Enhancing Healthcare Access - The Synergy of Microtransit and NEMT
Microtransit and non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) are becoming game changers in the healthcare industry. They have become important modes of mobility for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and other patients who don’t have access to private vehicles.
Both types of transportation make healthcare more accessible to those with special needs and those from the low-income sector.
In this article, we will talk about how microtransit and NEMT help enhance healthcare access.
- Understanding Microtransit: A Modern Mobility Solution
- How NEMT and Microtransit Can Work Together
Understanding Microtransit: A Modern Mobility Solution
What is microtransit?
The best description of microtransit is that it is a cross between a public vehicle and a privately hired riding service. Physically, it looks like a minibus.
Microtransit is a relatively recent development in the industry and is quickly gaining popularity because of its many benefits.
The following are important microtransit benefits:
1. Cheaper Transport Alternative
Not everybody can afford private vehicles. And if one household has a car or two, they won’t always be available. Taxis and ride-hailing apps can be quite expensive, especially when you regularly need a ride.
Microtransit is a fantastic alternative for many. Its routes are based on demand, so they are very flexible. Passengers can also benefit from a regular route with set curb-to-curb stops close to their homes.
It is similar to a taxi because routes aren’t set in stone. But it is significantly cheaper than taxis o because you share the ride with others.
2. Decreases Vehicles in Major Thoroughfares
According to a report, a typical US driver loses about an hour every week due to traffic congestion. This is equivalent to more than two days they could have used for something productive.
With so many private vehicles on the road at all times, traffic in the US can be quite awful. But communities providing an excellent transportation option like microtransit will encourage many to rethink driving their private vehicles everywhere.
Nobody wants to drive in heavy traffic and lose productive hours. And spending so much time on the road also means more money spent on gas. As long as the alternative is almost as comfortable as a private vehicle, passengers would willingly take the option.
Microtransit is clean, comfortable, and in tip-top shape, and something that can minimize congestion.
3. Lowers Greenhouse Gas Emission
Fewer vehicles in major thoroughfares also mean less greenhouse gas emissions. In the US, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, taking 28% of the pie. It is followed by electric power (25%), other industries (23%), commercial and residential (13%), and agriculture (10%).
4. Serves Transit Deserts
Microtransit was really made for people who don’t have regular access to public transportation. Many American cities have transit deserts or areas with inadequate mobility options.
This is also why many people who live in rural areas and transit deserts have limited access to medical care.
With microtransit companies that use NEMT software, passengers can schedule a ride through the app like RouteGenie and wait for it like they just booked an Uber or Lyft. Because they will share the ride with other people going on the same route, the cost is significantly lower.
5. Travel Time is Greatly Reduced
Modern transportation software helps drivers get the best route possible, significantly minimizing travel time, reducing gas expenses, and reducing their carbon footprint. Every microtransit trip has been well calculated so that no time or gas is wasted, and every route is optimized.
How NEMT and Microtransit Can Work Together
What is the impact of microtransit on NEMT?
Contrary to what some may believe, NEMT and microtransit don’t compete with each other. In fact, they can be complementary.
Why NEMT is Important
The NEMT industry is steadily growing, but more and more patients need to be serviced. The NEMT market was worth $8.6 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $15.6 billion in 2028.
According to a study on chronic diseases among US adults, the population of people aged 50 and older will increase by at least 2% every year until 2050. From 137.25 million older adults in 2020, the population will grow to 221.13 million by 2050. And around 99.5% of them will have at least one chronic disease.
Each year, millions of Americans can’t access medical care because of the lack of transportation.
With NEMT vehicles, senior citizens and persons with disabilities can enjoy safe and secure transportation that would ferry them to and from medical appointments. NEMT is not as expensive as people think because it is largely covered by government insurance under the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly or PACE.
Microtransit and NEMT
But because of the growing NEMT demand, providers may be unable to cater to all those who need it. And this is where microtransit comes in.
Communities, particularly those in transit deserts, can use microtransit to help people with non-emergency healthcare concerns get the attention and care they need.
NEMT provides special services to patients with special needs. It has specialized equipment to support people who need stretchers or oxygens during transport. It has ample space for passengers on walkers or wheelchairs. The seats are also comfortable.
Microtransit often doesn’t have such amenities. However, since most microtransit vehicles are mini buses, there is ample space for walkers or wheelchairs. And for those who need special equipment, a special request can be made during a pickup request.
With the use of modern transportation and NEMT software, requests can be easily processed and granted if feasible. Most NEMT companies have wheelchairs and stretchers for rent as part of their full service.
Microtransit benefits align with that of NEMT. Microtransit and NEMT are not competing niches. Instead, by working and collaborating, microtransit and NEMT can enhance healthcare access and make medical services available to people who need them the most.
Those who didn’t have access to safe, secure, and affordable transportation missed many medical checkups. But with NEMT and microtransit, aided by efficient transportation management software, everyone can now avail themselves of healthcare services.
About the author
As RouteGenie's Marketing Director, Yurii gained deep knowledge in the NEMT industry. He is an expert in marketing, utilizing all marketing channels to build RouteGenie's brand and to make sure NEMT providers have access to powerful NEMT software that can boost their growth. Yurii shares his knowledge by writing content on topics related to marketing, and the healthcare industry: medical transportation, home care, and medical billing.