Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

North East Community Center

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

September 2014

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

October 2011–December 2013

Northeastern Dutchess County is a rural, isolated region of New York State where lack of transportation is the number one barrier to health care, especially for elderly, disabled, and low-income residents.

In 2011, to better facilitate the transportation needs of the population, the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) awarded a grant to North East Community Center (NECC) to provide door-to-door bus service to and from medical appointments for residents in need in six northeastern towns.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Registered 450 residents of the six towns for Dial-a-Ride service with ridership matching the desired demographic targets; and
  • Increased ridership use for medical transportation to 27% in 2013, up from 21% in 2012.

The actual number of rides for health-related visits (1,050) was lower than the projected number of 3,000 rides per year. Contributing factors included: a delay in offering rides to clinics in northwest Connecticut where a significant number of the region’s residents receive their medical care because of Dutchess County’s close proximity to the Connecticut border; the ride limits imposed by the County’s Dial-A-Ride service, which only allows one subscription (or repeating ride) each week, thus reducing its usefulness for patients receiving dialysis, physical therapy, or chemotherapy; and the rural setting of many locations, which the large bus used by the service cannot easily access (e.g., long driveways where it would have to back up to get out).

NECC continues to offer its bus service; through the rollout of a more rigorous media campaign, ridership has increased significantly. NECC has identified other funding sources and will continue to provide this vital service to the region at least through 2015. A new round of federal funding will soon be available, which would allow NECC to purchase and manage its own smaller buses and address many of the factors that prevented NECC from reaching its initial goals.