The city of Santa Monica was awarded $469,971 in Federal Transit Authority funding Aug. 31 to expand the Santa Monica Dial-A-Ride’s door-through-door services program over a three-year period.

The city received the second highest grant proposal ranking in Los Angeles County, according to a notification from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is administering the local grant awards.

The award allocates $416,991 for operations and $52,980 in one-time funds to the city for the purchase of a wheelchair accessible van, expanding Dial a Ride’s fleet to seven.

The new funding will allow for a more substantial increase in hours, number of people served and flexibility in meeting current and future transportation needs of people with disabilities and frail seniors beginning early 2013, a program spokesperson notes.

Dial a Ride serves 4,000 Santa Monica residents annually, primarily through shared van services. To qualify for the program, riders must be 18 years and older with a disability or an adult 60 years of age and older. Van driving is provided by a third party private contractor managed by the Big Blue Bus and outreach, enrollment, orientation, and door-through-door services are offered by WISE & Healthy Aging.

Santa Monica is one of the few municipalities across the country that funds a door-to-door paratransit program, city officials said. Earlier this year, the City Council provided additional funding for a needed expansion of door-through-door services that is now underway.

Information, www.smgov.net/seniors.

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