MO Rides wants to remove transportation as barrier to work

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 9/24/21

When it comes to getting people back to work, the MO Rides program hopes that physically getting to work will soon be a problem of the past for people without access to transportation.

MO Rides is …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

MO Rides wants to remove transportation as barrier to work

Posted

When it comes to getting people back to work, the MO Rides program hopes that physically getting to work will soon be a problem of the past for people without access to transportation.

MO Rides is a bit like a hub for connecting non-drivers with transportation providers. Based at the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission office in Warrenton, the program helps people across Missouri locate and contact transportation service providers who can meet their individual needs.

While many of the current service providers who work with MO Rides are oriented toward medical or disability transportation, administrator Kathy Bingham says transportation to and from work is a growing focus for the program.

“In rural areas, transportation is such a barrier to getting a job,” Bingham said. “Not having transportation is like not having electricity or water. It’s a need that people have.”

To alleviate that problem, Bingham said her office is currently negotiating with Enterprise Commute Division to begin working with employers who are interested in providing vehicles for employees to carpool to work.

“This would be like a ride-share program, where people would pay a certain amount each month to have access to a vehicle to get back and forth. It would be like paying to ride a bus,” Bingham said. “This would give employees another option for getting to work. This option could even be cheaper than driving your own vehicle, with maintenance and gas prices going up, and just the cost of buying a vehicle.”

Employers, working with Enterprise, would provide the vehicle that employees share on their commute. Once the program gets underway, employers could also advertise the availability of ride sharing as a way to attract more workers, Bingham said. Such services already exist in densely populated urban areas, but MO Rides is trying to expand the service into rural areas across Missouri.

“We’re just trying to bring employees and employers together to meet their transportation needs,” Bingham commented.

Existing services

MO Rides already helps many seniors and others with mobility challenges access vital needs such as healthcare and groceries. Bingham’s office has fielded 815 calls and 30,000 website visits this year from across Missouri for people seeking to arrange transportation services.

MO Rides doesn’t have any vehicles of its own. Rather, it connects users with services such as OATS Transit or Express Medical Transporters. Figuring out who to call when someone isn’t able to transport themselves is a valuable service that Bingham hopes more people take advantage of.

“There was someone who needed dialysis done, and they were trying to coordinate rides. We got a call from the dialysis center to set up weekly appointments for them for transportation, and we were able to coordinate a transportation provider who could help them with that,” Bingham commented. “It’s a really great service, and we just want more people to know that it’s available.”

And if anyone is interested in providing rides, either as a volunteer or a paid service, MO Rides would like to hear from them as well, she added.

For more information or to take advantage of MO Rides’ services, call 844-836-7433, or go online to morides.org.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here