OK County Council request to extend subsidized transport scheme | Services

Frederick County Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to greenlight a county’s request for a $250,000 state grant to help expand a local carpool program for families and individuals in low income.

The funding would come from the federally-funded Maryland Community Development Block Grant program, created to help county and municipal governments pay for development projects and improve public facilities and services, according to the documents. County.

Ride United, a United Way of Frederick County program, is offering select Lyft riders up to $25 credit per one-way ride. It has provided thousands of free or discounted rides.

Ken Oldham, president and CEO of United Way of Frederick County, estimated the program will complete about 4,000 rides by the end of June. The pilot version was launched last October to help Asset-Limited and Income-Limited But Employed (ALICE) households visit local COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Local non-profit organization Good Works Frederick has partnered with United Way to expand the program. Good Works Frederick will send volunteer drivers to reach low-income families and individuals in rural areas of the county.

The nonprofit will provide a base of volunteer drivers who will focus on transportation demands around Brunswick and Knoxville and around Emmitsburg and Thurmont – areas that lack affordable transportation options for families and individuals. low income.

Funding from the block grant will be used to reimburse volunteer drivers for gas and mileage, Good Works Frederick founder Ed Hinde told The News-Post.

It is unclear how many Good Works Frederick volunteer drivers will have. Hinde said he wanted the new nonprofit to be like NeighborRide, a Colombia-based program with about 300 volunteer drivers.

Good Works Frederick, however, won’t begin offering rides until January 2023. And starting in July, United Way will scale back the rides program to analyze first-year data.

Additionally, demand for Ride United exceeded available funding.

The pilot version of the program is expected to end in the coming weeks. Ride United will remain available to riders from more than a dozen local nonprofit program partners. It will also be available through 211 Maryland for military veterans and people looking to get to vaccination appointments or a local library.

Partner organizations, however, receive a finite number of Lyft ride credits under the program. The number that United Way grants them could decrease.

It’s not yet known how many fewer trips will be made once the pilot is completed, Oldham said. The number will depend on the funding that United Way can obtain.

United Way spent more than $75,000 from United Way Worldwide, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

The organization requested additional funding from United Way Worldwide to purchase more Lyft ride credits. Oldham said Monday his organization has not heard whether the request will be granted.

Follow Jack Hogan on Twitter: @jckhogan

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