Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to use Neighbor Ride?
Passengers must be:
- 60 years of age
- A resident of Howard County
- Be able to get in and out of a vehicle independently
Neighbor Ride can’t accommodate wheelchairs (walkers, rollators, and canes are fine). Proof of residency and age may be requested.
How does this service work?
Passengers are transported door to door by volunteer drivers in their personal vehicles. For liability reasons, drivers may not accompany passengers into their homes (except for accompanied shopping rides). Passengers must be physically and cognitively able to conduct their own personal business once they are at their destination. Passengers are eligible for a maximum of 12 rides per month.
Is there an extra fee if a spouse, friend, or assistant accompanies me?
There are no additional fees for anyone traveling from the same location and traveling to the same destination. Note: A Passenger Waiver form for each additional passenger must be on file in the office before the ride can be scheduled. Neighbor Ride cannot transport anyone under eight years of age.
For what types of rides can I use Neighbor Ride?
Passengers may utilize Neighbor Ride for religious services, classes, volunteer activities, social outings, medical appointments, and shopping, both accompanied and unaccompanied. Neighbor Ride does not provide rides to the airport, cruise terminals, Amtrak stations, or gaming venues.
When are rides available?
Neighbor Ride provides rides daily, depending on the availability of volunteer drivers. Please note the office is closed on all major holidays and the ride request schedule is adjusted accordingly.
Will Neighbor Ride provide transportation to destinations outside of Howard County?
Yes, our maximum one-way driving distance is 35 miles from pick-up. Please schedule longer distance and rush hour rides as early as possible as there are fewer drivers for these rides.
When can I schedule my first ride?
Passengers can schedule their first ride once they receive a phone call informing them their submitted paperwork has been completed and their accounts have been established. A welcome package will be mailed.
What if I only need a one-way ride?
Neighbor Ride accommodates one-way ride requests. The fare is the same as for a roundtrip ride. Trips to bus or metro stations are one-way only.
How do I schedule a ride?
Passengers must contact Neighbor Ride at least three (3) full business days in advance to schedule trip(s). For example, if you need a ride on Friday, you must contact Neighbor Ride Monday before 2:00 p.m. to schedule.
Rides can be scheduled online here or by calling us at 410-884-RIDE during our office hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, and Saturday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Messages left on the answering machine after 2:00 p.m. and on Sundays are returned the next business day.
What information do I need to provide while scheduling?
For all rides, passengers must provide:
- Pick-up time
- Appointment time
- Number of passengers
- Destination address and zip code
- Telephone number
- Estimated return trip time
Medical appointments require the doctor’s name, group practice name, and phone number. For appointments at hospitals or clinics, passengers need to also provide a department.
What information is needed before using Neighbor Ride?
Passengers must complete:
- Passenger Registration
- Agreement form
Passengers must also create a transportation account by sending in $45 ($20 is a non-refundable registration fee and $25 is deposited in your transportation account).
How much does it cost and how do I pay?
Click here to learn more about our pricing and payment options.
Why do you charge?
Paid rides help keep our organization up and running. We are a 501(c)3 registered non-profit, and we do everything we can to keep our costs down and ensure our rides are affordable. More than 40% of rides are covered by our Good Neighbor Fund and we rely on our volunteer ride coordinators to answer our phones. Our paid rides contribute to our overhead and allow us to support our one full-time and three part-time staff members, cover maintenance fees for our technology and fund our training and call center in Columbia, MD.
What if I am running late or want to make an unscheduled stop?
Drivers are not permitted to make unscheduled stops. One additional stop of less than one hour between the pickup and destination can be scheduled at the time the ride is requested. Drivers may be scheduled for multiple rides, so it is important that passengers meet them at the prearranged time and place for pick-up and return. Medical appointments vary in length; try to estimate the longest possible visit time.
What happens if no driver is found?
While every effort is made to find a volunteer driver, there is no guarantee that each ride will be filled. Passengers will be called 2 business days before the ride if a driver has not been found to see if the ride is still needed. If the ride is still needed and a driver is not found, passengers will be contacted by 2 p.m. the day before the ride. Passengers will not be charged for unassigned rides.
What if I need to cancel a scheduled trip?
Please cancel as early as possible so the driver can be notified. Passengers are not charged for canceled trips. Please note: Repeated cancellations or no-shows inconvenience our drivers and impact our ability to serve our passengers. Repeated cancellations or no-shows may result in a suspension or termination of service per our Excessive Cancellation/No-Show Policy.
How are the volunteer drivers chosen?
Each driver has attended orientation and passed a criminal background check, a driving record check, and a personal reference check. Learn more about our qualifications here.
When should I use the emergency line?
When the Neighbor Ride office is closed, leave a message on the emergency line only if:
- You need to cancel a ride scheduled to take place within the next 12 hours or over the weekend
- You were not contacted by your driver the night before your scheduled ride
- Your driver has not arrived at the scheduled time
The emergency line can be reached by calling 410-884-7433 and pressing 2.
What is NR’s inclement weather policy?
To ensure the safety of our drivers and passengers, either the driver or the passenger may cancel a ride. If the driver is willing to drive in questionable weather, the driver will contact the passenger to confirm that he/she still wants the ride. If the ride is canceled, please contact the Neighbor Ride office. If possible, the Neighbor Ride office will remain open to handle notification of cancellations.
How will I be able to identify my Neighbor Ride drivers?
Look for the Neighbor Ride sign on the passenger side door of the vehicle and the volunteer’s name badge.
- Smoking, eating, and drinking during a ride are prohibited
- It is against Neighbor Ride policy for our volunteers to accept tips
- Passengers are expected to pay for tolls and parking on the day of ride
How can I comment on my experience with Neighbor Ride?
Survey postcards are mailed to passengers after their first ride and every six months thereafter. You may also leave us a review on Google or Facebook. We appreciate your comments.
May I donate to Neighbor Ride to help ensure services will always be available?
Absolutely! Your tax-deductible donations are gratefully accepted. You may also consider a Legacy Gift. Contact our Executive Director, Bruce Fulton, at 410-884-7433 for more information.
Neighbor Ride is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of its transportation services on the basis of race, color, or national origin, as protected by Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.