Other programs use volunteers who drive their personal car to deliver service. Drivers may receive some reimbursement for mileage. FISH uses this approach to provide rides to Medical appointments in Tompkins County.
RED is a new volunteer driver program to assist families with limited transportation choices in the Ithaca school district get to parent-teacher conferences. RED (stands for Retired Educators Drive) is looking to recruit drivers from the broader educational community (school district plus colleges) who are free to set their level of participation.
RSVP provides an organizational home for FISH and RED. Newly retired people are the prime market for volunteer recruitment. They can link up with volunteer driver programs through RSVP.
ITN-America provides a well developed model for a community volunteer driver program. Their main targets are elderly seniors and persons with disabilities who are no longer able to drive. Their business model includes a car donation program, time banking of volunteer hours, volunteers driving their own cars, 24/7 service availability and a sliding scale for paying for rides.
While volunteer programs require a high maintenance of effort to recruit and maintian a volunteer pool, they offer a way to leverage volunteer time to provide community mobility services. We can invest in tools to help volunteer driver programs operate better, but the real effort comes from dedicated volunteers who deliver valuable community transportation services.