A little known program in Phoenix is giving more mobility to seniors at a low cost.

The Senior Cab program was developed by the City Council in December of 2009 to help with cuts that the city was forced to make. The program offers seniors age 65 and older vouchers at a discounted rate that can be used with any of the 19 taxicab companies the city has contracted with.

The vouchers can be used just like cash. The first two books of $20 worth of vouchers are $6 each. The program is now expanding to allow seniors another two books of $20 for $10 each. That means for $32 seniors can purchase $80 worth of vouchers to use monthly.

"This is different than other public transit because seniors make their own appointments and schedules," said Matthew Heil, public information specialist with the city of Phoenix Public Transit Department. "They're basically in control. It's also different than dial-a-ride because it's not just for disabled."

It does not matter how long a trip is or where it goes to. Cash can be used once vouchers are gone.

The program is a viable option for seniors who were affected by cuts to ALEX buses. Though Senior Cab is not free like ALEX, it does offer some savings for those just needing to get to appointments or to the grocery store.

"The program offers direct savings to the customer," Heil said. "It also gives greater mobility, which I think is important for everyone in the community."

Heil says the program has been a success so far.

"We have seen a lot of use," he said. "It may not cover some longer trips but it has definitely helped with the cost for some senior citizens. That's why we recently increased the number of ticket books people can purchase per month."

To sign up for the program and schedule a ride, call (602) 801-1163 or (602) 801-1164.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7924 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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