Gov. Wolf Announces Federal Transit Administration Grant to Expand Access to Transportation Assistance Programs
June 28, 2022
Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the Pennsylvania departments of Transportation (PennDOT) and Human Services (DHS) have been awarded a $750,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to expand its Find My Ride (FMR) online tool, Pennsylvania’s “one-stop shop” for access to human services transportation.
Pennsylvania was among 17 states that received funding through FTA’s Innovative Coordinated Access & Mobility (ICAM) Pilot Program, which received millions more in funding thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
“Since taking office I have committed to expanding access to health care to ensure that Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to lead healthier lives,” said Gov. Wolf. “This grant through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law builds upon my commitment and will help some of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens get to and from their health care appointments by reducing transportation barriers they would experience otherwise.”
FMR Apply was developed collaboratively with transit agencies and streamlines the application process for the five largest transportation assistance programs in the state, including the Senior Shared Ride program, the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP), ADA complementary paratransit, the Persons with Disabilities program and the Free Transit Program. Additionally, FMR Apply allows third-parties, such as a family member or healthcare provider, to apply for services on behalf of a rider.
“Public transportation is available in every county in Pennsylvania, and people depend on it every day,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Often, the folks who rely most heavily on the human services transportation system are the most vulnerable among us, and I’m proud that Find My Ride has made it easier than ever to access these services. We’re grateful that these funds will help us make it even better, for both the people who help administer these critical programs as well as those who rely on them.”
The new FTA funds will allow for the expansion of upgrades of FMR to simplify the public’s access to the tool as well as streamline processes for healthcare providers and MATP administrators. Some examples of enhancements to the system supported by these new grant funds include:
- Allowing consumers to request fixed route and mileage reimbursement assistance directly via FMR and give them the option of having reimbursements transmitted directly to their bank account;
- Creating an interface between FMR and DHS’s PROMISe system, which will allow MATP administrators to verify a consumer’s MATP eligibility automatically;
- Allowing MATP administrators to issue fixed route tickets and passes directly to a consumer’s mobile ticketing app; and
- Giving health care providers a means to verify a visit occurred using the system.
DHS’ MATP program provides non-emergency medical transportation for Medicaid-eligible consumers who do not have access to transportation. MATP funds more than 4 million trips annually, and each county provides the type of transportation that is the least expensive while still meeting an individual’s needs. Contact information specific to each county MATP provider can be found at matp.pa.gov.
“DHS is committed to do everything we can to make sure people have the assistance and resources they need to be able to live safely with dignity and independence in their communities. The Find My Ride tool is one way we can make this possible, and we’re grateful for these funds to help support these efforts,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “Nobody should let a lack of transportation keep you from getting to a doctor’s appointment or filling your prescription, so I encourage anyone who might need assistance with transportation to reach out today.”
Since the rollout of FMR Apply in May 2021 via transit agencies, assistance-program applications have been processed for nearly 8,000 Pennsylvanians and benefits to transit agencies, PennDOT, DHS, and customers have been considerable. Customers do not need to determine what programs they are eligible for, and this, coupled with the user-friendly application has resulted in an increase in applications submitted. Automatic data validation within the application has resulted in improved data accuracy, saving transit agencies time and money in processing applications. Transit agencies can process applications more efficiently, which allows transit users to access benefits more quickly.
In addition to FMR Apply, the FMR Educate site provides information on how to use public transportation and the kinds of public transportation options available.
Last month, employees from PennDOT, DHS and the Office of Administration (OA) were recognized with a Governor’s Award for Excellence for the FMR tool.
More information on public transit and alternative transportation options like ridesharing, biking, and walking, is available on PennDOT’s website.