Urging Pennsylvanians to review transit options and apply for transportation assistance programs

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – Officials from the Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation (PennDOT) and Human Services (DHS) recently urged Pennsylvania residents to use Find My Ride (FMR) to learn about public transportation options and apply for transportation assistance programs. Participants emphasized the critical role of transit in getting people to work and medical appointments while connecting them to their communities.

Public transportation services are available in every county in Pennsylvania, including:

Shared ride service in all 67 counties;

fixed-route bus service in 49 counties; And the

Fixed rail service in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

“Transit provides a vital connection to jobs, medical appointments, and our communities,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Multimodal Transportation Jenny Lowers. “We urge Pennsylvania residents to try transit, and we’re excited that it’s now easier to access these services.”

People are encouraged to use the FMR App, an online tool developed in collaboration with transportation agencies that simplifies the application process for the state’s five largest transportation assistance programs, including Senior Shared Ride, Medical Transportation Assistance Program (MATP), supplemental ADA paratransit, The Program for Persons with Disabilities and the Free Crossing Program. In addition, the FMR application allows third parties, such as a family member or healthcare provider, to apply for services on behalf of the passenger.

Collectively, 24.4 million flights supported by these programs were made available to Pennsylvania in fiscal year 2020-21. An additional 141 million trips – including 17.7 million free senior trips – were made available through the fixed-line service in fiscal year 2020-21.

Since the FMR application was rolled out in May 2021 through transit agencies, requests for the assistance program have been processed for nearly 8,000 Pennsylvania residents. Customers do not need to decide which programs they are eligible for, and this, along with the easy-to-use application, has increased the number of applications placed.

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Automatic in-app data validation has improved data accuracy, saving time and money for transport agencies in processing requests. Public transportation agencies can process applications more efficiently, allowing transportation users to access benefits more quickly.

“No one should let a lack of transportation stop you from getting to a doctor’s appointment or filling your prescription. I encourage anyone who needs transportation to a doctor, pharmacy, dentist, or Any other necessary medical services to apply today.

The Department of Homeland Security’s MATP program provides non-emergency medical transportation to Medicaid-eligible consumers who do not have access to transportation. MATP funds more than 9 million rides annually, and each county provides the least expensive type of transportation while still meeting an individual’s needs. Contact information for each MATP service provider can be found at matp.pa.gov.

Accessibility was a major focus when developing the FMR application, focusing on validation of color contrast, use of captions, use of assistive reader devices, sentence length, and reading level to assess the accessibility of forms. User feedback has been very positive and evidenced by the continuous increase in online orders.

The FMR app powers Keystone Login, a single, secure user credential that can be used to log into many Commonwealth online services. The team that developed the FMR app recently received the Governor’s Award for Excellence.

The Find My Ride Learning and Application modules were developed over a two-year period, and were achieved with $1 million in Federal Transportation Administration and $1 million in state transportation funding.

More information about public transportation and alternative transportation options such as ride-sharing, biking and walking is available on the PennDOT website.

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By Elvira Soto

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