Letter to the Editor

Free rides available to substance use treatment, support programs

Indiana 211 has recently launched a new statewide initiative to provide free rides to and from substance use treatment and certified recovery support programs. This program is a partnership with FSSA and Lyft to provide those in need of transportation a free ride in order to reduce transportation barriers for substance use treatment.

Those who are eligible for the services are individuals who have a current, past, or history of substance use and are not insured by Medicaid or HIP. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a guardian. Guardians and/or caregivers will be provided a ride home if needed.

To request a ride individuals can dial 2-1-1 or 866-211-9966. The automated system asks callers to press 2 for English or 3 for Spanish. For languages not listed, the caller can dial 2 and request a translator later in the call. The message says, “If you are calling for information about substance use treatment or transportation to and from treatment please press 9.” The caller will be directed to speak with a trained Lyft Community Navigator to schedule a ride.

Providers can request a ride on behalf of their clients, so long as first and last name, pick-up and drop-off locations, and a phone number for drivers to communicate with passengers are provided.

Client information is completely protected through this system. Drivers will only have access to the first name and the pick-up or drop-off locations. A randomized and hidden phone number is provided to the driver, and drivers lose access to all past rides once they are completed.

This program is in the early stages of being tested and is not fool-proof, but could be an excellent resource to those who struggle with transportation barriers. The Lyft rides are limited to access of Lyft drivers availability in the area of pick-ups. More Lyft riders are needed for the Southern Indiana area to help grow this service. It is recommended that those in rural areas in need of transportation call an hour or more in advanced to request a ride to their destination to ensure they can be paired with a driver.

— Kimberly Chumbley

Community Coordinator/Counselor

Our Place Drug & Alcohol

Education Services Inc.

New Albany