Anaheim Should Consider Outsourcing Its Senior Mobility Program

Senior paratransit

Anaheim Insider here.

Item 11 on tomorrow’s Anaheim City Council agenda item would authorize the Director of Community Services to apply for a Federal Transportation Authority grant in order to purchase three “new large buses” to the eight mini-buses the city currently owns and uses to operate its Anaheim Senior Mobility Department.

The staff report states that “Since 1977, the City has received funding through an Agreement with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to provide a “Senior Mobility Program” minibus service to transport Anaheim senior citizens to and from their home to senior lunch program sites, non-emergency medical appointments, grocery stores, pharmacies, and other sites. The Anaheim Senior Mobility Program provides transportation services to Anaheim senior citizens that purchase “ride tickets” at a cost of $2.00 per each one-way trip. “

Is there any particular reason for operating the Senior Mobility Program using city-owned buses driven by city employees. As long as it is voting on this item, City Council ought to considering contracting with an outside vendor to operate the program;  it is quite common for local governments to outsource their paratransit programs. Done right, the program could be operated by an outside vendor using its own equipment with its own employees, rather than the city purchasing depreciating assets that must be driven and maintained by city employees. This is the time for the Council to have that discussion.


  1. One goal of Measures M1 and M2 was improving transportation services in Orange County for seniors and persons with disabilities. Residents throughout Orange County pay a half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements including a Senior Mobility Program (SMP). Participating cities include Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley Fullerton, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Hills, Laguna, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

    These cities may receive funds from the Orange County Transportation Authority to operate a transit program for persons aged ≥60 years. In turn, cities contribute to fund this program.

    Please explain why it is in Anaheim’s best interest to reject grant money and tax dollars to support this program and instead outsource SMP.

    • I apologize if my post was unclear, but I never said anything about rejecting grant money. The city should apply for it. But accepting grant money doesn’t providing the service with city employees and city-owned vehicles. What I’m saying is the council should examine operating the senior mobility program by using an outside paratransit company, rather than doing it in-house.

  2. Exactly like you said, if it is done right, this could be a great thing for Anaheim. Thanks for sharing!

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