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Dakota County and Lyft partner to offer help for people living with disabilities

It is a pilot project to provide another transportation option for people receiving home and community-based services to get to and from work and community activities.

Dakota County is changing the way people who live with disabilities get around. And it's all thanks to a ride sharing  partnership. 

The county has partnered with the rideshare company Lyft. It is a pilot project to provide another transportation option for people receiving home and community-based services to get to and from work and community activities.

The pilot project is focused on improving independence and increasing opportunities for people living  with disabilities.

Dakota County Transportation coordinator, Robyn Bernardy, said it was made possible in part by a one time innovation grant from the  Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Research has shown transportation issues are often cited as a barrier for people with disabilities to get a job, keep a job or attend activities in the community.

“We’re excited about this innovative partnership with Lyft that provides a reliable and flexible transportation option,” said Kelly Harder, director of Dakota County Community Services in a statement. “Being able to book rides in real time throughout the county increases employment opportunities and helps to ensure access to the community for all.”

The new transportation option launched April 1. The service will be phased in, with all of those who receive Home and Community Based Services eligible to use Lyft to go to their community employment by fall 2019.

“We're thrilled to be partnering with Dakota County to provide critical jobs access and mobility options to Dakota County residents," said Bakari Brock, Lyft’s senior director of city partnerships in a statement. “Our mission is to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation, and we're looking forward to working with Community Services to increase mobility for all without relying on car ownership.”

Individuals can receive assistance learning how to use Lyft services by emailing traveltraining@co.dakota.mn.us. People who are eligible for the program can sign up through their case manager, or can email sslyft@co.dakota.mn.usif they have questions.

The county is working with Lyft to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles, which it doesn’t currently have in the Twin Cities market.