RIVERSIDE, Calif., Aug. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- For the 12-month period ending this past June, the TRIP Program has provided nearly 120,000 free rides to residents of Riverside County – enabling them to see their doctors, shop for groceries or participate in social and community events. Those trips add up to 1.67 million miles, or the equivalent of circling the Earth 78 times. The nonprofit Independent Living Partnership (ILP) has operated the TRIP Program since 1993; more information is available at http://ilpconnect.org/.
"TRIP is a cost-effective and efficient program for a chronically underserved population," says TRIP General Manager Richard Smith. "The subsidy per passenger mile for TRIP this year was 41 cents, which is an unbelievably low cost to underwrite a special needs transportation service. Typically, a door-to-door van service will cost three dollars or more per passenger mile."
All communities have residents who lack any means for basic transportation. They may be elderly, sick or disabled, and living in an area without public transit services. In addition, they may not have family or close friends residing within a reasonable distance. Access to vital medical services is a major reason that people depend on TRIP, with 30% of trips during the last program year being for medical purposes. Another 20% were trips to grocery stores, and 18% were for other subsistence needs.
In addition to providing access to medical services, TRIP also empowers riders to participate in life-enhancing activities like socializing with friends and family. Lack of transportation can be a big psychological burden, and being essentially homebound can lead to hopelessness, isolation and depression. A 90-year-old, wheelchair-bound resident named Pauline, who had been a rider with the program for nearly a decade, recently wrote to express her gratitude for TRIP's "invaluable" services after relocating to a community without a similar program: "Since I cannot drive myself, TRIP has made it possible for me to keep in touch with friends and family and broadened opportunities for socialization, an important thing for a disabled and aged person." Pauline also depended on the program to get to various medical appointments across the area.
TRIP is made possible by the dedicated work of volunteer drivers. Mileage reimbursement is mostly funded through Federal 5310, Riverside County Transportation Commission, and Riverside County Office on Aging Older Americans Act grants. The program was designed by the travel commission and the office on aging, which have provided material support since its inception.
Program riders can recruit their own drivers from among their neighbors and friends. Riders can also receive coaching from TRIP staff on the best ways to ask people around them to volunteer their time and vehicles. Mileage reimbursement payments are made to enrolled riders, who pass them along to their drivers. This type of business transaction encourages riders and drivers to build a good relationship.
About the Independent Living Partnership
The Independent Living Partnership (ILP) works to ensure the independence and dignity of the elderly and persons with disabilities, their families and caregivers through education and access to empowering services and resources. More information about ILP and the highly regarded TRIP program is available at http://ilpconnect.org/.
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SOURCE Independent Living Partnership