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Rural Transportation Conference

Rural transportation providers will be coming together in July to study possible ways they can come together with the Aging Network to more collaboratively and effectively provide transportation services to New Mexico’s age 50 plus population.

Collaboration will be the primary focus of the Rural Transportation Conference set for July 13 and 14th at the Embassy Suites in Albuquerque. The two-day event is sponsored by AARP New Mexico and the New Mexico Passenger Transportation Association.

AARP has real concerns about how to keep people engaged in their communities once they decide to stop driving. While cities face their own challenges with public transportation options, these challenges are even more compounded in a rural setting.

“Our main concern is people need to remain active and engaged in our society,” said Stan Cooper, AARP New Mexico State Director. “They need socialization. There are government programs to get people to a doctor’s office, to a meal site, or to a senior center but few if any provide social trips.”

“So once someone has to give up their car keys how are they going to go across town to visit a relative or a friend or to a restaurant or movies. AARP’s role is to provide options so that an individual’s quality of life doesn’t go downhill once driving is no longer an option,” Cooper said.

Finding those options are even more difficult in a rural setting.

“In a rural setting there are few transportation options to begin with. These communities just aren’t going to have the services of a larger city,” Cooper said.

“Our hope through this conference is to bring entities within the transportation and aging network together to help one another serve the 50 plus population,” he said.

Public transportation services are often governed by a number of policies and procedures often determined by the funding stream that finances a provider. Another goal of the conference will be to identify any procedures and policies that may need to be addressed through the State Legislature.

“We’re going to study better avenues of collaboration and determine if any polices recommendations are needed,” Cooper said.

The conference, which will be geared toward transportation providers and those working within the aging network, will feature such things as how providers face the growing aging population in the transportation arena, available funding streams for rural transportation providers, collaboration and resource sharing and Medicaid non-emergency transportation.

For more information on the conference contact the AARP New Mexico State Office at 1-866-389-5636.

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