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Wolf administration urges Pennsylvanians to consider public transit options and apply for transportation assistance programs, stresses importance of access to health care and jobs

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

Transit services are available in all counties in Pennsylvania, including:

  • Shared transportation service in all 67 counties;
  • Fixed-route bus service in 49 counties; and
  • Fixed-route rail service to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

“Public transit provides a vital connection to jobs, medical appointments and our communities,” said PennDOT Assistant Secretary for Multimodal Transportation Jennie Louwerse. “We urge Pennsylvanians to try public transit, and we’re thrilled that it’s now easier to access these services.”

Citizens are encouraged to use FMR Apply, an online tool that was developed in conjunction with transit agencies and streamlines the application process for the state’s five largest transportation assistance programs, including including the Senior Shared Ride Program, Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP), ADA Complementary Paratransit, Person with Disabilities Program, and Free Ride Program. Additionally, FMR Apply allows third parties, such as a family member or healthcare provider, to request services on behalf of a passenger.

Collectively, 24.4 million trips supported by these programs were provided to Pennsylvanians in fiscal year 2020-21. In fiscal year 2020-21, an additional 141 million trips, including 17.7 million free trips for seniors, were provided through fixed-route service.

Since rolling out FMR Apply in May 2021 through transit agencies, assistance program applications have been processed for nearly 8,000 Pennsylvanians and benefits for transit agencies, PennDOT, DHS and customers were considerable. Customers do not need to determine which programs they are eligible for, which, combined with the user-friendly application, has resulted in an increase in claims being submitted. Automatic data validation in the app has improved data accuracy, saving transit agencies time and money when processing requests. Transit agencies can process requests more efficiently, allowing transit riders to access benefits faster.

“The Wolf administration is always striving to make the services we provide easier for the people we serve to access, and the Find My Ride tool is a great example of state agencies working together to achieve this. “said Andrew Barnes, Deputy Executive Secretary. for DHS. “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 their doctor, pharmacy, dentist or other necessary medical services apply today.”

The DHS MATP program provides non-emergency medical transportation to Medicaid-eligible consumers who do not have access to transportation. MATP funds over 9 million trips per year and each county provides the cheapest type of transportation while meeting an individual’s needs. Contact information specific to each county MATP provider can be found at matp.pa.gov.

Accessibility was a key goal when developing FMR Apply, with emphasis on validating color contrast, use of subtitles, use of assistive reading devices, length sentences and reading level to assess the accessibility of the forms. User feedback has been extremely positive and has been demonstrated by the continued increase in online applications.

FMR Apply operates Keystone Login, a unique and secure user ID that can be used to log in to several Commonwealth online services. The team that developed FMR Apply recently received a Governor’s Award of Excellence.

The Find My Ride education and application modules were developed over two years, made possible by $1 million from the Federal Transit Administration and $1 million in state transit funding.

More information about public transportation and alternative transportation options like carpooling, biking, and walking is available on the PennDOT website.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Alexis Campbell, PennDOT, 717-783-8800 or [email protected];

Brandon Cwalina, DHS, [email protected]

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