Fulton County Seniors Experiencing Blindness or Parkinson’s Gain Transportation Resource

Fulton County News

Fulton County Seniors Experiencing Blindness or Parkinson’s Gain Transportation Resource

September 01, 2020
Fulton County Senior Services collaborates with Parkinson’s Foundation and Center for the Visually Impaired to use grant funds for transportation for eligible seniors
The Fulton County Department of Senior Services, the Parkinson Foundation and the Center for the Visually Impaired will use a federal grant of more than $243 thousand dollars to train Uber/Lyft drivers to provide transportation to eligible seniors.

Seniors experiencing blindness with assistance from a guide dog and/or companion as well as seniors with Parkinson’s disease can benefit from the program. The grant funds awarded to Senior Services are allowing the provision of transportation that will enable seniors to age in place because of the availability of options for safe and low-cost travel to and from their destinations. The Department expects to serve an additional 468 eligible seniors over an 18-month period.

Visually impaired seniors, those with Parkinson’s and other qualified Fulton County residents can use the transportation service for $1 a ride. Those who apply for the service must be 60 years of age or older, have the cognitive and physical ability to manage the system with or without a companion rider, and have no other transportation options.

“We are excited to receive this grant and to collaborate with the Center for the Visually Impaired and the Parkinson’s Foundation, which allows us to improve transportation accessibility for these two senior populations while we also assess the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of this program expansion,” said Department of Senior Services Director Ladisa Onyiliogwu.

“This grant will allow us to better support people with Parkinson’s in Fulton County to help ensure they have access to the transportation services they need to live better with the disease,” said John L. Lehr, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “We are thrilled to collaborate with the Fulton County Department of Senior Services and the Center for the Visually Impaired to provide this service to the community.”

In 2017, Fulton County government invested $6.1 million in senior transportation services, serving 8,723 individuals with 623 seniors on the waiting list. Of those served 92% felt more independent due to transportation services in 2017, which was up from 88% in 2015. Additionally, Fulton County reduced the waiting list for transportation services by 68% in 2017.

In 2018, the County set a goal of adding 10,000 more transportation trips through the senior transportation program. With the addition of Transportation Network Companies, Senior Services eliminated the waiting list. The newly awarded grant funds will allow Senior Services to continue providing valuable transportation services to seniors while also offering mobility and independence to the two targeted populations of seniors.

In the Atlanta region, approximately 35% of seniors have a disability and 40% fall into the low-income range. Low-income households spend 67% of their income on housing and transportation costs as compared to the 54% spent by the average household in the Atlanta region. Additionally, individuals who report having a disability are more likely to have a lower income than those who do not report having a disability. The median income for those with a disability is $22,367 compared to a median income of $32,968 for those who do not report having a disability.

The grant was awarded in 2019 through the Access and Mobility Partnerships Grants; Human Services Coordination Research, a service of the U. S. Department of Transportation/Federal Transit Administration. Implementation was delayed in part due to the unforeseen impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This program is now available to seniors and follows the finalization of a Memorandum of Understanding and the hiring of a transportation coordinator as well as the development of policies and procedures.

For more information, seniors or family members of seniors can email the STARline at seniorservices@fultoncountyga.gov or call 404-613-6000.