ALBANY, NY—Sue Serino (R, C, I—Hyde Park) today announced that her bill to empower seniors to age in place by establishing a local pilot program to improve access to transportation passed unanimously in the Senate.
“If there’s one thing that I hear from seniors time and time again, it’s their frustration over their lack of affordable, accessible transportation,” said Senator Serino. “It’s time for us to get innovative when it comes to solving this problem and meeting this need. By working to establish a pilot program in our community, we are one step closer to ensuring that our seniors have the resources they need to live out their Golden Years in the communities they know, love, and helped to build.”
Senator Serino’s bill (S. 7691) would establish an economically sustainable transportation initiative in Dutchess and Putnam Counties that has the potential to serve as a model for other counties in establishing a transportation system to specifically serve seniors.
The pilot program model is based on a project initiated in Maine by the Independent Transportation Network (ITN). ITN is a private, nonprofit community organization that uses passenger automobiles to provide transportation for people ages 65 and older who can no longer drive safely, or those who are visually impaired of any age. Rides are offered for any purpose, and the program relies on a combination of volunteer and paid drivers who enable the elderly passengers to get to their destinations safely and with needed assistance.
A notable component of the program is the option for senior drivers to donate their vehicle for use by the program in exchange for transportation credit. These credits, in conjunction with the discounted fare rates, enable elderly citizens to maintain a certain level of low-cost, reliable mobility.
“There comes a point when many of our seniors know that they no longer need to be on the road, but their options for reliable transportation are limited,” said Serino. “We need to be looking for programs that empower our seniors and add real value to our community. This pilot program is a near perfect example of that I will continue to push to see that it becomes a reality in Dutchess and Putnam Counties.”