SANTA CLARA (BCN) -- A Santa Clara County senior transportation program will be able to reach more older adults through a new agreement between the county Board of Supervisors and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority signed this week.
The ride sharing program is called RYDE, which stands for Reach Your Destination Easily. It offers affordable curb-to-curb transportation for adults 65 years and older in West Valley areas of Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Saratoga.
It also offers rides to residents in Morgan Hill and in some San Jose ZIP codes.
The new agreement between the county and VTA will allow the program to expand to six new San Jose ZIP codes: 95118, 95119, 95122, 95123, 95139 and 95037.
"It's gratifying to see a pilot project like RYDE prove itself and grow to serve more communities," said Supervisor Joe Simitian, who helped launch the program. "As our county ages, there will be an increasing need to provide transportation to older adults, not just to meet their day-to-day needs, but their mental health needs as well."
The funding will come from 2016 Measure B grant funds through a revenue agreement with the VTA, according to Simitian's office. New money will also be used to add a new position to the county's Social Services Agency to manage the program.
Tylor Taylor, executive director of the Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council (SASCC), said the expansion is a testament to the program's flexibility and ability to scale.
Taylor also noted that the ride sharing program was essential for older adults during the pandemic, "not only providing transportation to vaccine appointments but also delivering much needed food and essential items to older adults sheltering in place."
RYDE was started in October 2017 by Simitian, SASCC and the nonprofit West Valley Community Services to address transportation needs of older adults where public transportation is less accessible.
Josh Selo, executive director of West Valley Community Services, said the expansion of the RYDE program helps ensure that "our region's seniors can fully participate and thrive in our county."
Seniors interested in RYDE services can sign up at www.rydescc.org and book rides as early as a month in advance. Fees are based on the number of miles traveled and a trip can range from $0.90 to $18. Financial assistance is also available.
Those without internet access can also call their respective RYDE coordinator to set up a ride.
Those living in Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Cupertino and San Jose ZIP codes 95120, 95124, 95130 and 95129 can call Joe Maddox at (408) 892-9739.
Those is Campbell, Cupertino, San Jose ZIP codes 95129 and 95130 can call Sam Sloan at (669) 220-0831. Those in Morgan Hill can call Denise Melroy at (408) 310-4250.
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