Photos courtesy of Councilman Vallone's office

A free senior transportation program is back for the fourth year and is one again expanding its reach to the elderly across all of Queens.

Councilman Paul Vallone joined Selfhelp Vice President of External Relations and Communications Sandy Myers and local seniors to announce the return of the free program on Oct. 10 and increased funding from city lawmakers.

This year, Vallone allocated $90,000 for seniors living in northeast Queens, while Speaker Corey Johnson secured an additional $50,000 for all Queens seniors at the request of the City Council’s Queens Delegation. Borough President Melinda Katz also provided $10,000 in funding.

According to Vallone’s office, funding for the program “nearly quadrupled” since 2017 when he allocated $40,000 to fund the pilot program.

“I’m excited to announce the awaited return of our Free Senior Transportation Program, which will kick off again on Thursday, Oct. 10,” said Vallone. “Since we began the program four years ago, thousands of rides to and from important medical appointments have been provided to our borough’s seniors ⁠— at no cost to them. In just a few years, we’ve been able to nearly quadruple funding amounts for the program, enabling us to provide this vital service to seniors throughout Queens.”

Seniors interested in making an appointment can call the Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center at 718-224-7888 between 9 a.m. and noon to schedule next-day rides. Service users are required to fill out an application with demographic information, emergency contact and destination.

When they are ready for pick up, seniors must call Selfhelp again to schedule a return trip.

“Selfhelp Community Services is thrilled to be partnering with Council members Paul Vallone, Peter Koo, Robert Holden, Francisco Moya, Speaker Corey Johnson, and the entire Queens Delegation to provide continued and increased access to transportation services for older adults throughout Queens for the fourth year,” said Meyers.

“In transportation deserts like northeast Queens, where our Clearview Senior Center is located, older adults are often isolated in their homes due to the lack of affordable, accessible and reliable transportation services. Investments by government, including through this program, enable older New Yorkers to continue to age with independence and dignity 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,” Meyers added.

Four Twos and Central Car Service will provide rides for seniors and will partner with Selfhelp to schedule rides. Vallone’s office said that the program will operate until the $150,000 in funding is depleted.

“This is wonderful news,” said Frank Pavone, 93. “I recently fell, but now I’m back and on my feet again thanks to my doctors. The most important thing is for seniors to have reliable transportation to get to our doctor’s appointments. This program makes a big difference for us and our families.”

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