Celebrating More Than 35 Years
In 1979, Easy Lift Transportation was created as a special project of the local Easter Seal Society. The agency began operation with one converted motor home, one driver, and an on board hostess. In 1981, Easy Lift incorporated as its own nonprofit charitable agency focused on promoting independence and dignity by providing transportation for people with limited mobility.
The Early Years
In the early and mid-eighties funding fluctuated for Easy Lift. The instability of funding, along with internal problems and a lack of public understanding of Easy Lift’s vital role in the community resulted in the organization shutting down in the summer of 1987.
When the news of Easy Lift’s imminent demise hit the local media, the response from the community was overwhelming. In a groundswell of support, people and other nonprofit agencies came from everywhere to give testimony to the critical role of Easy Lift in the community. As a result of this tremendous public support, the Board of Directors decided to give it another try. In late September 1987, with three vans in service, a new Executive Director was hired and charged with the responsibility of rebuilding the agency from the ground up. Within a few months the renewal and rebirth of Easy Lift Transportation began.
The agency was serving a handful of people and hundreds of requests for service were turned away each month. Then came the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, and transportation services for disabled individuals were mandated under federal law. This gave rise to more consistent funding sources for Easy Lift Transportation, and enabled the agency to grow to the current fleet of 27 vehicles, operating 363 days per year, and approximately 18 hours each day. We now schedule approximately 6,200 rides per month for our passengers in south Santa Barbara County. In 2009, Easy Lift Transportation celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Community Transit Alliances
In accordance with state statute, Easy Lift Transportation has been designated the Consolidated Transportation Service Agency (CTSA) for south Santa Barbara County. As such, our mandate is to provide and coordinate a variety of transit services for the community in a cost effective manner. Easy Lift’s effectiveness, operations, and bookkeeping must annually undergo review and/or site inspections by the CHP, CalTrans, the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, City of Santa Barbara, County of Santa Barbara, United Way and others. We also conduct a “client satisfaction” survey of our Dial-A-Ride passengers annually and undergo an extensive annual audit by an independent CPA. As a member of CalACT (California Association of Coordinated Transportation) and CTAA (Community Transportation Association of America), Easy Lift has access to valuable comparative data and networks with organizations like our own throughout the state to enhance the management and service of our programs.
Today, Easy Lift Transportation provides a wide-variety of specialized transportation related services for the south Santa Barbara community.
The primary service we provide is our Dial-a-Ride service where we continue to be the sole provider of Dial-a-Ride services in south Santa Barbara County. Passengers use the service for a wide variety of purposes from medical appointments, work, school, grocery shopping, to quality of life activities such as church, recreation and entertainment. Our service area stretches from Winchester Canyon to Carpinteria, and we operate 363 days per year.
In addition, Easy Lift is truly a special community resource! As a nonprofit organization, Easy Lift is unique in the paratransit industry. Most similar organizations in the U.S. rely exclusively on government funding, while just half of our Dial-a-Ride funding is from the government. Because of our nonprofit status, Easy Lift can leverage those funds with additional fundraising activities which results in our ability to serve twice as many people.
As our nation grows older and those with physical challenges assert greater independence, the need for service is continually on the rise. Because transportation provides the independence vital to maintaining quality of life, Easy Lift will continually strive to expand its service to meet the unmet and growing needs of our community.
Information on all our current programs and services can be found here.