In May 2020, the County Connection Board of Directors authorized an amendment to Transdev paratransit LINK services contract to include COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Following the statewide Shelter in Place Order in March, regular paratransit trip volume dropped by about 80%. During this time, as ridership dropped and paratransit staff remained at work, County Connection partnered with the Meals on Wheels program to continue to provide essential food delivery service to seniors who were affected by the order. The paratransit program has delivered meals for the entire County, not just within the County Connection service area.
The success of the meal delivery service has been widely recognized by other organizations who reached out to the paratransit program for similar aid. The program expanded to deliver groceries and meals for Mount Diablo School District, the City of San Ramon Senior Meal Program, and the Contra Costa County Food Bank Program.
To date, the paratransit program has delivered the following:
- Meals on Wheels: 19,729
- Contra Costa County Food Bank: 199 boxes (4,378 lbs. of food)
- Lunches: 6,722
- Brown Bag Groceries: 92
- City of San Ramon Senior Meal Delivery: 2,227
In addition to this, the paratransit division received a request from the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), to begin the transportation of COVID-19 positive individuals. To date, the paratransit program has transported 440 COVID-19 positive individuals. Transportation included medical facilities or homeless relocation efforts to hotels. Specialized training and PPE were provided by the County Health Department. A subset of paratransit vehicles were also set aside and redesigned in a way to isolate the Operator for the infected passengers. Operators participating in this distinct program volunteered for it and are governed under a unique set of regulations. This program is an ongoing partnership with the County, alongside Tri Delta Transit.