Webinar on Improving Transit for Veterans

Providing transportation for military veterans in your community? There’s a guidebook!

AMMA partnered with KFH Group to develop TCRP Report 164: Community Tools to Improve Transportation Options for Veterans, Military Service Members, and Their Families.

This project was sponsored by the Transportation Research Board and provides guidance and tools to assess transportation needs of veterans and their families and ways to potentially improve public transit, specialized transportation, volunteer services, and other local transportation options needed to meet those needs.

Report authors Heather Menninger of AMMA and Buffy Ellis of KFH Group, presented their findings and community tools in a free webinar. Take a look here!

 

Grant Funding Secured for Medical Transportation in Blythe, CA.

The new Blythe Wellness Express service was selected for grant funding through the FTA’s Rides to Wellness Program. This service will increase access to preventative healthcare for Blythe area residents by providing transportation over 85 miles from Blythe, CA. to The Coachella Valley three times a week for medical appointments. The Blythe Wellness Express is one of two projects selected for funding in California and one of 19 nationwide.

Riverside County Transportation Commission applied for the grant in partnership with Palo Verde Valley Transit Agency for $185,753 to implement the Blythe Wellness Express. This travel navigator/mobility management coordination project will address access to services in an underserved area and involve staff from the public transit agency, healthcare providers and community volunteers. This project will provide an evaluation piece will document health-related outcomes.

Read more about the Blythe Wellness Express service here.

Additional funding partners are Palo Verde Hospital, Community Improvement Fund, 4th District Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit, and the Independent Living Partnership. Support of this project also includes; US Congressman Raul Ruiz, CA State Senator Jeff Stone, the City of Blythe, Blythe Police Department, Blythe Chamber of Commerce, Riverside University Healthcare System, Sheltering Wings, Escuela De La Raza Unida, First Southern Baptist Church of Blythe, Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG), Sunline Transit Agency and the RCTC Citizen Advisory Committee.

This grant is part of the FTA’s Rides to Wellness Demonstration and Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility Grants program. This program emphasizes public transportation as a strategy for people to access non-emergency healthcare, resulting in better health, fewer hospital visits and lower costs. The initiative focuses on improving the health of those with chronic conditions and ensuring that at-risk populations can get to wellness appointments, healthy food, and community services.

FTA Rides to Wellness Grant Pursued for Palo Verde Valley

BWE RouteImproved mobility for medical trip needs may soon be coming to the Palo Verde Valley!

The trek from Blythe, California, an isolated, agricultural town in the Palo Verde Valley to the Coachella Valley, is over 100 miles. Literally in the Colorado Desert, the City of Blythe and the surrounding communities are also in a healthcare desert. The local hospital, clinics and cancer centers work tirelessly to serve the community, but the area faces a shortage of registered nurses, primary care health professionals, mental health professionals, and the population has been designated by the state as medically underserved. Those who can drive or get a ride to the abundance of services and specialists in the Coachella Valley, seek medical care those. Others don’t. Their medical needs are left unattended and untreated.

There is no public transportation between Blythe and the Coachella Valley. There’s no way to get there. Until now. The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) applied for funding under the FTA’s new FTA  Rides to Wellness Program. This grant offering seeks to increase access to care, improve health outcomes, reduce health care costs by funding innovate projects. RCTC partnered with PVVTA, the Palo Verde Valley Transit Agency, and local health care agencies to create a Rides to Wellness program for the Blythe community.

If funded, the Blythe Wellness Express will run up to three days a week, providing transportation from Blythe to hospitals in Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, and Palm Springs. This medical transportation program will provide a lifeline for an underserved population to get to desperately needed medical care. Read more about the Blythe Wellness Express and the grant application at the Palo Verde Valley Times.

The grant application for this new transportation program was submitted May 25, 2016 and is currently under review.

AMMA is honored to have assisted RCTC and PVVTA with this undertaking and wishes to thank the many partners who made this project possible:

Palo Verde Hospital, Blythe Cancer Resource Center, Palo Verde Valley Community Improvement Fund, Community Connect/ Riverside County VTCLI, Independent Living Partnership TRIP, U.S. Congressman Raul Ruiz, California State Senator Jeff Stone, Supervisor John J. Benoit, City of Blythe Mayor Joseph DeConinck, Blythe Police Department, Blythe Chamber of Commerce, Riverside University Health Care System, Salud Corporation- Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, Sheltering Wings Corporation, Escuela de la Raza Unida, First Southern Baptist Church, Southern California Association of Governments, Coachella Valley Association of Governments, SunLine Transit Agency, RCTC Citizen Advisory Committee Members

 

 

LTA Board Approves Driver Wage Increase after AMMA Study

IMG_2335_1024AMMA’s most recently concluded project, a driver wage and benefit survey of 20 agencies, resulted in positive news: the Lake Transit Authority’s Board of Directors voted to raise wages for its contracted Paratransit Services employees by 8.16 percent.

This survey effort included cultivating a list of peer California transit agencies based on comparable population sizes, proximity to Lake County, and similar topographical characteristics. This group of 20 agencies responded to a survey of 26-questions about system characteristics comparable to Lake Transit characteristics that could impact wage and benefit packages. The survey also included detailed questions about driver wages and driver benefits, including sick and vacation leave, healthcare and retirement.

Analysis of the survey results revealed that Lake Transit’s experience is consistently below the median wages for contracted drivers–both part-time and full-time–and substantially lower than the comparable numbers for in-house transit drivers. Additionally, Lake Transit policies of driver wage rates and benefit packages are below their peers on almost every measure.

Presented with this data, the Board unanimously approved the wage increase, as detailed in this Record-Bee article. Lake Transit is now awaiting final Caltrans approval.

AMMA is proud to have conducted this effort and grateful to the 20 participating peer agencies. Congratulations to the Paratransit Services Drivers!

TRB Publishes Heather Menninger’s and Virginia Werly’s Travel Training Case Study

RTA-Case-StudyWe are pleased to announce that the ADA Demand Estimation Case Study written by AMMA’s Heather Menninger and RTA’s Virginia Werly was selected for publication!

“ADA Cost Savings and Increased Fixed-Route Ridership through Transit Agency-Provided Travel Training“ was published by the Transportation Research Record, Journal Volume 2419.

This paper provides a case study of Riverside Transit Agency’s Freedom to Go Travel Training Program and reports on the experience of 207 individuals with disabilities. The study focused on the training of persons with disabilities, and reported on trainees’ fixed-route use, including other outcomes associated with the reduction of ADA complementary paratransit costs. The paper discusses the import of travel training provided by transit agencies. Related opportunities are identified, as well as the ability to report actual, documented cost savings.

The abstract can be viewed here.

Congratulations Heather and Virginia and thank you for your work in promoting enhanced mobility options for all individuals!

Webinar on Improving Transportation for Veterans

image006AMMA is pleased to participate in a webinar presenting TCRP Report 164: Community Tools to Improve Transportation Options for Veterans, Military, Service Members and Their Families.

This free webinar is taking place Thursday, March 12th 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm (ET) and is presented by the National Transit Institute, in cooperation with the Transportation Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). Presenters include KFH’s Buffly Ellis and AMMA’s Heather Menninger.

The webinar will showcase examples of community solutions that address the transportation challenges facing veterans, their family members, and active service members.

Register at NTIOnline.com.

View Presentations from the International Conference on Demand Responsive Transit

October’s International Demand Responsive Transit Conference, “Shaping the New Future of Paratransit,” was widely successful, engendering much dialogue and sharing of creative models for delivering quality DRT.

Presentations are now available on the conference website here, thanks to the many accomplished speakers. To view a presentation, click on a speaker’s name underneath the presentation title.

Many thanks to TRB and the Steering Committee for all their effort in coordinating this event.

Hear AMMA Present on Veterans Transportation in Monterey, CA

Next week, the AMMA team will be in Monterey, CA attending two conference: the 21st National Conference on Rural Public & Intercity Bus Transportation and TRB’s Shaping the New Future of Paratransit: An International Conference on Demand Responsive Transportation 

These conferences will bring together transit professionals and researchers from across California, the Nation and the world to discuss the ins and outs of rural, small urban, and demand responsive transportation.

AMMA’s Heather Menninger and Buffy Ellis of KHF Group will be presenting on TRB Report 164: Community Tools to Improve Transportation Options for Veterans, Military Service Members, and Their Families.

It’s not too late to register!

CalACT’s National Rural Public and Intercity Bus Conference: http://www2.calact.org/events/register/RIBTC-conference/

International Conference on Demand Responsive Transportation: http://www.cvent.com/events/shaping-the-future-for-paratransit/event-summary-412e7b4752bf41f58e038909c0864c92.aspx

AMMA Leads Title VI Development Workshops

CalACT caltrans logosAMMA Transit Planning just completed its series of full-day Title VI Development workshops for transit agencies with less than 50 vehicles. These workshops were made possible through the California Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP), which is administered by CalACT on behalf of Caltrans DMT. These statewide workshops were hosted by Paratransit Inc. in Sacramento, Access Services in El Monte, and by CalACT prior to its 2014 Spring Expo and Conference in San Diego.

Workshops were designed to assist rural and small urban transit operators with less than 50 vehicles understand the complex FTA Title VI regulation (FTA C. 4702.1B ) and provide a road map for developing a fully-compliant Title VI Program. The workshop provided hands-on assistance by the AMMA Transit Planning team, individuals who are deep into these regulations and have developed six Title VI Programs for providers across the state. AMMA has developed several MS Word templates to facilitate providers’ development of plans, including developing systemwide service standards and policies and preparing a community-specific language assistance plan.

Participants represented CTSAs, consulting agency, RTPAs, city transit programs, rural/small urban transit providers, large urban providers, nonprofits or human service transit providers.

Title VI of the Civil Right Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination by recipients of Federal funding on the basis of race, color, or national origin to any public. FTA has developed requirements for Title VI  Programs for recipients of its funds, as detailed in FTA Circular 4702.1B. Recipients that receive funding through Caltrans must complete their Title VI program by June 30, 2014 and all federal recipients must update their Title VI Programs every three years.

Title VI Development tools and resources are available on CalACT’s website here.

Thank you to our generous host agencies!

Success with Eastern Coachella Valley TRIP

NorthShoreEastern Coachella Valley TRIP is in full swing and successfully getting residents of North Shore to jobs and work-related activities. The Transit Reimbursement Project, a program of the Independent Living Partnership, enables qualified riders to provide mileage reimbursements to volunteer drivers.

The North Shore is an isolated, rural, and agricultural region of the Salton Sea in Riverside County. Many residents are agricultural workers and need to travel long distances to work in the fields throughout the area.  Other families depend on jobs in the hospitality sector on the west side of the Coachella Valley and many of their children attend the College of the Desert Campus located in Palm Desert.  For some, the daily commute can be 36 miles each way.

Eastern Coachella Valley TRIP was anticipated to enable 24,000 rides impacting 200 jobs between November 2013 and March 2014. We are happy to report that the program completed over 37,000 rides with 264 jobs affected.

Visit the TRIP website for more information about the mileage reimbursement program.