In March 2019, Dakota County, Minnesota launched a partnership with Lyft to offer flexible, on-demand rides to individuals with disabilities who receive home and community-based services in the County. Through this pilot program, eligible individuals may use Lyft credits, paid through Medicaid waivers, to order rides to or from work. These rides aim to supplement existing transportation options and make it easier for individuals with disabilities to access jobs and get around independently. The partnership is supported in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Dakota County lies adjacent to Minneapolis, but it encompasses both rural areas and small towns within its county borders.
Importantly, riders do not pay for their rides out of pocket. In Minnesota, transportation is a covered service in the Medicaid Waiver; as a result, the County simply tells Lyft the appropriate amount to upload into each user’s account, and that user can then use those funds for rides to and from work.
The pilot launched in the spring of 2019 with 23 riders, and as of July 2019, the program was serving 62 individuals. This number is expected to increase as awareness increases. Currently, the service can only be used to get to or from employment; however, the County hopes to open up service in the coming months so individuals can use this mode to go to community activities as well.
In the month of June 2019, 42 new riders were approved, and 34 riders used the service. During that same month, average trips cost $14.07 per trip, and the average ride duration was 13 minutes and 45 seconds. Rides per person ranged from 2 to 38 rides.
Initial survey responses, case studies and feedback from focus groups suggest that overall reception of the program is positive. Before the Lyft pilot, 60% of individuals were either dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied with their transportation options. After one month of using Lyft, however, 75% of respondents were extremely satisfied with their transportation options and 17% were satisfied. Further feedback determines that after a month of use:
- 63% of individuals were able to work more hours and/or days;
- 69% of individuals’ friends and family no longer needed to drive them;
- 88% reported that their transportation was more reliable; and
- 3 individuals were able to get a new job.
Currently, wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs) are not available via Lyft services in the community. Dakota County is working with Lyft to recruit WAV drivers or find alterntive WAVs available for participants in the pilot program.
Download the contract between Dakota County and Lyft here.
Contributed through a partnership between the Shared-Use Mobility Center, ITS America and the Federal Transit Administration’s Mobility on Demand Program.
Updated July 2019