CAC seeks to streamline transportation for elderly, disabled

October 17, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY ? Elderly and disabled residents who use several different services to get around Washington County could soon rely on one group for all of their needs.

The Washington County Disabilities Advisory Committee has started an effort to consolidate many of the county's transportation programs.

In a presentation Tuesday to the Washington County Commissioners, Elisabeth Fetting of KFH Group Inc, a consultant company hired to work on the project, said the program would eliminate wasted time and cost to some agencies that provide transportation to people in rural areas.

"You have several groups driving out to pick up one and two people at a time in places like Hancock, Clear Spring and Cascade. Under this program, we could provide one van to drive everyone where they need to go," Fetting said.

The project, which has been in the works for almost two years, would initially combine some services provided by the Washington County Health Department, County Commuter's Ride Assist, United Cerebral Palsy of Central Maryland and ARC of Washington County.


The Washington County Community Action Council would operate the program.

The program would use 10 to 15 vans, many of which would be handicapped accessible, according to Dave Jordan, the group's executive director.

"Initially, we're targeting folks using the health department, those with medical appointments, and some clients of the ARC and UCP. Eventually, we envision a system that anyone could use," Jordan said.

The service will not have fixed routes but will be "door-to-door," Jordan said. Agencies would pay to use the service.

A draft operating budget for the project estimates total expenses at $735,531 per year. Those expenses would be covered by revenues from participating agencies.

Total initial capital expenses would be more than $500,000. The group is proposing applying for state and federal grants, and asking the county for assistance to meet those initial costs.

"The hardest part will be getting the vehicles," Fetting said.

Jordan said some of the participating agencies might donate vehicles and that the Maryland Transportation Authority might have some available.

The group hopes to have formal commitments from the agencies by the end of the month.

Fetting said the program could be up and running by July 2008.

The Herald-Mail Articles