Grants & Assistance For TransporationOnce upon a time, most people's day-to-day activities centered on their town and neighborhood. Those days are long gone. What was once an errand trip within walking distance is now a thirty-minute drive. A simple bicycle ride to the small, local market has become an hour-long freeway adventure to a shopping mall that is probably visible from space. Mobility is a necessity for anyone living in our society. The need for reliable transportation affects a person's employment, education, access to medical services, and daily family life. The cost of travel has also increased sharply over the years. So what are you to do if obtaining access to transportation is beyond your budget, or if you suffer from limited mental or physical ability, or poor health?
Here is some information that might help you get that much-needed mobility.
Reduced fare programs for public transportationDisabilities & Senior Citizens – Senior citizens or individuals with disabilities can benefit from half fares as public transportation systems that receive federal funding are required to offer this rate during off-peak travel. Keep in mind: this discount is only the minimum one they must offer. There is also a transportation service known as Paratransit, recognized in the United States as special transportation services for people with disabilities. These services may vary considerably, ranging from a taxi or small bus that will run along a more-or-less defined route, an on-demand, call-up, door-to-door service, from any origin to any destination in a service area.
Typically, minibusses are used to provide Paratransit services, and most of these vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps to facilitate access.
Check out some of the largest private contractors of Paratransit services like TransDev, First Transit, and MV Transportation for more information.
StudentsMany students living in urban areas heavily depend on the public transportation systems, and most of the major transit systems offer discounted fares to students. Look into the discounts offered by public transport providers in your area.
Low-income ridersAstonishingly, for most families, transportation costs are the second-biggest budget item after housing. If your mobility needs are breaking the bank, you should look into what's available in your area. Here are some examples of services that might be just what you need!
Sun Tran of Tucson, Arizona offers low-income passengers reduced fares through the Economy Pass Program.
The Regional Transportation Authority of Northeastern Illinois offers free fare cards for low-income seniors and people with disabilities.
Iowa City Transit helps low-income riders with discounted passes, off-peak travel, and sometimes free rides.
Michigan's TheRide offers low-income individuals the Fare Deal Card. This card is also available for persons with disabilities and senior citizens.
Washington State's Kitsap Transit helps low-income individuals take advantage of their reduced fare cards on offer, which is also open to people who are already receiving state or federal aid.
If you don't live in one of these areas, ask about possible reduced fare programs in your city or town!
Car ownershipAlthough employment may be plentiful in some regions, there are an increasing number of jobs only available in suburban areas, making them inaccessible to workers who live in cities or rural communities. Public transportation is often inadequate or even non-existent in rural areas, and if a parent's job and childcare provider are far apart, public transportation just doesn't cut it.
Car ownership can be a solution to these challenges. Some states have access to vehicle ownership programs supported by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds.
DonationsIt is possible to put in a donation request, but most of these offers are reserved for non-profit organizations rather than individuals, making your carefully drafted letter a futile attempt. It's not impossible, though, and organizations like Car Donation Online may make it happen. Just submit your help request, and they'll get back to you.
Sounds great, right? Well, before you try to set a new world record for the fastest online submission in history, stop and consider. If you are currently receiving assistance from sources like TANF, SSI, SSDI, Welfare, or Food Stamps, acceptance of tangible property, gifts, financial support or services may affect or terminate your benefits.
I think I should make that point again: accepting a car via donation may affect or even terminate any benefits you currently have.
Grants and loansObtaining a government grant or loan can be rather challenging, as most of the funding opportunities are for organizations, not individuals. Nevertheless, you won't know unless you ask! It's best to use the federal government's free, official website, rather than commercial sites that may charge a fee for grant information or application forms. These channels will also help you avoid the "free grant" scams that lurk out there.
As previously mentioned, contacting your local TANF office to apply for financial assistance is always a good idea.
CarpoolsIf you don't have a vehicle and are looking for a ride, or if you already have a car but need to cut down on your commuting expenses, carpooling might be the ticket for you. You can smirk at those stuck in gridlock traffic while you cruise down the carpool lane like the Queen of England. But what if you don't know anybody who makes the same commute as you? Well, let me throw that overused statement at you: there's an app for that.
Check out Waze Rider, a carpool app which teams up drivers and riders and makes commuting more convenient and affordable. The app is available for Apple and Android devices.
RidesharesWe're still in app-land as this brave new world is full of creative ways to get around. Ridesharing is yet another way to fulfill your transportation needs, and once again, there's an app for that. Uber and Lyft are among the best known. Based on the GPS location of the passenger's phone, these apps match passengers requesting rides with drivers. The app sends driver contact info to the passenger, a text when the driver arrives, and then prompts the passenger to pay at the end of the ride. Every driver needs to pass a DMV check and background check before getting started!
And there you have it. We hope this information assists you in obtaining that much-needed mobility.