Astoria residents with disabilities will now have an alternate method of transportation, thanks to a pilot program offered by the city.
The Taxi Smart Card Program will allow qualified residents to use a $100 bank card to take yellow taxicabs or livery car service to doctor’s appointments, visit family members or for errands instead of Access-A-Ride or public transportation.
The pilot program, which officially launched in November, is a collaboration between the city Department for the Aging (DFTA) and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) and will offer the alternative to disabled residents in Community Board 1 in Astoria and Community Board 18 in Canarsie, Brooklyn.
“We began this pilot program to test an alternative to Access-A-Ride for people with disabilities in communities with limited access to public transportation,” said Caryn Resnick, DFTA deputy commissioner. “It’s another option.”
Both Community Boards were selected because they are considered to be areas that are difficult to reach by public transportation.
Photo courtesy of DFTA
Once residents are enrolled they will have to pay $12.50 toward the Taxi Smart Card. The remaining $87.50 will be paid by the city.
“People with disabilities can and do live active lives and need reliable transportation and options for getting around, the Taxi Smart Card Program helps to provide that,” said Maria Jacobson, director of vocational services for the International Center for the Disabled.
The program offers users a convenient alternative that will also free up Access-A-Ride for people that are wheelchair bound, said Resnick.
The program is funded through the New Freedom Act of 2010 and administered by the Department of Transportation.
Residents who would like to apply for the program can do so through the Department for the Aging or Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities websites. They can also call DFTA at 212-442-3026 or MOPD at 212-788-2830.
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