Tri-County Action Program established the Volunteer Driver Program to provide safe, dependable, affordable and courteous transportation services to people who have no other means of transportation.
Tri-County Action Program (Tri-CAP) coordinates the Volunteer Driver Program to transport residents to medical appointments and other destinations. Program funding is provided by the local jurisdictions served (about $40,000 annually) and through insurance companies (about $40,000 annually).
Volunteers use their own vehicles and receive reimbursement for mileage and daily start-up fees ($3 per day), as well as meals in some cases. The start-up fee is $4.00 per day for drivers 55 and older who are registered in the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program. A brochure provides an overview of the arrangements for volunteer involvement.
Each volunteer driver is provided a copy of the Volunteer Driver Handbook. This provides information on the Volunteer Driver Program, a Volunteer Job Description, Volunteer Requirements, and Volunteer Duties and Responsibilities. Copies of forms used with the program are also included in the Handbook.
An orientation session is provided for all volunteer drivers. This includes a review of the Volunteer Driver Handbook, along with a presentation of two videos provided by the Police Department on seat belts and child safety seat use. A video provided by the Minnesota Highway Patrol is also shown with tips and pointers for volunteer drivers. Additionally, classroom and hands-on instruction is given by a certified child passenger safety seat trainer on the proper installation of child safety seats.
Prior to being accepted as a volunteer driver, an individual must provide Tri-CAP with signed copies of the following documents found in the Handbook's Appendix:
Codes of Conduct for Volunteer Drivers
Memorandum of Understanding
Data Privacy Statement related to confidentiality
Driving Record Report (required annually)
Behind the Wheel Driving Test (required every two years)
Vehicle Inspection Statement (required annually)
Medical Statement from physician (required annually)
Consent Form for criminal records check
Seat Belt and Child Safety Seat Policy
Volunteers must carry automobile liability insurance that meets or exceeds State minimum insurance requirements and submit proof of insurance on an annual basis. A Daily Log is maintained for each trip provided and submitted with expenses at the end of each month. A Volunteer Annual Evaluation is also completed to provide Tri-CAP with feedback and suggestions for program improvement.
Transportation is provided for medical appointments, counseling sessions, family visits, work readiness, etc. as requested by outside agencies. Only ambulatory passengers are served. A mechanism is available for passengers to submit comments or complaints.
Both an annual dinner and a separate training event are provided each year. Speakers have included a highway patrol officer who spoke about highway safety and a university professor who talked on diversity. Birthday and Christmas cards are sent to drivers and a date book is provided to help them keep track of their busy schedules.
Approximately 20,000 one-way trips are provided by volunteer drivers annually to passengers referred by agencies.
Linda Elfstrand, Transportation Director