Jewish Family Service announces free rides for low-income seniors
Jewish Family Service of San Diego Wednesday began operating a program that will provide free, curb-to-curb rides to low-income seniors living in 40 local ZIP codes.
The San Diego County Senior Transportation Program is funded by a county grant and will be operated through JFS' On the Go program — which remains the county's largest senior transportation service.
"Seniors — particularly those on a fixed income — are often overlooked as one of our region's most vulnerable groups," said Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service. "That is why JFS is dedicated to helping older adults remain independent and engaged members of our community.
"Reliable, affordable transportation can make all the difference between seniors staying in their homes or ending up in a hospital or care facility, and we are excited at the opportunity to make our transportation services more accessible than ever before," he added.
According to the nonprofit, for low-income seniors — which comprise 26% of San Diego's older adult population — limited access to affordable transportation results in social isolation and adverse health outcomes.
"We provide highly person-centered rides because we can choose the closest and most appropriate vehicle for each person," said Maureen Glaser, program manager of On the Go. "We're not going to send a big pick-up truck for an older adult using a walker."
To qualify for the program, participants must be at least 60 years of age, have the ability to transfer in and out of a car on their own, and have a household income at or below 30% of the San Diego County Area Median Income.
The income levels are up to $27,350 for a one-person household, $31,250 for a two-person household, $35,150 for a three-person household or $39,050 for a four-person household.
Participants also must live in one of the following ZIP codes: 91901, 91910, 91911, 91915, 91916, 91945, 91950, 91977, 92004, 92020, 92027, 92058, 92070, 92081, 92083, 92084, 92102, 92105, 92110, 92113, 92114, 92139, 92154, 92173, 91905, 91906, 91917, 91934, 91935, 91948, 91962, 91963, 91980, 92055, 92060, 92066, 92086, 92259, 92536 or 92672.
Impacted areas include most of the county, including rural areas such as Alpine and Campo, urban areas such as Chula Vista and San Diego and even as far north as San Clemente.
According to JFS, seniors or their caregivers who qualify for the program can call On the Go seven days a week at 855-638-2279 to request a free ride immediately or for a future time. Trained and multilingual call center staff will match ride requests to the most qualified transportation provider based on the senior's needs.
Once enrolled, each eligible rider will receive up to 80 miles worth of free rides each month.
Older adults who do not meet the eligibility requirements may still access JFS's On the Go service, which offers a variety of pay options.
For more information or to enroll in the program, call 855-638-2279 or visit otgrides.org/sd-enrollment.