Family Services of Westchester's RideConnect program has been awarded renewed funding through 2017 and extended its services to five new towns in the county, including Cortlandt, New Castle, Ossining, Peekskill, and Yorktown.
Family Services of Westchester, Inc. announced Feb. 21 that its RideConnect Program—an information and referral service providing transportation options for older adults (ages 60 and older), those with disabilities, and home health care workers in northern Westchester—has been awarded renewed federal funding to continue the program through March 2017.
The funding was awarded by the Department of Transportation under the federal New Freedom and Job Access and Reverse Commute competitive grant programs. The grant expands the RideConnect service area from the original communities of Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, Pound Ridge, North Salem, North Castle, and Somers, to now include Cortlandt, Ossining, Peekskill, Yorktown, and New Castle, as well as an extensive database of providers countywide.
“We are thrilled to be able to continue offering this vitally important service in northern Westchester where public transportation options are limited,” says Karen Ganis, program director. “Our usage rates demonstrate how great the need is: In 2012, RideConnect provided 1,000 rides/referrals, while in 2013 we provided over 6,000.”
Older adults, individuals with disabilities, and home health care workers can call RideConnect at 914-242-7433 to talk with a transportation counselor about their individual transportation needs. Rides can be scheduled for medical appointments, shopping, cultural events, hairdresser’s appointments, or errands. Services include volunteer drivers, RideConnect bus, information and referrals through RideConnect’s extensive database of providers, and an on-site social worker. Staff members serve as personal assistants and direct callers to the fastest, most cost-effective transportation option to meet their needs.
The RideConnect call center is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm. However, with advanced notice, rides can be scheduled on weekends as well. In addition, the RideConnect website (rideconnectwestchester.org) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In addition to the federal funds, RideConnect also receives support from the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services.
“RideConnect enables so many individuals, who otherwise feel isolated in their own communities, to remain mobile and independent,” Ganis says. “We are so grateful for the renewed funding which will allow people to get out and about!”
There is an ongoing need for volunteer drivers in all communities. Anyone interested in volunteering (you must be 21 or older) should contact Karen Ganis at 914-864-0955 or firstname.lastname@example.org.