HARRISBURG — Governor Tom Wolf announced last week that the Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation (PennDOT) and Human Services (DHS) have received a $750,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to support their Find My Ride (FMR) online tool, Pennsylvania’s “one-stop shop” for access to transportation for human services.
Pennsylvania was one of 17 states to receive funding through the FTA’s Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility (ICAM) Pilot Program, which received millions more in funding thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
“Since taking office, I have made a commitment to expanding access to health care to ensure that Pennsylvania residents have the opportunity to live healthier lives,” Wolf said. “This grant through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law builds on my commitment and will help some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens get to and from their healthcare appointments by reducing transportation barriers they would otherwise experience.”
Developed in partnership with transit agencies, FMR Apply streamlines the application process for the five largest transportation assistance programs in the state, including the Senior Shared Ride Program, the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP), ADA Complementary Paratransit, the Persons with Disabilities Program, and the free transit program. In addition, FMR Apply allows third parties, such as a family member or healthcare provider, to request services on behalf of a rider.
“Public transportation is available in every county in Pennsylvania, and people depend on it every day,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Often the people most dependent on the transportation system for human services are the most vulnerable among us, and I’m proud that Find My Ride has made it easier than ever to access these services. We are grateful that these funds will help us make it even better, both for the people who help manage these critical programs and for those who rely on them.”
The new FTA funds will enable the expansion of upgrades to FMR to simplify public access to the tool and streamline processes for healthcare providers and MATP administrators. Some examples of system improvements supported by these new grant funds include:
- Enable consumers to apply for fixed route assistance and mileage reimbursement directly through FMR and the option to have refunds transferred directly to their bank account;
- Creating an interface between FMR and DHS’ PROMISE system, allowing MATP administrators to automatically verify a consumer’s eligibility for MATP;
- Enable MATP administrators to issue fixed route tickets and pass them directly to a consumer’s mobile ticketing app; and
- Provide healthcare providers with a means to verify that a visit has taken place using the system.
DHS’s MATP program provides non-emergency medical transportation for Medicaid-eligible consumers who do not have access to transportation. MATP funds more than 4 million trips annually, and each province offers the type of transportation that is the least expensive while still meeting individual needs. Contact information specific to each MATP provider in the province can be found at: matp.pa.gov†
“DHS is committed to ensuring that people receive the help and resources they need to live safely, with dignity and independence in their communities. The Find My Ride tool is one way we can make this happen, and we are grateful for these funds to support these efforts,” said Meg Snead, Acting DHS Secretary. “A lack of transportation should not prevent anyone from going to a doctor’s appointment or filling your prescription, so I encourage anyone who may need assistance with transportation to get in touch today.”
Since the May 2021 rollout of FMR Apply through transit agencies, utility applications have been processed for nearly 8,000 Pennsylvanians and the benefits to transit agencies, PennDOT, DHS and customers have been significant. Customers do not have to determine which programs they are eligible for and this, combined with the easy-to-use application, has resulted in an increase in the number of applications submitted. Automatic data validation within the application has improved data accuracy, saving carriers time and money processing requests. Transit agencies can process requests more efficiently, giving transit users faster access to benefits.
In addition to FMR Apply, the FMR Educate site provides information about the use of public transport and the types of public transport available.
Last month, employees of PennDOT, DHS and the Office of Administration (OA) were recognized with a Governor’s Award for Excellence for the FMR tool.
More information about public transportation and alternative transportation options such as ridesharing, biking, and walking is available on the PennDOT website.