A plan to provide a wheelchair-accessible taxicab service to the Capital Region was announced Tuesday.
“The new accessible taxicab service is a great example of how coordinated service plans can improve our region’s quality of life,” David Stackrow, Capital District Transportation Authority chairman, said in a news release. “These accessible taxis will offer affordable mobility options and work in tandem with CDTA’s STAR service to fill transportation service gaps. Special thanks go out to the people who worked hard to get this program off of the ground.”
The new program will provide more options for public transportation for seniors and people with disabilities. Prior to this new plan, those who used wheelchairs were limited to STAR — Special Transit Availability By Request. STAR is a transportation service limited geographically to the routes and areas covered by CDTA. Also, STAR requires customers to preapply for the service prior to its use. Under this new program, the taxis will not be limited to bus routes or require pre-registration. They will be operated by private services led by CDTA and coordinated through the Capital District Transportation Committee.
“These new accessible taxis are a great addition to the fleet and a great start,” CDTC Executive Director Michael Franchini said in a news release. “It’s my hope that the demand for these taxis eventually outweighs the supply and that we can soon increase the number of these taxis in our area.”
The initiative is a joint effort between the CDTA, CDTC and other government and community partners. Within the new program, Capitaland taxi services will provide two wheelchair-accessible taxis each in Albany, Troy, Schenectady, and Saratoga, while Advantage Transportation will provide one new taxicab in both Colonie and Schenectady. The new taxicabs are available to the public at market rates.
Currently Capitaland has six of its eight accessible taxis on the road, and Advantage has both of its taxis on the road.
The two companies are paying 20 percent of the cost of buying the special taxis. The rest is covered by federal funding.