The BCCOA Healthy Destination Access program pilot was highlighted in a national article published by the National Council on Aging. Click below to read the story!
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) named agencies in Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska and Texas as recipients of the "Connecting Rural Communities" Award for their exemplary work during the pandemic to provide transportation to essential workers and improve the quality of life in their communities. FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez announced the awards as part of the National Conference on Rural, Public and Intercity Bus Transportation.
"From converting buses into vaccination clinics, to delivering meals to senior citizens and students, to bringing healthy groceries to food deserts and reaching underserved people, these six transit agencies and their workers went above and beyond," said Administrator Fernandez. "Our agency is proud to support transit agencies around the country who are playing such essential roles in the communities they serve."
Since 1985, FTA has recognized great work in rural transit by presenting Administrator’s Awards for Outstanding Public Transportation Service in Rural Public Transportation. This year's "Connecting Rural Communities" awards recognize rural transit providers that have improved the mobility of Americans in rural areas. Specifically, these systems served their communities by providing access to vital services during the COVID-19 pandemic, advanced equity for all, including individuals who have been historically underserved and adversely affected by persistent poverty or income inequality, and improved the safety of rural transit.
When the pandemic began in March 2020, BCCOA immediately instituted safety procedures in all of its vehicles, including installing operator protective shields. To help communities in the Mississippi Delta region tackle the problem of food deserts, BCCOA partnered with Mississippi State University and the state’s Public Transit Division to start a rural micro-transit service designed to expand healthy food access. Supported with federal CARES Act funding, BCCOA customized their services to react to where the needs are greatest -- a model that can be replicated throughout the state. BCCOA also partnered with local elected officials, health centers and other community partners to provide fare-free transportation to COVID testing and vaccination events.
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