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CDTA offers more accessibility

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ALBANY, NY - The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) and several government and community partners today announced a new coordinated service plan featuring accessible taxicabs that expand mobility options throughout the Capital Region.

The accessible taxicab program is a public-private collaboration which will enhance service options for seniors and people with disabilities while providing area small businesses an opportunity to expand into a new market. The goal of the program is to increase availability of wheelchair accessible vehicles to the general public across the Region.

"The new accessible taxicab service is a great example of how coordinated service plans can improve our region's quality of life," said CDTA Chairman David Stackrow. "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 program is led by CDTA, coordinated through CTDC, and operated by private transportation providers. The plan was developed through the recommendations of The Regional Transportation Coordination Committee to provide service to the largest number of people at the same cost and availability as other transit services.

"This innovative public-private partnership will increase the availability of transportation for people with disabilities and will meet this growing need going forward," said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. "I want to commend CDTA, the Capital District Transportation Committee and the many other stakeholders involved who are working hard to provide an essential public service."

These vehicles are available at market rates for the general public. Ten fully accessible taxicabs have been provided through this program serving the Capital Region; eight are leased to Capitaland Taxi and two are leased to Advantage.

"I applaud all those who have spent a great deal of time in bringing this day to fruition," said Mayor Gerald Jennings. "The accessible cab program will provide another opportunity for our disabled community to live a full life and to have access to locations on a more convenient basis. Everyone who has played a role should take tremendous pride in realizing that when government entities work cooperatively and collaboratively, positive results occur. Congratulations to all, but most importantly, thank you to the members of our physically challenged population for their determination and commitment."

The coordinated service plan was administered by the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) and developed by The Regional Transportation Coordination Committee (RTCC), a group of regional human service agency representatives charged with identifying areas of need and to ensure that funds are spent appropriately.

"These new accessible taxis are a great addition to the fleet and a great start," said Capital District Transportation Committee Executive Director Michael Franchini. "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 2009-11 American Community survey estimates that there are 47,512 people over the age of 5 with an ambulatory difficulty, out of a total 781,927 in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties. Studies show that this number will increase significantly as the baby boomer population ages.

"We're excited in the disabled community to have more opportunities to travel with the availability of accessible cabs," said Independent Living Center of Hudson Valley Executive Director Denise Figueroa. "It gives us more freedom to enjoy what the Capital Region has to offer."

Capitaland Taxi has two accessible taxicabs stationed in each county; Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Saratoga.

"We're pleased to have the ability to blanket the area with wheelchair accessible vehicles offering the flexibility to cover and connect with every city in the Capital Region," said Capitaland Taxi President Bret Peek.

The accessible taxi program is a coordinated transportation plan funded by the New Freedom Federal Capital grant (under the provisions of SAFETEA-LU (The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act) which funds 80% of the program and requires a 20% local match provided by the contractor.

The accessible taxis were procured through a competitive process consistent with federal requirements and are leased to the contractor(s) for four years prior to a title transfer to the private company.

The first two vehicles were leased to Advantage Taxi.  The total cost was $72,694.64. Advantage paid the 20% local share, or $14,538.93. The remaining eight vehicles were leased to Capitaland Taxi. The total cost was $279,656. Capitaland paid the 20% local share, or $55,931.20.

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