By ERIN ROLL
Montclair’s Seniors in Taxis program has reached the end of the line.
The township announced on Thursday that the pilot program for discounted taxi fares for senior citizens would not be continuing in 2019.
“It was an impactful pilot, and we are looking into other transportation options,” said the township in an announcement. “Stay tuned.”
Two of the three taxi companies participating in the program decided to back out, said Katya Wowk, the township communications officer. Which two companies would be ending their participation and why was not specified.
Three taxi companies were listed as participating on the township website: M&M Taxi, Le Rubicon and Good Taxi. A staff member for Good Taxi said their company would still be participating. Attempts to reach M&M Taxi and Le Rubicon were unsuccessful.
The pilot program for Seniors in Taxis started in January 2018, and was funded by the township.
Under the program, senior citizens age 62 and up were eligible for discounted, pre-paid taxi vouchers. The vouchers offered a 50 percent discount on taxi fare.
Since its inception, the program no longer required vouchers.
Senior citizens could call for a taxi when needed, and did not have to make an advance booking to get a taxi.
In the announcement about the program’s end, the township provided a list of alternate options in lieu of Seniors in Taxis.
Seniors aged 55 and up, and residents with disabilities have the option of using the Montclair Senior Bus, which is free of charge. The township also suggested two alternate services: GoGo Grandparent and Ryde4Life, which are services similar to Uber and Lyft.
Ann Lippel, of the Senior Citizens’ Advocacy Committee, said it was disappointing that Seniors in Taxis would be going away.
She said Montclair had just started negotiations with other townships to expand the Seniors in Taxis program, and she said the taxi companies’ decision not to participate was not made known until this week.
“It is regrettable,” she said. “From the perspective of the township’s seniors, this pilot program was a very valuable service, fleshing out our many-tiered transportation options for seniors.”