Transit Action Network (TAN)

Advocates for Improved and Expanded Transit in the Kansas City Region.

Action Alert: KCMO – Please Allow A New Transit Service For The Elderly and Visually Impaired

Posted by Transit Action Network on January 30, 2014

kcmo_big_logoTransit Action Network sent the Kansas City Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee a letter of support for Ordinance 140028, which would allow a local non-profit charitable organization affiliated with a state or national non-profit charitable organization to operate a vehicle for hire to transport persons who are 65 years of age or older or visually impaired. TAN letter of support for Ordinance 140028

Currently there is an ordinance protecting taxis from competition. This ordinance narrowly opens the door for a limited type of organization to provide “for hire” transit services for a limited group of people, but the ordinance is significant since it changes the “status quo”.ITN_KC-2

The issue came up because a new service provider, Independent Transportation Network® (ITN) — the first and only national non-profit transportation system for America’s aging population, wants to enter the Kansas City market.  They are in 25 markets around the country and they already operate in Lee’s Summit.

ITN provides a unique service that taxis and most paratransit services don’t offer.

From ITN’s Greater Kansas City website:

Characteristics of the Service

  1. Membership based – people 65 years and older (age eligibility varies by affiliate), and visually impaired adults are eligible to join
  2. Community based affiliates are supported by private, rather than public resources
  3. Affordable fares that are typically lower than a comparable taxi ride
  4. Available 24/7 for any purpose
  5. Not “just a taxi” – drivers provide arm-through-arm, door-through-door service and help with packages
  6. No money is exchanged in the vehicle, and tips are not accepted
  7. Riders pre-fund a Personal Transportation Account™, and a monthly statement details all payments and charges
  8. Uses private automobiles, rather than vans or buses
  9. Fees cover rides booked at least 24 hours in advance; same day requests will be accommodated with an additional fee

Most taxi and special transportation services for the elderly are curb-to-curb (you have to get yourself to the curb) or door-to-door (you have to get yourself to the door). There are a growing number of frail elderly people or visually impaired people who require additional help.  ITN provides that additional help with their arm-through-arm, door-through-door service (if needed, drivers come into the home or the office or the shops to assist you getting to the vehicle). This service does not apply to people requiring a wheelchair, since ITN uses private automobiles.

This extra level of service comes at a price. ITN is a monthly subscription service. Since they aren’t asking for a public subsidy, users have to cover the cost, but the drivers are volunteers, which help keep the cost down. A monthly pilot subscription in Lee’s Summit costs $125. Contact ITN for more details. Phone: (816) 500-4377 Email: info@itngreaterkansascity.org

We can’t vouch specifically for ITN, but we do know that it is time to provide more transportation options for the elderly and visually impaired since there is a transit crisis looming caused by the rapid increase in the elderly population. MARC is already having meetings to find a way to deal with the issues related to “Older People Transportation” and we need to allow additional legitimate services to operate.

We’d like to thank Councilmen Johnson and Sharp for sponsoring this ordinance and we request that the mayor and full council adopt Ordinance 140028.

If you haven’t already done so, please contact your council member or the mayor and request adoption of Ordinance 140028.

The T&I committee is expected to address this ordinance on February 6, 2014 at 8:45 am at City Hall, 10th Floor.

ITN America website

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