A $1.3 million grant will cover free rides for thousands of Riverside County residents with mobility issues, it was announced Monday.
The grant awarded to the Independent Living Partnership, a non-profit geared toward improving transportation access, will assist more than 4,500 people across the county by providing free rides for transport to medical appointments and other needed services, according to Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert.
“Without access to reliable transportation, everyday essential activities like going to the grocery store or a doctor's appointment become impossibly difficult,” Ruiz said. “That's why I am so happy to have worked with the Independent Living Partnership to secure this funding so that individuals with mobility issues can access the services and activities that contribute to a healthy and full life.”
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The funding will support free rides over the next three years through ILP's Transportation Reimbursement and Information Project, or TRIP. Volunteers who opt to drive those who are unable to use public transportation due to age, illness or disability will receive mileage reimbursements through TRIP, according to Ruiz's office.
“In every community, there are older adults, others with disabilities, and the seriously ill that are unable to travel to meet basic subsistence, medical treatment and quality-of-life needs due to lack of service availability or mobility limitations caused by their physical or mental challenges,” said Richard Smith, executive director of the Independent Living Partnership.
Smith said ILP has provided more than 2 million trips for around 13,000 older adults and people with disabilities since 1993. “The intention of TRIP has been to provide a transportation alternative for these individuals to connect them with needed community services and resources and to keep them from being isolated or homebound,” he said.