By Gina Martinez
After great success in the first go-around, City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) announced the relaunch of the senior transportation program in partnership with Selfhelp Community Services Inc. and Four Two’s car service. The program will officially restart Nov. 13 and will be focused on providing transportation for seniors to attend medical appointments. Vallone started the extremely popular program earlier this year and introduced the program as an innovative travel alternative.
To apply for the program seniors need to fill out an application that includes basic demographic information and an emergency contact, Seniors can call the Clearview Senior Center at 718-224-7888 between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. to schedule their rides for the following day and provide their name, address, phone number, time of pick up and their destination.
Vallone said the transportation program will help seniors who tend to live on a fixed income and are facing the hardships of rising property taxes, higher cost-of-living expenses and stagnant funding for critical services.
“The last thing they should have to worry about is how they’re going to get to the doctor,” Vallone said. “As chair of the Subcommittee on Senior Centers, I have continually worked to improve the quality of life for our seniors. I’m proud to restart this program that will go a long way towards providing our seniors with the transportation option they need and deserve. I look forward to continuing to expand it in years to come.”
According to Vallone, throughout the city seniors are faced with a lack of practical transportation options that restricts their ability to reach cultural institutions and medical appointments. He calls Access-A-Ride unreliable and often the only option for seniors living in poor transportation areas like northeast Queens, where public transportation is extremely limited.
Sandy Myers, a spokeswoman for Selfhelp Community Services, said Selfhelp is thrilled to continue and expand the transportation program for northeast Queens seniors.
“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. “Continued investments by government, including through this program, enable older New Yorkers to continue to age in the city they call home.”
The program received an additional $50,000 in funding from Vallone and will run for a longer period.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart