RideConnect is a pilot program funded in part by the Ohio Department of Transportation to expand transportation options in Auglaize, Champaign, Darke, Logan, Mercer, Preble and Shelby Counties. One of the goals is to eliminate gaps in transportation that exist because of the lack of cross-county and region-to-region transport.
This volunteer driving program is focused on transporting individuals to medical and non-medical appointments and to employment. Priority will be given to older adults and individuals with disabilities as well as low-income populations who do not have access to other options. The program will allow access for individuals who need transportation outside of traditional transit hours and cannot afford the high cost of private providers.
The initial phase of implementation is the recruitment and training of volunteer drivers who will provide curb-to-curb transportation for passengers who need rides to medical and non-medical destinations. Drivers will use their personal vehicles to transport within their county and adjoining counties. Drivers will be expected to safely operate their vehicles according to State of Ohio driving laws and fill out reporting forms.
Drivers will be thoroughly trained and vetted, including a required background check. They must hold valid Ohio driver’s licenses with no more than three points accrued, and must be able to read maps and follow directions.
Each volunteer driver will be provided with training that includes specialized drive training, VIRTUS/Safe Parish training, Defensive Driving, incident management and reporting expectations, and Assisted Rides software training. Training in CPR/First Aid is available but optional.
Each driver accepted into the program will be encouraged to volunteer for at least two round-trip assignments per month. Although the position is volunteer, there will be some compensation to account for gas allowances, insurance costs, and vehicle depreciation.
Connecting Individuals to Transportation Options
Are you in need of transportation to a doctor’s appointment but don’t know who to call? Are you running low on groceries but you don’t have reliable transportation? Is your prescription ready to be picked up at the pharmacy, but you have no way to get there?
Your link to safe, reliable and affordable transportation begins with RideLink. When you call RideLink at (833) 289-0227 ext.1195 , our staff will link you to the transportation provider that best meets your needs.
The RideLink call center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (excluding major holidays). Callers are encouraged to plan ahead, as 24-hour notice is required for most transportation providers.
The RideLink program has been made possible by an Ohio Coordination Grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation, and serves Champaign, Darke, Logan, Miami, Preble and Shelby Counties.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will RideLink send someone to pick me up?
No, we do not provide transportation. RideLink “links” you with transportation providers who best meet your individual needs according to desired service, location, and ability to pay.
When you call our toll-free number, you will receive a list of transportation options for medical and non-medical appointments in Champaign, Darke, Logan, Miami, Preble, and Shelby Counties. Some providers can also transport to Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and even locations in Indiana. You will be asked several questions in order to link you with providers that best meet your needs.
In most cases, after we give you the information, you are responsible for calling the provider to schedule your own trip. We can assist you in making that call if you have limited resources or an inability to connect with the transportation provider.
What will it cost me to use RideLink?
There is no cost for the call or the information we provide. There may be a fee for transportation services depending on the provider you choose.
Do you have "preferred" providers that you recommend?
Our goal is to give you as many options as possible. When you call RideLink, you will be asked several questions in order to link you with providers that best meet your needs.
We do not recommend one provider over another. It is still your choice of what provider to contact once you have the information.
What are you doing to make more options available?
While RideLink has indeed helped individuals find rides, it has also become clear that there just aren’t enough resources for many of the callers.
“The Federal Transit Administration requires agencies getting funds to have transportation plans,” says CSSMV Mobility Manger Michelle Caserta-Bixler. With that goal in mind, Caserta-Bixler is now also serving as the Mobility Manager for Shelby, Darke and Champaign Counties, working with community stakeholders to update transportation plans. She is also working with the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) to address the challenges of transportation for the elderly and disabled across a nine-county region.
What if I feel I’ve been discriminated against by RideLink?
Any person who believes she or he has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, or national origin by Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley may file a Title VI complaint by completing and submitting the agency’s Title VI Complaint Form. The Agency investigates complaints received no more than 180 days after the alleged incident.
CLICK HERE for the complaint procedure and form.
“RideLink has been a vital tool in gathering data about the transportation situation and the lack of affordable and available options. With data, we can work to effect change,” says CSSMV Mobility Manager Michelle Caserta-Bixler.
Made possible by a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), RideLink has uncovered gaping holes in the transportation scenario and provided CSSMV with opportunities to help improve the system.