LIVESTRONG Cancer Transportation Program Volunteer FAQ's
Need help finding the answers to your questions? Here are the topics covered in the FAQ
What is the LIVESTRONG Cancer Transportation Program?
- The LIVESTRONG Cancer Transportation Program provides free transportation services to eligible Travis County residents to and from cancer related appointments in the Austin metropolitan area. Rides are provided by volunteer drivers. All participants, both volunteers and cancer survivors, must apply for the program and will be screened prior to enrollment including background and/or driving record checks (for drivers).
Who is Faith in Action Caregivers?
- Faith in Action Caregivers (FIAC) is the nonprofit organization the LIVESTRONG Foundation has teamed up with to launch the LIVESTRONG Cancer Transportation Program. FIAC is a network of nonprofit organizations that offers volunteer services to help older adults in maintaining and improving their quality of life. FIAC will manage the program’s day-to-day activities such as ride scheduling.
Who is Shivers?
- The LIVESTRONG Cancer Transportation Program is made possible through the generosity of the Shivers Cancer Foundation.
Who is car2go?
- A wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler, car2go offers an innovative mobility solution redefining individual transportation in rapidly growing urban areas by offering a network of several hundred environment-friendly smart fortwo vehicles for rent. Experience spontaneity on wheels: car2go makes transportation flexible. Get in and out wherever you like. Drive as long and as often as you want. Visit car2go.com to learn more. car2go is waiving membership fees and will provide access to car2go vehicles at no cost to volunteers for purposes of this program.
Why is the Foundation starting a transportation program? Aren’t there already other programs here in Austin?
- While there are transportation programs available in Austin, we strive to make our program as accessible as possible with broad-based service. The program will be available to residents of Travis County and will include rides to and from all essential cancer-related appointments including rides to treatment and doctor's visits as well as to support groups, counseling sessions and any other appointment essential improving the lives of people affected by cancer. To enroll, patients can contact our bilingual staff at the LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Center at 855.220.7777.
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How do I apply to become a volunteer driver?
- If you live in or near Travis County and have a valid driver license, current automobile insurance meeting Texas state liability minimums, a safe reliable vehicle and a desire make a difference, please apply online. Applicants will be invited to a training session and then evaluated to confirm eligibility including criminal background and driving record checks. Volunteers intending to only utilize car2go vehicles are not required to bring proof of insurance unless they plan on also driving their own vehicle for this program. Note that car2go will conduct the driving record checks on their account members.
I don’t live in Austin. Do you need volunteers from nearby areas?
- Rides will be provided to eligible Travis County residents to and from cancer related appointments in the Austin metropolitan area. We expect to have patients from all over the county and would like to establish a broad distribution of volunteer drivers including communities such as Round Rock, Cedar Park, Manor, Buda, Lakeway, etc. As long as you are committed to driving patients to appointments in the Austin metropolitan area, it does not matter where you live.
I work full-time in an office without much flexibility. Can I still volunteer?
- While most appointments occur during business hours on weekdays, occasionally, patients need evening or weekend rides so please consider volunteering even if your time is limited. We have a web-based scheduling program that allows you to view requested rides so that you can sign-up for rides that match your schedule and availability.
I am concerned about driving a stranger. Is this program safe?
- All patients will be screened for eligibility prior to enrollment in this program which includes a criminal background check. Similarly, a driving record and criminal background check will be conducted on all enrolled volunteer drivers. If you ever feel uncomfortable, please use your best judgment and put your safety first. Please report any concerns immediately.
I drive a tall truck or a two seat vehicle, can I still volunteer?
- While some vehicles are better than others, we welcome any interested and committed volunteer that meets eligibility requirements. If a patient has physical limitations or a preference of vehicle type, it will be noted in the web-based scheduling program. As a courtesy, it’s a good practice to inform patients during the confirmation call of potentially challenging vehicle types such as tall trucks or two-seaters. All car2go vehicles are small two-seaters.
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What happens after I submit my volunteer application?
- After your application is submitted, it will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness. If information is missing, you will be contacted. Once a complete application is received, eligible applicants are invited to attend a volunteer training session. Please bring your valid driver license and proof of automobile insurance. After training, a driving record and criminal background check is conducted and your references will be contacted before you will be fully enrolled in the program. We reserve the right to not invite applicants to participate as a volunteer driver pending the outcome of these checks and reference contacts. Volunteers intending to only utilize car2go vehicles are not required to bring proof of insurance unless they plan on also driving their own vehicle for this program. Note that car2go will conduct the driving record checks on their account members.
Why is volunteer training necessary?
- Training is necessary to explain the operations of the program and instruct volunteers on how to get the most out of the experience. Volunteers will also be instructed on how to work with the special needs of cancer patients in order to provide compassionate, courteous and professional transportation.
How often and when do I have to volunteer?
- It is up to you to decide how often and when you volunteer. With our web-based scheduling program you can choose to volunteer for rides that fit your schedule, no matter how limited your availability may be.
How are volunteers assigned to rides?
- Volunteer drivers select and sign up for rides through our web-based scheduling program. Volunteers can review needed rides through regular emails or log in to the website to see available ride requests and sign up. We require three business days notice from patients to allow sufficient time to identify a match for each ride request. Volunteer drivers are asked to make two confirmation calls directly to the patient prior to the ride, one when the confirmation email is received and one the day before or of the ride.
Where will I need to drive patients to and from?
- The pick-up and drop-off location will depend on the specific need of the patient but could occur anywhere within the Austin area. This program is open to eligible Travis County residents and includes rides to and from cancer related appointments in the Austin metropolitan area. The web-based volunteer scheduling program includes mapping technology that allows you to see the pick-up and drop-off location before accepting a ride request.
Will I be reimbursed for my gas?
- We depend on passionate volunteers that want to make a difference in someone’s life and are willing to volunteer their services. Your participation in this program is voluntary and you will not be reimbursed for gas, time or use of your vehicle. Note that car2go is providing access to car2go vehicles at no cost to account members who provide transportation to cancer patients as part of this program.
Do the passengers have to pay for this service?
- This is a free service to cancer patients and survivors that have no other transportation options to get to cancer related appointments. Your passenger will be responsible to pay for any parking fees incurred as part of their appointment.
Is volunteer driving tax deductible?
- The IRS establishes a tax deductible amount for use of a vehicle in the service of charitable organizations based on standard mileage rates. Please check with the IRS for the most current information and related policies. The ride system allows you to track your volunteer time and mileage should you want to claim the mileage donated as a deduction on your tax return.
What if I do not have automobile insurance?
- Except for volunteers who only use car2go vehicles, all volunteer drivers must maintain their own automobile insurance that meets Texas state liability minimums to participate in this program. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, current minimum liability limits are $30,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. This basic coverage is called 30/60/25 coverage. If you are uncertain of your coverage, please contact your automobile insurance provider directly. Please be sure to confirm the Texas state liability minimums as requirements may change from time to time. (Source: http://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/consumer/cb020.html)
May I be a volunteer driver if I have a driver license from another state?
- As long as you have a valid and current state license and meet the required insurance minimums, you may volunteer for this program. According to the Texas Department of Safety, a new resident moving into Texas, who is at least 16 years or older and has a valid driver license from another state, has 90 days after entry into the state to secure a Texas Driver License. (Source: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/ApplyforLicense.htm)
What if I don't have my own vehicle?
- Thanks to car2go, you can still be a volunteer driver as part of this program.! car2go is providing access to car2go vehicles at no cost to volunteers who provide transportation as part of this program. When applying, let us know that you are interested in becoming a car2go member for purposes of this program. Refer to the car2go FAQs for more information.
What is a Mobility Navigator?
- Faith in Action Caregiver’s Mobility Navigator is responsible for scheduling rides. Patients and survivors should submit requests for rides to the Mobility Navigator who will input requested rides in the web-based scheduling system for volunteers to view. This person will be the primary point of contact for both volunteers and individuals needing rides.
What if I am no longer able to provide transportation for a ride I’ve already been assigned?
- Volunteer drivers are expected to be professional and honor commitments to scheduled rides. Please confirm your availability prior to accepting a ride. In the event of an emergency, please contact the Mobility Navigator immediately so that we may try to find an alternate driver. We use taxis in the event that a volunteer driver cannot be found.
What if I don’t speak the same language as my passenger?
- If the patient speaks a language other than English, it will be noted in the web-based scheduling program. You will be able to decide which rides you are comfortable taking as a volunteer driver. If your passenger does not speak the same language as you, communicate as you would with someone who does speak your own language. Be polite and friendly, use gestures and avoid speaking slower or louder than normal. Through the scheduling process, you will already know all the necessary ride information including date, appointment time, pick-up and drop-off locations.
Do I have to wait for my passenger during his/her appointment?
- We will ask about your preferences for the level of transportation service you are willing to provide. Similarly, patients will submit ride requests detailing service needed such as one-way, round trip, curb-to-curb drop-off or escort required. If you agreed to a round trip ride you do not need to wait for the patient but do need to return at the pick-up time. You will only wait if a patient has specifically requested for someone to wait or escort them and you’ve agreed to provide that level of service.
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What car2go costs will be covered as part of this program?
- car2go is providing access to car2go vehicles at no cost to volunteers for providing transportation solely to and from cancer related appointments as part of this program. In addition, the membership fee will be waived for volunteers who are approved by the Foundation. car2go also provides auto insurance. Note that a credit card will be required to establish a car2go account for this program. It will not be charged unless it is determined that the vehicle was used for purposes other than providing volunteer rides as part of the LIVESTRONG Transportation program.
I currently don’t have a car2go account and want to volunteer. How do I start?
- First, apply to become a volunteer driver for this program and be sure to indicate your interest in utilizing car2go vehicles for this program. Refer to the FAQ “How do I apply to become a volunteer driver?” for more information. After attending a training session and your eligibility is confirmed, you will be provided with further instructions on how to create a car2go account. You will then be provided a promotional code to use when creating your account online at car2go.com. You must accept car2go Terms & Conditions and satisfactorily pass their driving record check. Approved volunteers will have two car2go accounts established; one personal and one for the transportation program. Only use your transportation program account for providing rides as part of this program.
I already have a car2go account and want to volunteer. How do I start?
- If you are already an approved car2go member, apply separately with the Foundation to become a volunteer driver. Refer to the FAQ “How do I apply to become a volunteer driver?” for more information. Be sure to identify yourself as a car2go member on the application. After attending a training session and your eligibility is confirmed, you will be provided with further instructions on how to create a new car2go account that should only be used for this program. You will then be provided with a promotional code to use when creating your volunteer account online at car2go.com. You must accept car2go Terms & Conditions and satisfactorily pass their driving record check. Approved volunteers will have two car2go accounts established; one personal and one for the transportation program. Only use the transportation program account for providing rides as part of this program.
Are there special car2go procedures for this program?
- Once you are approved both by car2go and the Foundation, you will have a specific transportation program account established for the purposes of this program. This account should only be used when volunteering for this program by providing transportation to or from a cancer related appointment. Your personal account should be used for all other purposes. You will not be responsible for any charges associated with your transportation program account unless the reconciliation process identifies vehicle use other than volunteer transportation for the transportation program. Otherwise, use a car2go vehicle just like you normally would use one.
Are there any other special instructions for using a car2go vehicle for this program?
- Like all volunteers, car2go members volunteering for this program should follow the instructions and guidelines provided during training. As a courtesy, inform your ride that you will be driving a small two-seater ahead of time in case he or she has any concerns regarding the vehicle size. It is good practice to build in sufficient time to find and get to a car2go vehicle as well as conduct a quick check on the vehicle condition prior to the pick-up time.
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Dos and Don'ts
May I bring a child with me while driving a patient?
- Although it is not recommended, we recognize that many volunteers are parents and may otherwise be unable to provide transportation. By collecting preferences, we will note any patient that should not have children ride along with them (due to personal preference, medical issues, suppressed immunity, etc.). You will see this indicated in the ride details prior to volunteering for that ride. Please indicate on the volunteer application that you expect to bring a child along on your volunteer rides. Be sure to inform the patient during the confirmation call as courtesy to let them know your child/children will be along on the ride.
May I bring a pet or a friend with me while driving a patient?
- Best practice is not to bring another person or an animal along on a ride. Another person may make the patient uncomfortable and causes concerns for patient confidentiality and patients may be allergic to your pet. Please make alternate arrangements so that you do not need to bring along pets or other people during a ride. If there is no other option, inform the patient during the confirmation call and let them decide.
What if the patient wants to thank me by paying for gas, tipping me or taking me out to lunch?
- Volunteer drivers are not allowed to accept tips or other forms of compensation. Thank them politely for the sentiment and remind them that you are a willing volunteer.
Can I park in handicapped parking spaces at the appointment location?
- You may only park in a handicapped parking space if you have a handicapped parking permit. Volunteer driver signs for your car windshield are only intended to help identify you to a patient. If a patient has a handicap placard, they are encouraged to bring that along on their ride to park in an accessible parking space.
What if the patient wants me to drive him/her the next time?
- All volunteers and patients are expected to follow the guidelines for the program which includes submitting ride requests to the Mobility Navigator. Remind him/her of this policy. Patients may request specific drivers but ride assignments will depend on your schedule and availability.
What if the patient asks me to drive him/her somewhere else?
- All volunteers and patients are expected to follow the guidelines for the program. Please only provide the transportation service that was originally submitted and requested. Politely remind your passenger to submit all ride requests through the Mobility Navigator.
What if I am at the pick-up location and am unable to find the patient?
- Try calling the patient and use your best judgment to locate the individual or investigate the situation. Please contact the Mobility Navigator for assistance. If you suspect an emergency situation, please act accordingly by calling 911.
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