In early 2012, Upland, Calif.-based VTrans partnered with the San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) to expand and streamline the Transportation Reimbursement Escort Program (TREP). The program has provided a transportation option to seniors, people with disabilities, and individuals of low income who reside in the rural areas of San Bernardino County since 1998.
The National Association of Counties announced that the TREP partnership, funded by a Caltrans New Freedom grant has been selected to receive the NACo Achievement Award.
RELATED: Operators Continue to Grapple with Funding, Demand, Retention
VTrans is the nonprofit Consolidated Transportation Services Agency for the Valley of San Bernardino County; its mission is to improve the quality of and create mobility solutions involving transportation services for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and persons of low-income through coordination of transportation services with human service organizations, public agencies or private providers.
The San Bernardino County DAAS’ mission is to provide service to seniors and 'at risk' individuals to improve or maintain choice, independence and quality of life. Together, VTrans and DAAS provide a transportation option to those who need it most.
While almost 80% of the county’s population resides within 480 square miles of the San Bernardino Valley, the other 20% of the population is spread across the county’s remaining 20,000 square miles. To put this into perspective, consider the fact that San Bernardino County is slightly bigger than the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
TREP provides an incentive for volunteer drivers, usually friends or neighbors, to assist eligible individuals who are unable to drive or access public transportation by providing necessary, escorted transportation. Mileage reimbursements are paid to offset fuel and other out-of-pocket vehicle costs incurred by the volunteer drivers.
Individuals apply for the program and are qualified using the criteria of limited mobility or lack of public transit. Clients are then eligible for a predetermined amount of mileage per month, depending on their particular needs.