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Recent Surveys Validate Success of Innovative Volunteer Driver Services

RIVERSIDE, Calif: Recent surveys of transit dependent clients of two related, but separate volunteer driver programs, report the same result of nearly unanimous approval and endorsement of the volunteer driver services.

A client of the Pay-Your-Pal volunteer driver program from very rural Lake County California wrote, Without Pay-Your-Pal I would be very limited, unable to buy groceries, make my medical appointments consistently and have a physical person (friend) help me to move (walk) without falling, getting in and out of vehicles. A client of the TRIP program in Riverside California wrote, I would recommend this service because it changes people's lives.

Richard Smith, CEO of the Independent Living Partnership (ILP), says, Both services use the innovative volunteer driver mileage reimbursement TRIP model created and pioneered by ILP 1993. He says, TRIP model volunteer services for transit dependent people permit clients to select volunteers from among friends, allow clients and their volunteer drivers to arrange for trips when necessary and convenient, and then pay mileage reimbursements for the volunteer drivers.

According to Paratransit Services employee Karl Parker, Mobility Programs Coordinator for Lake Transit Authority in Lower Lake California, As is typically the case in rural areas, many residents of Lake County are unable to use public transportation. Either they can't access transit, or local transit does not serve the areas where they need to go. The TRIP volunteer driver program is filling these gaps, making it possible for many isolated people to access essential services.

Parker continues, In contrast to other volunteer driver program models, the TRIP design eliminates the need to recruit, train, certify, supervise, and compensate drivers and does not require acquisition and maintenance of vehicles. Furthermore, the program does not require any staff involvement in scheduling or dispatch, and liability is extremely limited so there's no insurance burden. According to Parker, The primary benefits that the TRIP model program has provided for the Lake Transit Authority include the economy of lower cost service and simplicity of operation.

Smith and Parker agree that the completed surveys of clients strongly support the effectiveness of the special service that the TRIP model is able to deliver. The Pay-Your-Pal survey reports that clients rate the transportation they receive as essential to their health and well-being. Riverside's Chief Operating Officer, Ivet Woolridge, says, Knowing that most TRIP riders live alone, we focused on the importance of TRIP in getting medical care and TRIP's impact on client isolation. The data showed that TRIP is not only able to make sure individuals are able to make their healthcare appointments, but also is able to give them the opportunity to maintain, gain or increase their social involvement.

The rural Pay-Your-Pal service was started 2015 and the original TRIP service, in mixed urban, suburban and rural geography, has been operating for more than 26 years. ILP, creator of the rider focused TRIP volunteer driver model, assists agencies and organizations across the country to start and operate similar services based on TRIP's experience. Information about how to start a volunteer driver mileage reimbursement service is available at ILPconnect.org.

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Recent Surveys Validate Success of Innovative Volunteer Driver Services


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