The Voluntary Action Center was recently approved for an $8,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley on behalf of the Kendall Area Transit (KAT) program. These funds will help towards the purchase of paratransit scheduling and routing software and equipment.
VAC’s goal is to provide safe and reliable transportation to the residents of Kendall County. The new software and equipment will help VAC provide more KAT rides to the residents of Kendall County, as well as increase the number of riders that may call and be scheduled at a time.
“The scheduling/dispatch center is the heart of the KAT operation,” said KAT Program Director Mike Neuenkirchen. “With the help of this type of technology, our operation will be streamlined, which allows for faster and more efficient routing of our vehicles.”
“VAC has been very successful in raising local match for KAT. This is great news for the program,” said Kendall County Administrator Jeff Wilkins.
VAC is a nonprofit organization based out of Sycamore that had been providing community transportation services in DeKalb County for over 40 years. In 2009, Kendall County chose to partner with VAC to operate KAT. VAC began operating the KAT program in March 2010.
In its first year of service VAC provided over 4,500 KAT rides to Kendall County residents. Since opening in 2010, KAT has seen substantial growth and is slated to give more than 30,000 rides in 2016. There has been an increase in ridership of 508 percent in the short six years of KAT’s opening.
Given the challenges of state funding over the last year, VAC is trying to diversify its funding sources. “We are very grateful to the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley for supporting us in our acquisition of software,” said Neuenkirchen. “Without the Community Foundation’s assistance in this, we would not have been able to secure this critical tool. I am proud to have them as a partner in the growth of the KAT program.”