Essex County Uses Ryde4Life Program to Supplement County Transportation Services
In March 2019, Essex County teamed up with EZ Ride to provide rides for older adults using the Ryde4Life program. The pilot program was designed to augment the county paratransit systems either because of capacity constraints, requests for rides outside of normal operating hours or delayed requests for a ride.
The process is simple – TransDev, the county’s paratransit operator provides EZ Ride with a list of passengers with their pick-up and drop-off locations a day before they are required. The following day, the riders call EZ Ride directly to request a ride, and the EZ Ride Coordinator uses Lyft/ Uber to provide the service. At the end of the month, EZ Ride bills the county the actual cost of the ride and an additional $2.50 per trip.
Funding for the pilot program was provided in equal amounts by NJ Transit and Essex County. In the last three months, EZ Ride has provided more than 800 rides to county residents.
“The program has been an immediate and overwhelming success. And the number of rides has gradually increased to about 40 trips a day. Our goal in Essex County is to eliminate the transportation barrier and improve the quality of life for our seniors. We are delighted with the services provided by EZ Ride.
We look forward to making it a regular feature on our menu of transportation options,” said Michael Vieira, Essex County Director of Transportation Services.
The Ryde4Life program is very popular with older adults as no reservation is required, and riding in a sedan is far more comfortable than a minibus. However, the average cost of the ride is about $13, which poses a financial burden for most of our riders who live on a fixed income and cannot always afford the trip. The success of the Essex County program was primarily because the rides are free.
The Ryde4Life program primarily serves – older adults, passengers with disabilities, and lower-income residents living in areas with little or no public transportation.
Typically, NJ Transit commuters only pay about 50 percent of the operating cost of the ride. We want to offer the same 50 percent discount to our riders in the Ryde4Life program.
For additional information about the Ryde4Life program, please contact:
(201) 939-4242 ext. 223