RubyRide transportation pilot program launches in Sto-Rox
McKEES ROCKS, Pa. – RubyRide, a Pittsburgh-based rideshare service designed for suburban communities, was recently given the green light to launch a one-year pilot program in the Sto-Rox region.
The pilot program, providing mobility on demand for Stowe and McKees Rocks residents, is being led by the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (MRCDC) and is supported by two grants totaling $95,000. The Mary Hillman Jennings Foundation is contributing $75,000 toward the endeavor and the PNC Foundation has promised another $20,000.
“RubyRide is a game-changer that will help provide our residents access to much-needed resources,” said Taris Vrcek, MRCDC executive director. “It will have a significant impact on community health by providing access to fresh foods, healthcare and opportunities for education and employment.”
Transportation is a major barrier for the Stowe and McKees Rocks region with more than 40 percent of residents reporting a lack of vehicular access. RubyRide aims to eliminate transportation from the list of barriers that impact the quality of life for residents.
During the pilot program, individuals can join RubyRide for a nominal monthly membership fee and take an unlimited number of rides throughout a designated local service area, or zone. Rides can be scheduled in advance or on-demand, via phone call or the RubyRide App.
Partners like Focus On Renewal, Zellous Hope Project, Sto-Rox Family Health Center, Communities in Schools Pittsburgh & Allegheny County and the Sto-Rox School District also will be participating in the pilot. These groups will purchase organizational memberships (sponsorships) used to request rides on behalf of clients, according to the transportation barriers that are unique to their organization.
Current funding will support a 12-month pilot program providing continuous service between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents of Stowe and McKees Rocks are being invited to sign up for RubyRide either online or by phone. Approximately 30 sign ups will be selected for initial membership service – priority will be given to vulnerable populations, including the elderly, students and single-parent households. The goal will be to make RubyRide accessible – and affordable – to any resident who wants to sign up for the service.
RubyRide drivers are W-2 employees, who are locally hired and work flexible part-time shifts based on the availability they set each week. Drivers are compensated for their time and their trips, earning a guaranteed wage of $12/hour plus a pro-rated reimbursable for vehicle usage. Drivers must be 21 or older and must pass a background check and drug screening to be considered for employment. Vehicles are clearly marked with 5-inch RubyRide window decals.
The initial Sto-Rox zone is being planned with community input and can be adjusted to accommodate needs throughout the pilot. Access to hubs like the Robinson Towne Center – a frequent destination for many Sto-Rox residents – may be provided on a regular shuttle-type basis for all residents to enjoy; similar plans are being developed for RubyRide’s ongoing pilot in the Jefferson area of Pittsburgh that began in October.
“Access to transportation is the common denominator that defines our ability as citizens to lead a healthy, fulfilling life,” said Aedan Marty, RubyRide COO. “The services and opportunities found in our communities are only as effective as residents’ access to them. We are eager to demonstrate the myriad of benefits that RubyRide will provide to individuals and organizations in the Sto-Rox region.”
While RubyRide Sto-Rox will launch with limited membership availability, plans call for expansion to a full-service operation once the pilot period ends.
RubyRide Sto-Rox is expected to launch in February 2020.
For more information about RubyRide, visit rubyride.co or call 412-504-RUBY.