ECRTCC – Volunteer Driver Program, Coordination, & Training

ECRTCC Volunteer Driver System:  Volunteer drivers are a key component of human services transportation in Minnesota. They provide a low-cost form of transportation for people that need services provided by these organizations in situations where other forms of transit would be less cost-effective and/or provide a lower level of service.

A wide variety of organizations utilize volunteer drivers. These include counties and other local governments, human service providers, public transit providers, faith-based organizations, and other non-profit organizations. Not surprisingly, given the wide variety of organizations, they also provide a wide variety of trips, ranging from non-emergency medical appointments to trips to work or school, to general errands or other unspecified purposes. While most of the organizations that utilize volunteer drivers are located in small towns or rural areas where dedicated transit services do not exist, many are located in urban areas as well.

To support the volunteer driver programs Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA) has studied the benefits and costs of the programs to the State and conducted a Volunteer Forum in early 2018 to share best practices and identify issues and solutions for maintaining this valuable network in Minnesota. One of the findings of the Volunteer Forum was the need for ongoing support at the local level in attempting to address many of the issues facing Volunteer Driver Programs. It was identified that the RTCC organizations can assist in this effort by convening the Volunteer Driver Programs to coordinate their efforts at maintaining and improving the vital networks. RTCCs will be required to organize and provide direction on statewide Volunteer Driver Program Guidelines for a seamless network of volunteer drivers.