It is not surprising that so many people seek assistance in transportation. According to the Leadership Conference Education Fund, low-income people spend 42% of their income on transport costs. This is a significant burden for Americans with low incomes! It’s difficult to budget transportation costs when it accounts for almost half of your income. That’s why it’s better to find ride assistance that can help you with it.
Public Transportation Systems With Low-Income Discounts
Relying on bus passes, train tickets or other public transportation systems can make it very expensive. Many of these systems offer discounted or free services for low-income residents. For more information, you will need to contact the local Department of Social Services or Public Transit System. This information can vary depending on your location.
Bike Share Programs With Low-Income Discounts
All over the country, there are many programs that allow you to share your bike or electric scooter. The equipment is available to anyone in the area for a small fee.
Medicaid Ride Assistance To Doctor’s Appointments
Medicaid is free healthcare for people with low incomes. It also includes transportation assistance to doctor appointments.
According to the Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicaid beneficiaries can get a ride to and from their providers whenever they need. Rides can be through taxis, cars, or vans depending on your needs and the rules of your state. However, keep in mind that you might share a ride with others. To arrange your ride, you will need to call ahead.
If you are eligible for Medicaid and need assistance getting to your appointment, please call your caseworker or the local office responsible for Medicaid.
DAV Network Free Ride Assistance For Disabled Veterans
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) offer free rides to help with dental or medical needs. The service is provided by volunteers and does not cover all communities. The DAV website states that over 3,500 vehicles have been donated to this program, so it covers many areas.
Lyft Offers Specific Transportation Assistance For Low-Income People
The Jobs Access program assists low-income workers in commuting to job interviews, training, and transportation during their first three weeks of employment.
The program is made possible by a partnership between Goodwill and United Way. To receive a free scooter, bike, or rideshare, contact the company beforehand. It is not possible to just book Lyft and expect it will be free. Lyft.com will require you to apply for the LyftUp Jobs Access Program.
Lyft also offers a Grocery Access Program, which appears to be still in operation. However, I couldn’t confirm what areas were involved. They have provided transportation for free to election locations, essential services, and resources to underserved communities. For more information, visit their LyftUp Programs List.
TANF Ride Assistance
TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) is a program that offers cash benefits to low-income families. This program helps families move out of poverty. Multiple reports indicated that TANF funds could be used to assist low-income people in transportation to work.
One report stated a mismatch in some areas between the locations of most service- and entry-level jobs and the homes of welfare recipients. While two-thirds are located in suburbs, three out of four welfare recipients reside in central or rural areas. Few recipients have reliable cars, and few of them own cars. Many entry-level positions require working nights or weekends in areas that aren’t well-served by transit routes or are far from the nearest commuters. Studies have shown that only half of the entry-level jobs can be reached by transit, even in large metropolitan areas.
States were urged to find a way for low-income TANF beneficiaries to be able to travel, especially to work, and they did. It’s best to contact the state agency responsible for TANF if you require assistance with transportation.
Volunteer Driver Programs From Local Organizations
Many charities and nonprofits have developed volunteer driver programs in recognition of the transportation challenges that low-income people face. Low-Income Relief has been a successful organization for many years. There are numerous senior centers, community centers, congregate meal sites, and other organizations that provide transportation services to their clients, guests, and the community.
These are however all local. To find out if transportation assistance is available, you will need to contact 211 or other local organizations.