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In This Issue
Funding available
MBTA to pilot reduced fares for low-income RIDE riders & youth
Travel trainers learn from Kennedy Center
RCC updates
Seniors ride the bus to lunch
Donated vehicles help people get to work
From the desk of the Statewide Mobility Manager
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We want to know your stories
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Happy holidays from the MassMobility team! This December issue of MassMobility contains news about community transportation, human service transportation coordination, and mobility management in Massachusetts. This newsletter is compiled by the MassMobility team, which is housed in the Human Service Transportation (HST) Office of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Read on to learn about funding opportunities coming up in early 2015, upcoming MBTA pilot programs to reduce fares for low-income people and youth, and other updates from regions around Massachusetts.


Do you have a resolution related to transportation coordination or mobility management for 2015? Please share it with us or tweet us @MassMobility.

Funding available from MassDOT & Tufts Health Plan Foundation

MassDOT announced that Community Transit Grant Program (CTGP) funding applications will open on Feburary 2, with applications due March 2. MassDOT will offer a series of training sessions on applying for this funding in late January. Learn more about the CTGP training opportunities from MassDOT.


The Tufts Health Plan Foundation provides grants to nonprofits in support of healthy aging. The foundation seeks to help build diverse, age-friendly communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Collaborative efforts around transportation are eligible. Letters of inquiry for projects in the Systems and Best Practices focus area are due January 20. A second round of funding for projects related to Policy and Advocacy will be due July 20. A third focus area, the President's Leadership Fund, is accepting letters of inquiry in both January and July. For more information, visit the Tufts Health Plan Foundation's website.

MBTA to pilot reduced fares for low-income RIDE customers and youth

On December 11, the MBTA announced two pilot programs planned for July 2015: discounted fares for low-income RIDE customers, and a reduced fare youth pass.


THE RIDE announced a six-month pilot program to offer $1 off the fare for riders whose income falls under 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) and who are enrolled in public benefits programs. The discount will apply to both regular and premium service, but not same-day service. The MBTA will enroll up to 600 RIDE customers into this pilot. Participation will be voluntary, based on RIDE customers who sign up and are found eligible.


This pilot is the result of a collaborative partnership between the MBTA and local advocates. In 2012, RIDE fares doubled to $4 from $2. In response to pushback from constituents and advocates, the legislature asked the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Massachusetts Office on Disability to study the effect on low-income riders. The study found that many seniors and people with disabilities cut back spending on groceries, medications, and utilities as a result of their increased transportation costs, and 60 percent of respondents reported taking fewer trips on transit. As a result, THE RIDE reduced fares to $3 and worked with stakeholders - including representatives from Mass Senior Action Council and Access Advisory Committee to the MBTA - to develop a pilot that would incorporate means testing into the fare structure. The planned pilot will provide an opportunity for the MBTA to try out this model, evaluate it, and learn more about its customers.


In addition to the RIDE pilot, the MBTA announced that starting in July 2015, it will pilot reduced fare passes for youth ages 12 to 18. Qualifying youth ages 19 to 21 who are low-income or engaged in school or job training will also be eligible to participate. The MBTA will enroll up to 1,500 youth in the pilot. MassDOT developed this pilot in partnership with the Youth Affordabili(T) Coalition, which has waged a multi-year campaign for affordable transportation to school and jobs for youth in Boston.


MassDOT will also pilot a UPass program, in which participating universities will buy monthly transit passes for all full-time students for a discounted rate.


For more information, check out this coverage from The Boston GlobeBoston Magazine, and WBUR.

Travel trainers learn from Kennedy Center workshops

MassDOT has funded the Kennedy Center from Connecticut to provide a series of workshops for travel training practitioners in Massachusetts. The goal is to help support the growth of quality travel training programs across the Commonwealth. Travel trainers work one-on-one with people with disabilities and seniors to help them learn to ride public transit safely and independently. Benefits include increased mobility for individuals and increased ridership for transit authorities.


In these three-day workshops, experts from the Kennedy Center provide an overview of key aspects of running a travel training program, including intake, street crossing, environmental analysis, and safety. The first workshop took place in Raynham in October and the second in Worcester in December. Over 30 travel trainers participated, representing schools, transit authorities, and human service agencies. Both new and experienced travel trainers spoke highly of the workshops. According to one participant, "We left with a ton of useful materials and tips that we are going to utilize or implement immediately." Another reported, "Almost everything the presenter spoke about was real life situations, which helped us to understand more of the process of travel instruction."


One or more additional training sessions will be scheduled for spring 2015. The workshop is free to attend, and lunch is included, although participants must pay for their own travel expenses. If you would like to be notified when enrollment opens for 2015, please fill out this survey and include your email address.


MassDOT planned this series of workshops in partnership with the Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network, an informal peer network for anyone involved in travel training in Massachusetts. Organizations looking to develop a travel training program are also welcome to join the network. The network offers an email discussion list and quarterly in-person meetings that give travel trainers a chance to share successful strategies with peers and brainstorm solutions to shared challenges. To get involved or learn more, contact us.

First Regional Coordinating Council on community transportation launches in Greater Boston

In December 2013, stakeholders in the Berkshires and Cape and Islands launched the state's first two Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs), convening human service agency staff, transportation providers, and other stakeholders to collaborate on improving regional mobility. In the past year, RCCs have launched in nearly all regions around the state, except for Greater Boston.


On December 9, the first Greater Boston RCC launched. Twenty-five stakeholders from the City of Boston and Town of Brookline convened for the first meeting of the Boston Core RCC. The Institute for Community Inclusion hosted the meeting, which began with a panel exploring existing transportation options in the area - above and beyond the MBTA - and then led into a general discussion of unmet needs in the region, including the need for more wheelchair-accessible taxicabs.


To learn more about RCCs, visit our webpage on RCC accomplishments. To get involved with your local RCC, contact us.

Promise of lunch prompts seniors to try the bus

MassMobility thanks Mary Basilone, Mobility Manager at GATRA, for submitting this guest article. If you would like to submit an article or have an idea for a topic, please contact us.  


Taking that first trip on the public bus can be overwhelming, especially for seniors. So to encourage a group of Wrentham seniors to try the new Tri-Town Connector service, GATRA offered them a free lunch at the Olive Garden in the Patriot Place Marketplace. "Immediately, we had 12 people signed up and another six on a waiting list," said Janet Angelico, Director of the Wrentham Senior Center. "Everyone who signed up seemed genuinely excited about the trip and showed real interest in wanting to learn how to use the GATRA bus."


On the day of the trip, Patti Waitkevich and Mary Basilone, staff from GATRA's Mobility Management Department, were available to show the seniors how to board the bus, pay their fare, and signal for the bus to stop. GATRA staff also handed out bus schedules, giveaways, and shopping bags. 
GATRA bus driver John Griffin also provided the seniors with an on-the-bus guided tour of the Patriot Place complex. He answered questions, explained where certain shops and medical centers were located, and also showed the seniors exactly where the bus lets off passengers and then picks them up. 


The Tri-Town Connector operates Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 7 PM, and on Saturday from 7:30 AM to 6 PM, and makes several stops along its route, including the Wrentham downtown municipal parking lot and senior center, Foxborough's Patriot Place Marketplace and medical centers, and the MBTA station and Massachusetts Correctional Institution prison in Norfolk. The one-way regular cash fair is $1.00.  Students, seniors, and persons with disabilities pay only 50 cents to ride.

Donated vehicles help people get to work

If the spirit of holiday giving or the allure of a tax break is tempting you to donate your car, consider an organization that repurposes donated cars for low-income people and people with disabilities who need transportation to employment. For people who can drive but cannot afford a car, these programs can provide the missing link to self-sufficiency.


MassMobility subscriber Sarah Langer recently donated her car. "I chose Good News Garage because instead of just selling the car, they will actually give it to someone who can use it," she explained.

From the desk of the Statewide Mobility Manager

Aniko Laszlo, Statewide Mobility Manager at MassDOT, discusses recent forums on transportation coordination in her most recent blog post. 

Follow us on Twitter 

Are you on Twitter? If so, follow us @MassMobility for links to community transportation resources relevant to organizations and agencies here in Massachusetts. If you aren't on Twitter, you can still see our posts online at

We want to know your stories

If you have suggestions for news items or topics to cover in future newsletters, please contact us or submit a guest article. Comments, questions, and feedback are also welcome.

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You can also read past issues of all MassMobility newsletters.