Affordable curb-to-curb transportation service is now available to a larger number of older adults in parts of San Jose as Santa Clara County partners with the service called Reach Your Destination Easily, or RYDE.
The service aims to help seniors maintain their independence, giving them rides to run errands, attend appointments and social events, and more.
It is expanding to three new San Jose ZIP codes, 95118, 95119, and 95122, which were chosen based on their lack of transportation options as well as larger senior populations. Currently, the transportation service extends to Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Morgan Hill, and more areas are expected to be added later this year.
County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who chairs the county's Children, Seniors and Families Committee, said that the transportation service will reach thousands of seniors.
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"This expanded service keeps seniors moving and actively engaged in the community which is good for their overall health," Chavez said in a news release.
"We don't have control over how old we get, but we have control over how active and engaged we want to be in day-to-day activities."
The service will take older adults up to 8 miles from their homes for non-medical trips, or for medical trips up to 16 miles. The fees are based on income and the number of miles traveled, which can range from 90 cents to $18 per ride with financial assistance available. The service's hours of transportation are listed as 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Vanessa Merlano Sittauer, who manages the county's senior nutrition program, spoke of the growing aging population in Santa Clara County and the increased demand for services for that community.
"Whether it's providing hot meals or arranging easy and affordable transportation, our goal is to empower older adults in our community in order to live independently wherever they wish," Sittauer said.
According to RYDE, older adults must be ambulatory and may only be accompanied by one passenger. The service does not accommodate wheelchairs or motorized scooters. The drivers are a mix of community volunteers and paid staff, and they must go through FBI and Department of Justice background screening as well as specialized training and continued education.