Category: News

Reflecting on the Events of August 12, 2017

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville – the day that our community was thrust into a spotlight we never wanted to be in. Four years later we still see images of the events of August 12, 2017 used in national and world news as illustrations of hatred and racism. For Jaunt, that date, and the one-year anniversary in 2018, were opportunities to demonstrate our dedication and commitment to the community. Looking back, we realize our service pivoted in ways we could never have imagined.

As the intel about expected activities in 2017 became more available, Jaunt management connected with community emergency managers. We were linked to VEOCI, the virtual emergency operations center, attended training on the software, and carefully monitored the system throughout the days.

“We don’t just show up when it’s easy. Everyone stepped up and worked as a team – dispatch, drivers, and management – a testament to our promise to our mission and the community,” said Interim CEO, Karen Davis. “I’m so proud of the cooperative spirit that the Jaunt team exhibited on those incredibly difficult days.”

In the days before August 12, Jaunt reservations and scheduling teams contacted our clients who were scheduled to be in and around downtown Charlottesville to offer an opportunity to reschedule their trips to a safer date and time. In many cases, these phone calls were the first our clients heard of the impending rally.

Jaunt engaged with staff scheduled to drive that day to gauge their comfort level and assure them that if they would prefer not to drive, that would be understood and accommodated. We were extremely sensitive to the impact a rally of white supremacists would have on our staff’s emotional well-being and sense of safety. Only one driver opted not to work that day, reaffirming Jaunt’s commitment at all levels of the organization to those we serve.

On the day of the rally, we set up a command center in our conference room. We monitored local and national news outlets for real-time understanding of how events were unfolding so we could adjust routes as necessary, watching with horror as Charlottesville made the national news with headlines of violence and bigotry.

In contrast to those headlines, the Charlottesville community rose to the occasion. Rescue workers and volunteers tended to injuries. People from all over joined in peaceful opposition to the messages of the rally. And Jaunt drivers worked tirelessly to help shepherd people safely through our troubled city to and from critically necessary trips like employment and dialysis. In a few instances, we were able to come to the rescue of people who would have been otherwise stranded.

J’riah Guerrero, Director of Transit Logistics, is a Marine veteran. For him, a peacekeeper at heart, watching from the sidelines was difficult. “I wanted to be there. Not in a fighting capacity, but to protect. That’s what Marines do.” But he found relief knowing that he was still helping the community by providing transportation and helping people who wanted to get away from the demonstrations.

On the one-year anniversary in 2018, Jaunt showed up for the community again, providing transportation for emergency response crews stationed at JPJ, bringing them to various staging areas throughout town during the days and nights of August 12 – 13.

We look back on these efforts with a sense of somber pride. We were dedicated to the safety and wellbeing of our community then and remain so today. Inclusivity has always been at the heart of our service but it takes on new significance in the shadow of our shared experiences from August 12. Today we will hold space to remember what happened on the events of August 12, 2017, show gratitude for the ways in which we continue to support each another and our community, and consider what we can do moving forward to advance a culture of equity and inclusion.

Notice of Closed Committee Meeting

The Executive Search Committee of Jaunt, Inc. will hold a closed Committee Meeting on Thursday, June 17, 2021 at 9:00 A.M. via Zoom.

This meeting will be a closed session to discuss consideration, or interviews of prospective candidates for employment.

Jaunt, Inc. Offers Free Rides to Vaccination Sites

Jaunt may be the answer for people for whom transportation is an issue

Throughout the tremendous uncertainty of 2020, Jaunt has remained a dependable resource for our community. From rides to polls on election day, to delivering essential workers to their jobs and patients to dialysis appointments, we have continued to provide critical trips to those in need throughout the pandemic.

We are proud to partner with Blue Ridge Health District (BRHD) and University of Virginia Health to continue to provide this important service: connecting our community to the vaccine through fare-free public transportation.

Jaunt is committed to making sure that transportation is not an issue for anyone who wants to receive the vaccine. To book a ride to your vaccination appointment with Jaunt, call 434-297-3148 or email trips@ridejaunt.org.

As always, the health and safety of Jaunt’s passengers and drivers is our greatest concern. To protect our riders and drivers from the threat of COVID-19, we are not charging fares to minimize the risk of person-to-person contact; we have limited the number of passengers permitted on a vehicle at any given time to allow for social distancing; all drivers are wearing CDC-approved face coverings; all passengers are required to wear face coverings while riding Jaunt; and every Jaunt vehicle is cleaned and disinfected daily following CDC protocols.

Statement Regarding Jaunt’s FY20 Audit

Because Jaunt is funded in part by state and federal monies, the organization undergoes a financial audit every year, as outlined in Title 2 U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. The audit involves an evaluation of financial statements and federal awards. It reviews grant management and ensures we follow the rules for funds associated with the grant or award.

On August 31, 2020, Jaunt began our typical audit process for FY20 (for year ending June 30, 2020) with Robinson, Farmer, Cox (RFC). RFC has been assisting Jaunt for over a decade. During a random sampling of cash disbursements, they came across some irregularities which they found questionable. They brought their concerns to Jaunt’s Board of Directors and executive leadership and a deeper audit was initiated.

On Wednesday, March 10, 2021 we received the final audit. RFC’s findings specify:

  • The findings of the audits of both Jaunt’s Financial Statement and Federal Awards concluded that the CEO purchased numerous expenses for goods, services, and travel which violated internal control policies of the corporation.
  • The finding of the audit of Jaunt’s Program Income concluded that the total amount of questioned costs could not be determined because program income was pooled with other local revenues.

While not unlawful, nor a prohibited use of government funds, the auditors determined that the expenditures were beyond what would have normally been expected for reasonable business expenses. A full version of the final audit can be found here.

What did we do about it?
As RFC’s audit progressed, and more information came to light, Jaunt’s Board felt that they were no longer comfortable with the business judgment of then-CEO Brad Sheffield. On December 5, 2020, with the audit findings still months away, the Board made the difficult decision to request Mr. Sheffield’s resignation as CEO, demonstrating tremendous leadership and integrity. Mr. Sheffield tendered his resignation on December 7, 2020.

The Board appointed then-Chief Operating Officer Karen Davis as the interim CEO, ensuring effective, knowledgeable, and experienced leadership of the agency. As Ms. Davis took on the expanded responsibilities of CEO, she began to identify and develop the internal controls necessary to ensure that Jaunt will have strict financial oversight going forward. New measures, now in place, include:

  • The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) reporting structure now includes a direct line to the chair of the finance committee
  • The CEO and CFO meet quarterly to review organization’s finances and accounting
  • The Board of Directors must pre-approve executive expenses for training, conferences, and travel prior to the date of travel and payment

Moving forward:
The Jaunt Board of Directors is presently undergoing visioning work to further define the organization’s vision, mission, and direction, led by facilitators from Insight Strategies, Inc. In the coming months they will engage with an executive search firm as it looks for a new CEO.

Jaunt is firmly committed to operating from a place of honesty, openness, and transparency. We are creating a new role of ethics officer, who will have a direct line of communication to the Board president and the CEO. This will be an additional avenue of anonymous reporting for ethical concerns, ensuring that never again will there be any hierarchical barriers to integrity or whistleblowing at Jaunt. Additionally, business ethics education and training will be conducted at all levels of the organization to codify a culture of integrity and transparency. Training will include a review of revised policies and procedures such as employee reporting requirements for violations of Jaunt’s policies, as well as information about all available reporting resources.

In conclusion:
Jaunt has been a committed and steadfast pillar in our community for 45 years. We provide vital service to the most vulnerable and marginalized in our community, removing barriers to employment and job skills training; providing critical access to healthcare; and paving the path towards more socially connected, and thereby more mentally healthy, communities. We deeply regret the loss of confidence that these audit findings have created. We hope that the steps we have already taken, along with the future plans we have shared, will help restore community trust.

BRHD and UVA Health Partnering on Second Community COVID-19 Vaccination Site January 29, 2021

The Virginia Department of Health’s Blue Ridge Health District (BRHD) and UVA Health are partnering to launch a second COVID-19 community vaccination site, which will provide its first vaccinations Sunday. The first group vaccinated at the site Sunday will include Phase 1A frontline workers and Phase 1B essential workers.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Center at Seminole Square will be located at 393 Hillsdale Dr. in Charlottesville, between the Marshalls and Ferguson stores. The 25,000-square-foot facility offers ample parking outside the front entrance and is on a Charlottesville Area Transit bus line. The existing community vaccination site on Hydraulic Road in the Kmart parking lot will continue to operate, with both sites staffed by UVA Health and BRHD. Both sites will provide vaccinations by appointment only.

“This second community location will greatly increase the community’s ability to scale up vaccine distribution as additional vaccine is made available,” said Denise Bonds, MD, MPH, BRHD health director. “We thank UVA Health for expanding their partnership with us to vaccinate the community.”

The COVID-19 Vaccination Center space at Seminole Square has been generously provided by Great Eastern Management Co., with funding and logistics support from Red Light Management and the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band. Additional contributions to make these community vaccination sites possible include funding from the Quantitative Foundation, the private family foundation of Merrill and Jaffray Woodriff, along with other donations.

Alongside support of the new Seminole Square vaccination location, JAUNT, Inc. and Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) will offer transportation at no cost for individuals needing transportation assistance to and from vaccination appointments.

“Throughout the tremendous uncertainty of 2020, Jaunt remained a dependable resource for our community. From rides to polls on election day, to delivering essential workers to their jobs and patients to dialysis appointments, we have continued to provide critical trips to those in need throughout the pandemic,” said Jaunt Interim CEO Karen Davis. “We are proud to partner with BRHD and UVA Health to continue to provide this important service: connecting our community to the vaccine through public transportation.”

“We thank all of the community partners who have helped make this vaccination site a reality, and we look forward to working with the Blue Ridge Health District to vaccinate the community as quickly and effectively as possible,” said K. Craig Kent, MD, UVA’s executive vice president for health affairs.

As of Wednesday evening, UVA Health has administered more than 23,000 vaccines – including 4,315 doses to community members ages 75 and older at the direction of the BRHD – and has delivered up to 1,400 vaccines per day.

The Blue Ridge Health District is currently prioritizing vaccinating Phase 1A frontline healthcare workers, some Phase 1B essential workers, and individuals ages 75 and older. BRHD, like other health districts, has a limited supply of vaccines. Virginia is not likely to meet the vaccine demand for Phase 1B until March or April. Community members looking to learn more about vaccination plans in the District and to submit a “survey of intent” to get on a list to be vaccinated should visit the Health District’s website. These surveys do not schedule individuals for an appointment but allows for the District to collect information to contact individuals when it is time to get vaccinated.

Jaunt, Inc. and Greene County Transit Publish Survey

Local Transit Agencies Seek to Gauge Interest in Potential Future Transit Services

Charlottesville, VA – Jaunt, Inc. and Greene County transit want to hear from the residents of Greene County. They are currently soliciting feedback to begin planning for service enhancements to enable Greene County to achieve a more regional approach to transit.

On July 1, 2020, after months of active collaboration and partnership with Greene County and Greene County Transit, Jaunt, Inc. assumed all operations of Greene County Transit. With the successful transfer of services completed, the organizations are now turning their focus toward the future.

Whether you currently use Greene County Transit or not, they want to hear from you. Community participation and feedback will be vital in their ongoing planning strategy. With the responses to this survey Jaunt and Greene County Transit can begin to understand the transit needs of the Greene County community and design solutions to respond to those demands. Additionally, the information captured in this survey will enable Greene County local government to include the community’s transportation aspirations in their overall prioritization of community needs.

This survey will take about five minutes to complete. People interested in participating can access the survey online at greenecountytransit.org or fill out paper surveys at the following locations: Greene County Administration Building (40 Celt Road, Stanardsville), JABA (222 Main Street, Stanardsville), The Greene County Health Department (50 Stanard St, Stanardsville), and the County Treasurer’s Office (36 Stanard Street, Stanardsville). The organizations will be collecting responses through December 20, 2020.

Jaunt, Inc. Encourages Central Virginians to Make a Plan to Vote

Jaunt may be the answer for people for whom transportation is an issue

Charlottesville, VA – Jaunt, Inc. is urging central Virginians to make a plan to vote. Election Day is approaching and early voting in Virginia has already started. Whether you’re voting early or casting your ballot on Election Day, Jaunt can help you get there – free!

Public transportation, particularly the demand-response service offered by Jaunt, is an effective option to help those who would otherwise not vote due to transportation issues. In the area that CAT serves; the City of Charlottesville and urban Albemarle County, passengers can book a ride with Jaunt if they are ADA certified. To qualify, riders must apply for ADA certification at www.charlottesville.gov/adaapp. In rural Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties, any and all people can book a ride with Jaunt’s standard demand-response service. ADA certification is not required in these localities to ride with Jaunt.

As always, the health and safety of Jaunt’s passengers and drivers is our greatest concern. To protect our riders and drivers from the threat of COVID-19, we are not charging fares to minimize the risk of person-to-person contact; we have limited the number of passengers permitted on a vehicle at any given time to allow for social distancing; all drivers are wearing CDC-approved face coverings; all passengers are required to wear face coverings while riding Jaunt; and every Jaunt vehicle is cleaned and disinfected daily following CDC protocols.

Jaunt is committed to making in-person voting available and safe for those who need it. To book a ride to the polls with Jaunt, call 434-297-2627 or email trips@ridejaunt.org. Don’t wait, reserve your ride to vote early today, or plan to reserve your ride for Election Day as early as October 20! Due to current reduced capacity on our buses to allow for social distancing, riders are encouraged to book at least a week before Election Day in order to help us maximize our schedules, respond to demand, and guarantee service.

Jaunt wants to make sure that everyone who wants to reach the polls, can. Make a plan! If transportation is an issue for you, Jaunt may be the answer to help you get to your polling location.

Jaunt, Inc. and Greene County Transit Announce Transition of Service

Jaunt assumes operation of Greene County Transit effective July 1, 2020

Charlottesville, VA – Effective July 1, 2020, Greene County transferred all on-going responsibilities and obligations for operating Greene County Transit to Jaunt, Inc. including service operations, human resource management, public outreach and engagement, grant management, asset management and financial responsibility.

This transition of service represents an opportunity for Greene County to become part of a successful regional transit enterprise. With over 44 years of intentional growth and service evolution, Jaunt brings tremendous resources and experience which will be instrumental in helping Greene County achieve a more regional approach to transit service. At this time there are no plans for service changes or expansion to Greene County Transit’s current offering. However, in the coming months following a successful transition, the two entities will begin to strategize on how to proceed with the planning of service changes and/or new services.

This transition also provides Greene County Transit employees the benefits that Jaunt employees currently enjoy. Jaunt believes strongly in empowering staff and providing ample professional development opportunities. Increased efficiencies realized by a workforce that is encouraged to think creatively, grow professionally, and implement innovative ideas have produced operational savings that were invested back into pay increases for Jaunt employees. In fact, over the past three years, 30% of funding for wage increases for Jaunt employees came from improved efficiencies.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunities this transition presents,” said Jaunt CEO Brad Sheffield. “With Greene County Transit’s strong identity, history, and commitment to their community, I am confident that together we will do great things for our region.”

Jaunt has been actively working with Greene County and Green County Transit for the past several months to ensure a successful transition of operations. All existing services provided by Greene County Transit will continue to be provided, there will be no immediate change to any aspects of the service offered. The Green County Board of Supervisors will receive quarterly updates from Jaunt to ensure the County remains engaged and aware of planning and development of transit services to the residents of Greene County.