2013-04-10 / Front Page

Taxi ‘Smart Card’ Pilot Program Underway In Community Board 1

By Liz Goff

People with disabilities in two neighborhoods citywide are being urged to take advantage of a city pilot program that offers them the option of using yellow cabs or livery car services as an alternative to the city’s Access-A-Ride service.

The Taxi Smart Card (TSC) Program allows eligible residents to use taxis or livery cabs with a $100 bank card for trips to a variety of locations, including doctor’s appointments and running errands.

People enrolled in the program must meet requirements and pay $12.50 towards the cost of an initial card, Community Board 1 district manager Lucille Hartmann said.

The city then pays an additional $87.50 for a total of $100 on the Smart Card, Hartmann said. Cards may be renewed four more times annually at the same cost to the holder.

The TSC is limited to transportation in taxicabs and livery cars only. Once participants are enrolled in the program, they will receive a “Welcome Package” that includes a telephone directory of livery providers in their neighborhoods.

The TSC Program is a collaboration between the New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. The pilot program is only available to disabled residents in the Community Board 1 area in Queens and in Community Board 18 in Brooklyn.

Hartmann said the initiative would allow more freedom for the disabled in the board area.

“If people need to travel somewhere, this program would give them the freedom to use a taxi or livery service instead of Access-A-Ride,” Hartmann said. “It would allow them to be more independent.”

People with disabilities living in the Community Board 1 area may apply for the program immediately by calling the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities at 212-788-2830 or the New York City Department for the Aging at 212-788-3026, or through the websites for the two agencies.

People enrolled in the program will receive instructions on where to mail the $12.50 contribution, city officials said. Participants will be able to make contributions by sending a money order and activation to new cards and reloads to existing cards will be processed after the money order is received, officials said.

“The Taxi Smart Card Program is a wonderful resource for people who need to travel during off-peak periods, nights, weekends and for trips that do not fit into regular Access-A-Ride routes,” a spokesperson for the city Department for the Aging said.


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