NewsLocal News


Local transportation nonprofit Ride-On struggling with high fuel costs

ride on.JPG
Posted at 5:54 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 22:26:13-04

While inflated gas prices have clearly caused frustration for everyday drivers, the increased costs have also made operations difficult for the local transportation organization, Ride-On.

"Our monthly fuel went from $50,000 a month to $86,000 a month in May," said Mark Shaffer, Ride-On Executive Director.

Since 1993, the nonprofit has worked to provide more ways to get around for people throughout San Luis Obispo County. Their drivers cover a wide array of transportation services for veterans, individuals with disabilities, seniors, and more.

However, as the average cost of a gallon of gas in San Luis Obispo County has ballooned to nearly $6.50, Shaffer says his team may not be able to sustain itself for more than half a year.

"We are hoping that the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments might be able to help us out," Shaffer added.

He says much of Ride-On's income stems from contracted governmental entities and that he has been in talks with them about hopefully receiving a stipend to help offset their expenses.

Additionally, the group has run into difficulty retaining drivers.

"There are places out there that will hire people at 24, 25 dollars an hour, give them a $2,000 signing bonus and increased wages. It's just hard to get people to work at this current stage," Ride-On Operations Manager Joe Rossini told KSBY.

Rossini says the 85 vans in their unit provide essential rides to people all across SLO County and that they plan on continuing those services as long as they are able.

On average, their drivers provide over 290,000 affordable rides to the community every year, and the Ride-On team still has no plans on raising costs for the people they serve.

"Oh, it gives you the proudest feeling to fulfill the needs for all those people. You wouldn't believe it," Rossini continued.

Ride-On says they will also begin looking for additional grants from the county and state that may help bring relief to their situation.