The Harris County RIDES program recently celebrated its 1-millionth trip. In October 2003, Harris County launched the pilot program known today throughout the community as Harris County RIDES.
Harris County RIDES is a great option for people meeting the criteria for whom public transportation is either unavailable or inaccessible. Harris County RIDES operates in all areas of the county, for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Rider 1 million was Peggy Huse who said, “The program allows me to be independent and not bother my daughter with my doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping.” Huse has been a client of the RIDES program for 14 years and is one of the original riders. She uses Harris County RIDES up to twice a day, traveling from where she lives in Jacinto City to her appointments on the East Freeway.
Individuals who are 65 or older or who are disabled (regardless of age) are eligible to use the program. If one is over 65, there is no need to prove disability. The disabled who are under 65 must get proof of disability from their doctor. Those who are qualified can go to the website to fill out a one-page application that can be returned by email, regular mail or by going to the Harris County RIDES office at 8410 Lantern Point Drive.
Harris County Community Services Director Joshua Stuckey said, “Harris County RIDES is an integral part of the services we provide for the county as it allows individuals who are not able to access public transportation to do the things they need to do on a daily basis. It provides members of our community with a sense of independence and freedom that they otherwise would not have.”
The program currently partners with over 30 agencies. Harris County RIDES is a curb-to-curb subsidized program that allows eligible customers and participating agencies to purchase transportation services at a significant discount.
Fifty percent of the cost of the trip is split between the RIDES program and the individual users or the various partner agencies that sponsor their clients. Funding sources include FTA 5307 Urban Formula Funds and FTA 5310 Enhanced Mobility for Seniors and People with Disabilities.
RIDES currently has an active client base of 24,853 and provides more than 10,000 trips per month. Inter-local agreements between Harris County and neighboring counties allow Harris County RIDES to serve the same specialized population in those counties. Harris County RIDES has become known for its regional coordination of transportation services. This provides the unique opportunity to fulfill the state mandate for regional coordination by creating efficiencies and expanded capacities in transportation services.
For more information on how to qualify for Harris County RIDES, visit rides.harriscountytx.gov/Pages/default.aspx or call 713-368-7433.