Wednesday, June 20, 2007

California seniors want taxi vouchers

In November 2006, the city launched the Manteca Transit system, a two-route bus service that includes dial-a-ride service to qualified individuals six days a week. The system replaced the city's taxi voucher program which had been in place since the early 1980's, which gave about 550 disabled and elderly people a deep discount for taxi rides. The vouchers were deemed no longer cost effective by city staff, as Manteca spent $299,000, or $585 per person, for the vouchers in 2006. Once the city grew past 50,000 residents, a transit system was needed to accommodate more of the community as a whole, said Finance Director Suzanne Mallory. The city's Finance Department and Public Works Department are jointly responsible for the Manteca Transit while the vacated position of transportation analyst is filled, she said. Funding for the taxi-voucher program basically went to the transit program, with added assistance from federal grant money. The buses had a ridership of about 3,000 passengers in May, according to city staff. The majority of those who spoke Monday night felt the buses have jeopardized the freedom of those who used city-funded transportation the most. It was supposed to be a routine update on the status of the city's new transit system. Instead, several members of the community — many there on behalf of the elderly and disabled — urged bringing back a city-subsidized taxi voucher program. 

Source:  Tri-Valley Herald, http://www.insidebayarea.com/trivalleyherald/localnews/ci_6184474


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