COLUMBIA, S.C. — Two new mobility programs for seniors and disabled residents are now available, thanks to the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET), a local nonprofit and a federal grant.
Eligibility for both programs is available for people who are 65 and older and those with disabilities living outside The COMET service area but in the Columbia Urbanized Area.
Areas included in the programs are:
- Arcadia Lakes
- Forest Acres
- The town of Lexington
- Pine Ridge
- South Congaree
- West Columbia
Orientation or training is required before using the programs.
For V-TRIP, a program participant will be given funds to pay his or volunteer driver in the form of a reimbursement for mileage according to the federal mileage reimbursement rate. Volunteer drivers can be a friend or a neighbor. All trips must begin or end in the Columbia Urbanized Area. Reimbursement is available up to 100 miles per month, per program participant to pay the volunteer driver.
With PUP, a taxi or rideshare service like Uber or Lyft will be available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The program provides a 50% discount up to $50 per month. Once applicants have completed the required training, turned in their application, and DART eligibility, Half Fare Program participation, or age of 65 or older has been confirmed, they will receive a Taxi Voucher Card for use with any participating rideshare or taxi of their choice. All trips must begin or end in the Columbia Urbanized Area to receive voucher funds.
"We're excited to partner with COMET as they look at alternatives to the personal car through options like Uber and other shared ride services," said Colleen Shaffer, Senior Client Success Manager at Uber.
Orientation or training is required before starting to use either program. The funding for the mobility programs is made possible through a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant.
“These programs help provide a seamless manner in which The COMET can deliver transportation services to include those areas where we may not have a regular bus route,” said John Andoh, Executive Director/CEO of The COMET.
“With transportation, people with disabilities can maintain employment, pick up groceries and prescriptions, attend doctor’s visits, and maintain an independent lifestyle," said Kimberly Tissot, executive director of Able South Carolina.
Able SC is a Center for Independent Living (CIL), an organization not about “helping” people with disabilities, but built on the central concept of self-empowerment. It’s a consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability nonprofit that provides an array of independent living services.