The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has authorized more than half a million dollars to expand a car service for seniors into some areas of San Jose and Morgan Hill.
Reach Your Destination Easily, or RYDE, is a local program that provides rides to residents 65 years and older in an effort to combat senior isolation and help them get to doctor appointments, grocery stores and access other necessities.
On Monday, the VTA authorized $652,701 in 2016 Measure B grant funding to expand into San Jose ZIP codes: 95118, 95119, 95122, 95123 and 95139. RYDE will also expand to service the entire 95037 ZIP code in Morgan Hill.
Since its launch, RYDE has been serving Saratoga, Cupertino, Campbell, Los Gatos, and Monte Sereno to clients who on average are 81 years old.
In late October, the program also received a $327,000 federal grant to expand services to southern Santa Clara County.
“The expansion into San Jose and Morgan Hill is great news,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who spearheaded efforts to launch RYDE in 2017. “As we look to a future where people can more safely socialize, we want to make sure no community member is left housebound due to lack of transportation.”
RYDE is operated by two nonprofits: West Valley Community Services and the Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council. The organizations also connect seniors to different programs and services through drivers who are specifically trained to be “knowledgeable about their senior clientele,” according to Simitian’s office.
Josh Selo, the executive director at West Valley Community Services, said the expansion will have an “enormous impact” because it makes it possible for older adults to stay connected to the community.
RYDE drivers will assist clients into cars and with seatbelts. Caregivers or companions can also accompany seniors with no additional charge.
Fees range from $0.90 to $18 and are based on income and the number of miles between destinations. RYDE can also help connect seniors to different transit options for longer trips.
Seniors interested in RYDE services can learn more and book trips online. RYDE operates from 8 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.