Manchester’s Safe Station Program is exploring a novel way to transport people to local substance abuse providers -- by using the ride-sharing app Lyft.
Safe Stations allows anyone to walk into a city firehouse and be taken to an addiction treatment provider, no questions asked. But since the program began in 2016, transportation, particularly after hours, was always a problem. Before the providers would pay staff to be on call 24/7 to drive people to treatment.
Now the fire department’s dispatcher just pulls up the app, requests a Lyft and in a matter of minutes that person is brought to the treatment provider – for just a few dollars.
Fire Chief Dan Goonan says so far it’s worked well.
“It’s really cost effective and you can pull the location up on your phone with the Lyft app and there are always Lyft drivers here – we’ve never had issue with them getting there and it’s keeping our fire service trucks in service longer, so it’s a really good deal for everyone I think," Goonan said.
Goonan said the idea came from Chris Stawasz, the regional director of American Medical Response in Nashua, who said ARM has been using Lyft to provide nonemergency rides all over the country.
Tuesday night the program received a $10,000 city grant to cover the cost of rides.