By Mark Hallum
Seniors in northeast Queens now have established free transportation to link them up with the services they require, such as visiting senior centers, physicians and running errands.
City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) announced expansion of the program after it was relaunched in early November in partnership with Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center, at 208-11 26th Ave., and Four Two’s car service. The Senior Transportation Program will now serve all of Queens as an alternative to Access-A-Ride, which has been problematic for users in the past.
“When I launched this program, I hoped that it would grow and expand beyond just northeast Queens, and now that is starting to become a reality. Seniors in our city, many of who live on fixed incomes, are already faced with enough hardships such as rising property taxes, costs of living 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,” said Vallone. “This program has proven to provide our seniors with an alternative transportation option they need and deserve.
Popularity and demand brought back the program, originally launched as a pilot in April 2017, which sought to alleviate the transportation setbacks often felt by the elderly population in the transportation deserts of northeast Queens.
“Continued support from government is key to enabling older New Yorkers to stay connected to the communities they call home. Our transportation program, in partnership with Four Two’s, will help address one of the most significant challenges faced by older residents of Queens – the lack of accessible and reliable transportation in parts of our city,” Selfhelp spokeswoman Sandy Myers said. “Further, our Virtual Senior Center will bring connections, learning opportunities, and a link to the digital world through live and interactive classes on our platform. We look forward to the continued success of both programs and thank our partners in government for their ongoing support.”
According to Vallone, the service is for people on a fixed income and who face financial trouble from rising property taxes and living expenses.
The service requires seniors to apply for the service by filling out demographic information, creating an emergency contact and by calling 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.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall