Charlottesville will start providing some on-demand transit services in the new year for workers or those seeking employment opportunities.
The city will begin the service for eligible families in January through the Downtown Job Center.
Hollie Lee, the city’s chief of workforce development strategies, said the city received a $183,000 grant from the Virginia Transit Association for the program.
The program will serve people who are enrolled or eligible for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, a federal assistance program for families with dependent children. Individuals must be commuting to employment or employment opportunities outside of the city limits.
The program will target Albemarle, Fluvanna and Louisa counties, but Lee said it could serve people traveling to other localities.
The city will start by partnering with JAUNT for the service because Charlottesville Area Transit is already offering some free fares. If CAT stops its free fares, the program also could be used for its services.
Once the program is launched, people can submit an online application that will verify eligibility. Once eligibility is determined, each person will be allotted a certain amount of money for the services. Lee said the city estimates recipients will be assigned about $2,000 each and expects to serve about 100 people through June 30.
The transit service can only be used for work, training, employment opportunities or child care services.
Once someone is enrolled, they will be able to schedule rides through JAUNT.
The program also will partner with Network2Work, which helps job seekers gain skills and resources needed to find good jobs. City residents who apply for the transit service don’t have to be enrolled in Network2Work, but those who live outside the city do.
Lee said the service was born out of the city’s 2013 workforce development plan, which focused on barriers to employment, training and education. The plan highlighted shortcomings in public transit.
“Although we have a very good public transit system for a locality our size, there are a lot of employers who are beyond the bus lines,” she said.
Those interested in seeking assistance are asked to fill out a survey at facebook.com/cvillejobcenter/app/164167473601477. Those who are deemed eligible through the survey will be contacted once the service is running.
Lee encouraged those who are not eligible to still call the city at (434) 970-3110 to possibly be enrolled in other services.