Shared-Ride Program for Senior Citizens
The Shared-Ride Program enables senior citizens 65 years of age and older to use shared-ride, demand-responsive (normally curb to curb) services and pay only a small portion of the regular shared-ride fare. Senior citizens or an approved third-party sponsor pay 15 percent of the fare and the State Lottery proceeds administered by the Department are used to reimburse the provider up to 85% of the fare. The Shared-Ride Program discount is available in every county of the Commonwealth during public transportation shared-ride service hours, which are determined locally.
To qualify for the reduced fare, seniors must be at least 65 years of age and be able to supply one of the eligible proofs of age to their local shared-ride provider. Prior-day advance registration is required. Service is available to anyone—regardless of age—who either pays the fare or for whom a human service agency pays the fare. Exclusive ride taxi, charter and sightseeing, nonpublic transportation, school bus and limousine services are NOT eligible.
Persons with Disabilities Transportation Program (PwD)
The PwD program enables persons with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 to use shared-ride, demand-responsive (normally curb to curb) services and pay only a small portion of the regular shared-ride fare. Persons with disabilities in 65 counties (all except Allegheny and Philadelphia) in Pennsylvania are eligible for PwD. In those counties, fares for shared-ride trips for persons with disabilities are discounted up to 85% if the trip is not eligible under any other funding program. The passenger pays at least 15% of the general public shared-ride fare on local shared-ride, curb to curb, advance reservation transportation service. To qualify for the reduced fare, persons with disabilities must present proof of disability to the local shared-ride provider in their county.
Community Transportation Capital Equipment
The Community Transportation Capital Equipment program provides state and federal funds for the purpose of replacing and/or upgrading equipment used to provide shared-ride services, as well as for the purpose of purchasing, constructing or renovating shared-ride office and maintenance facilities. All counties except Allegheny and Philadelphia are eligible to apply for these funds. Equipment purchased through this program must be used for the provision of the shared-ride services described in the county's or the county's designated shared-ride provider's Shared-Ride Transportation Plan.
Section 5310 Grant Program
Under this program, organizations may apply to PennDOT for Federal capital assistance to pay up to 80% of the purchase cost of new wheelchair accessible small transit vehicles and other equipment used to provide needed transportation services for senior citizens and persons with disabilities who cannot be reasonably accommodated by existing transportation providers. Eligible 5310 recipients must be either private non-profit organizations or a public body designated as a Shared-Ride County Coordinator under the lottery-funded Senior Citizens Shared-Ride Program.
Free Transit Program for Senior Citizens
The Free Transit Program enables senior citizens 65 years of age and older to ride free on any participating local public transportation system, including local bus, trolley, and subway. There is a one dollar charge on commuter rail services. Free rides are available whenever the local public transit system is operating. Schedules and hours of service are available by contacting the local public transit agency.
A person must provide documentation of age to qualify for free transportation on a participating transit system. Applications for registration and for a Commonwealth identification card for the Free Transit Program may be obtained from the local transportation provider.
Welfare to Work (W2W) Transportation Program
This program funds the transportation of low-income individuals to work and child care services. Program participants must be eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program or have incomes less than the 235th percentile of the Federal Family Poverty Income Guidelines. Entities that can apply for program funding are county/municipal governments (except Allegheny and Philadelphia counties), transportation organizations/authorities and private transportation providers.
Intercity Bus Operating Assistance
Under this program, the Department contracts with private intercity bus companies and municipalities to provide scheduled, fixed route service along routes which are considered essential links in the regional/statewide network of intercity bus services, but which cannot be financially supported solely from user fares. Money for this program comes from two sources:
Intercity Bus Capital Assistance
• State Act 10
• Federal 5311 Operating Funds
Federal law requires that 15% of the State’s 5311 money goes to support intercity bus transportation unless the State is able to document that the level of need is not sufficient to justify that level of funding.
The intercity bus Capital program is designed to assist Intercity Bus Operating grantees with ADA related capital projects. Funding may be available for lifts or mobile seating devices, ADA related facility enhancements intercity bus terminal improvements and intermodal terminals. Funding comes from two sources:
Rail Passenger Operating Program
• State Act 10
• Federal 5311 Operating Funds
The main purpose of the program is to assist carriers with vehicle purchases and facility improvements. When there is money available to fund Intercity Bus Capital, eligible grantees may apply through dotGrants.
This program administers state and federal funds for intercity passenger rail service. It involves reimbursement for operating expenses incurred on the Amtrak owned Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. AMTRAK’s Keystone Service is the only eligible program.
Rail Passenger Capital Program
This program administers both state and federal funds for intercity passenger rail service. It involves reimbursement for capital expenses incurred on the Amtrak owned Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. The Bureau of Public Transportation administers capital grants to maintain and improve the infrastructure of the Keystone Corridor.
Fixed Route Operating Assistance Program
Capital Assistance Program
Section 1513 of Act 44 provides for annual operating assistance to help cover the costs incurred by the state’s urban and rural transit systems to provide local public transportation service. These Grants are determined based on each transit system’s percentage of the statewide (1) number of passengers; (2) number of senior citizens; (3) number of revenue vehicle miles; and (4) number of revenue vehicle hours.
Additionally, transit systems that operate fixed route service in rural or nonurbanized areas are eligible to receive federal funding through the Federal 5311 Program. Section 5311 is a non-urbanized area formula funding program authorized by 49 United States Code (U.S.C) Section 5311. This federal grant program provides funding for public transit in non-urbanized areas with a population under 50,000 as designated by the Bureau of the Census. FTA apportions funds to governors of each State annually. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Bureau of Public Transportation is the delegated grantee.
The Bureau of Public Transportation (BPT) administers several transit capital assistance programs which provide grants to Pennsylvania’s urban and rural public transportation systems for the purchase of vehicles, equipment, and facilities. Also covered under the capital assistance program are renovation and overhaul of facilities, equipment and vehicles to further the useful service life of large assets. Examples of capital assets include, but are not limited to buses, trolleys, commuter rail vehicles, bus shelters, transfer centers, fixed guideways, substations, rail stations, shop tools and equipment, communication systems etc.
In addition to state capital assistance administered by BPT, public transit systems in urbanized areas receive federal funds for capital projects directly from the Federal Transit Administration. Public transit systems that operate fixed route service in rural or nonurbanized areas are eligible to receive federal funding through the Federal Section 5311 Program which is administered by BPT on behalf of FTA. The Federal Section 5311 program provides formula funding to states for the purpose of supporting public transportation in areas with populations of less than 50,000 people. The funding formula is based on the non-urbanized population and land area of the states. Public Transportation systems receiving funding through the Bureau of Public Transportation may be required to provide local funding to match state and federal grants.
Technical Assistance Program
Section 1516 of Act 44 provides financial assistance for projects of statewide significance. This program provides funding for any approved operating and capital costs relating to research, demonstration, non-urbanized service expansion and department initiated activities. The program includes development and/or demonstration of innovative approaches, techniques and technology; start-up costs and ongoing financial support for new non-urbanized systems; and support of transportation management associations and similar organizations. This financial assistance may be provided to meet any short-term emergency need that requires immediate attention and cannot be funded through other sources. Public Transportation systems receiving funding through the Bureau of Public Transportation may be required to provide local matching funds.