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VAN WERT — The United Way of Van Wert County, the Van Wert County Department of Health and Van Wert County Hospital announce on Tuesday their support of Liberty Mobility Now in order to improve rural transportation options within the county.

This collaboration will provide new solutions to the transportation challenges faced by the residents of Van Wert County. Liberty Mobility Now is a rural and small urban Mobility as a Service (MaaS) provider.

Vicki Smith, Executive Director of United Way of Van Wert County, is very enthusiastic and supportive of the introduction of Liberty’s services.

“We are very excited to play a role in bringing Liberty Mobility Now to Van Wert County. Transportation has been identified over and over again as an unmet need in our community,” Smith said. “This is a great opportunity to provide further resources to our United Way agencies, their clients and our community as a whole.”

Liberty’s mission is to connect communities through technology, public-private partnerships and deploying Liberty drivers where there is need. Liberty drivers are independent contractors that get paid per mile by accepting trips requested from people in the community.

Residents can request rides through multiple mediums. Liberty offers advanced smart phone technology for individuals to request trips as well a call center for those who want to connect with a person to set up an account or book a trip. All the payment is handled electronically.

“Our key solution is to improve mobility in rural areas by connecting various types of public transportation with a rural Uber version,” said Valerie Lefler, president and CEO of Liberty Mobility Now. “Our drivers can help improve service at night or on weekends, or when a public transit is not available at all in a community.”

Van Wert County Hospital is supportive and eager to offer Liberty’s services to Van Wert County residents.

“Achieving a healthy community with healthy people will require affordable transportation solutions for people who have limited or no means to access critical health care and healthy living resources, and our partnership with Liberty is one step towards eliminating these transportation barriers,” Jim Pope, CEO at Van Wert County Hospital said.

The Lima Area Agency on Aging (AAA3) is supportive of Liberty’s efforts in this arena and is proud to see the expansion of resources in the area that inspire, educate and empower older adults, persons with disabilities and family caregivers.

“We are thrilled that Liberty has chosen to launch in Van Wert County and are in full support of this unique mobility option that we believe can fill the transportation gaps experienced by Van Wert County residents,” Erica Petrie, the Mobility Manager for AAA3, said.

To learn more about the service or sign up to become a Liberty driver, individuals may visit libertymobilitynow.com or call 1-888-785-4237.

Liberty Mobility Now was funded through a US DOT Federal Transit Administration Small Business and Innovation Research grant. Liberty will be launching their Mobility as a Service and Liberty Drivers in seven states throughout 2017, with the goal of being nationwide by 2020. Rural mobility challenges span the globe and Liberty plans to deploy its service internationally in that time frame as well.