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Community Foundation Partners with BATA on Fare-Free Medical Transport Pilot

Finding regular, reliable transportation to and from medical appointments can be challenging. To address this issue, the Community Foundation has partnered with the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) to set up a new pilot program, Link On-Demand Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT+). 

Launched in early January, Link On-Demand NEMT+ is set to operate through June 30, 2021.This program allows for fare-free rides on public transportation and is supported by a grant from the Community Foundation, made possible with funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. 

“BATA is excited to have finally launched the Link On-Demand NEMT+ pilot to provide on-demand, fare-free transportation for a limited time to and from select medical locations in the Traverse City area,” said Alan VanderPaas, BATA’s Mobility Management Coordinator. “We’re thankful for our partnership with the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation and hope the NEMT+ pilot results will demonstrate the need to continue and expand this valuable service once the 6-month pilot phase is complete.”

NEMT+ riders include patients, caregivers, and medical staff from pilot partners. Passengers can request a medical ride on the TransLoc mobile app, online portal, or a phone call to BATA Dispatch and say “This is an NEMT+ ride” when boarding their bus. Rides are available Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm.

“Working with BATA to make this pilot program a reality has been a win-win opportunity,” said Dave Mengebier, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “This pilot not only allows us to move forward on improving community mobility--one of our Community Development Strategy goals--but also means we can support greater accessibility to medical care in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties. We’re looking forward to seeing the impact of the pilot program and how we can continue to support improved health and well-being for all in our region.”

Participating medical partner locations as well as ride availability information can be found on BATA’s website.

(Photo credit: Bay Area Transportation Authority)