By Gina Martinez
Seniors in Northeast Queens will now have better transportation options, as Councilman Paul Vallone (D- Bayside) announced the launch of a free senior transportation pilot program in partnership with SelfHelp and Four Two’s private car service.
Seniors in northeast Queens don’t have practical means of transportation due to limited transportation options and often-criticized options like Access-a-Ride, Vallone said. Seniors will now have an innovative alternative to go to doctor’s appointments, make shopping trips and visit cultural institutions.
“Seniors in our city, many of whom live on fixed incomes, are already faced with enough hardships, such as rising property taxes, costs of living and stagnant funding for critical services,” Vallone said. “The last thing they should have to worry about is how they’re going to get to the doctor. As chair of the Subcommittee on Senior Centers, I have continually worked to improve the quality of life for our seniors. Today, we are fulfilling another promise with this pilot program that will go a long way towards providing our seniors with the transportation options they need and deserve. I look forward to expanding it in years to come.”
In order to secure a ride, all seniors have to do is call the Clearview Senior Center at 718-224-7888 and schedule a car.
To schedule a medical appointment, seniors can call between 9 a.m. and noon to set up their rides for the next day, providing their name, address, phone number, time of pickup and their destination. The senior will then call againfor their return trip.
Seniors can also set up shopping trips. A van service will provide transportation for shopping trips either once a week or once every other week depending on the senior.. Seniors will get picked up at their homes and taken to a local supermarket and then returned home.
For cultural trips, a van service will take seniors to shows at Flushing Town Hall and other local cultural attractions. Before scheduling the ride, the senior must complete an application that includes basic demographic information and an emergency contact for anyone using the service, Vallone said.
Sandy Myers, director of Government and External Relations at Selfhelp Community Services, said she was grateful for Vallone’s leadership in piloting a new transportation program.
“In transportation deserts like northeast Queens, seniors are often isolated in their homes due to the lack of affordable and accessible transportation services,” she said. “Investments by government, including this program, enable older New Yorkers to continue to age in the City they call home. We are proud to partner with the New York City Council, and look forward to the continuation and growth of this critical service.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart