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Public Transit in Southern Oregon Fosters Self-sufficiency

Rogue Valley Transportation District provides affordable transportation to those in need.
August 16, 2016

Providing access to affordable transportation in rural areas, particularly for low-income workers, the elderly, and those with disabilities, is no easy task. It requires coordination, partnership, and significant financial investment. To the Rogue Valley Transportation District, providing such access is worth the effort.

“We have probably the most complex area in the state in regards to contracting with CCOs and providing transportation services to OHP and CCO members through a coordinated solution,” said Tim Fountain, brokerage manager for the Transportation District.

The Transportation District actually uses this complexity to its advantage.

“The benefit of providing non-emergency medical transportation services to so many CCOs and OHA is we can take some of the innovative programs the CCOs provide and replicate them in other CCO areas too,” Fountain noted.

The Transportation District also serves veterans through its Translink program. Through an Oregon Department of Transportation grant, it’s offered veterans transportation to medical appointments for the past three years, and recently received another grant to continue offering these benefits for another two years in its seven-county area.

George Adams who lives in southern Oregon relies heavily on such transportation. A car accident in 1997 left him paralyzed from the waist down and wheelchair bound. Translink and the District’s Valley Lift services foster his sense of self-sufficiency.

“It (public transportation) gives me my independence,” Adams said. “It makes me feel like more of a person, and that I can live a normal life.” Adams serves on the board of the Jackson Care Connect CCO, the Transportation District’s special transportation advisory committee, and the Translink board.

“I am increasing the independence for people with disabilities of all types,” Adams explained.

The Transportation District continues to expand its services and its reach. In May, Jackson County residents passed a public transportation bond measure for the first time in 30 years. The infusion of tax money allowed the Transit District to restore services and add routes.

“We are making work for ourselves,” Fountain said. “We have lots going on but we, like others across the state, are doing some great things for Oregonians.” Joanne can be reached at [email protected]