State Employees Honored with Governor’s Awards

Members News

At a ceremony today, Governor Tom Wolf presented a group of employees from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Office of Administration (OA) with the Governor’s Awards for Excellence, in recognition of their efforts to develop Find My Ride (FMR) Apply, an easy-to-use online tool that allows individuals in most Pennsylvania counties to apply for transportation assistance programs.

The honorees are:

  • John Taylor, Mass Transit Manager 1, PennDOT;
  • Ian Detamore, Transportation Planning Specialist 2, PennDOT;
  • Aaron Wolf, Transportation Planning Specialist 2, PennDOT;
  • Daphne Simeonoff, Human Services Analyst Supervisor, DHS;
  • Ronald Minnich, Human Services Analyst, DHS;
  • Maribel Torres, Human Services Analyst, DHS;
  • Amy Stum, Project Manager 2, OA;
  • Venkata Chimmili, Senior Applications Developer, OA;
  • Shane Daniels, Applications Developer Administrator, OA; and
  • Loc Tan Tran, Information Technology Manager 1, OA.

FMR Apply was developed collaboratively with transit agencies, and streamlines the application process for the five largest transportation assistance programs in the state, including the Senior Shared Ride program, the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP), ADA complementary paratransit, the Persons with Disabilities program and the Free Transit Program. Additionally, FMR Apply allows third-parties, such as a family member or healthcare provider, to apply for services on behalf of a rider.

“Transportation needs to work for everyone,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “By making the application process more efficient, these teams have made it easier for many people across Pennsylvania to access important transportation services that will keep them connected to their communities.”

Since its rollout of FMR Apply in May 2021, benefits to transit agencies, PennDOT, Department of Human Services, and customers has been considerable. Customers do not need to determine what programs they are eligible for, and this, coupled with the user-friendly application has resulted in an increase in applications submitted. Automatic data validation within the application has resulted in improved data accuracy, saving transit agencies time and money in processing applications. Transit agencies can process applications more efficiently, which allows transit users to access benefits more quickly. 

 “We are always working to make the services we provide easier to access for the people we serve. The Find My Ride service is an excellent example of state agencies like DHS and PennDOT working collaboratively to meet the needs of Pennsylvanians, whether they need a ride to the doctor’s office or the grocery store,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “I could not be more proud of my colleagues for earning this honor today, and I offer them my congratulations and sincerest thanks for the work they do.”

DHS’ MATP program provides non-emergency medical transportation for Medicaid-eligible consumers who do not have access to transportation. MATP funds more than nine million trips annually, and each county provides the type of transportation that is the least expensive while still meeting an individual’s needs.

The project team paid special attention to accessibility when developing FMR Apply, including validating color contrast, use of captions, use of assistive reader devices, sentence length, and reading level to evaluate the forms accessibility. User feedback has been extremely positive and has been demonstrated by the continuous increase in online applications.

“Technology works best when it is designed to work for everyone,” said Secretary of Administration Michael Newsome. “Making Find My Ride Apply easy to use for people who need transportation services, including older Pennsylvanians and people with disabilities, is part of a broader initiative under Governor Wolf to improve how we deliver services to all Pennsylvanians through customer-centered thinking and approaches.”

FMR Apply leverages Keystone Login, a single, secure user credential that can be used to log into multiple Commonwealth online services.  

The Governor’s Awards for Excellence recognize exemplary job performance or service that reflects initiative, leadership, innovation and increased efficiency. The PennDOT, DEP and OA team was among 50 employees from 12 state agencies honored by Governor Wolf at a ceremony today.