost of people getting to the doctor or other medical appointments, to pharmacies to have prescriptions filled or to purchase medical equipment. When they don’t live near a fixed-route bus line, the paratransit service is made available.
Freedom Transit also provides paratransit service for veterans traveling to the VA Medical Centers in Pittsburgh.
All people have to do to use it is register, book a ride and get picked up at the curb. The Shared Ride Program makes it possible for people to get around.
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