Sylvan Lake offering transportation help

Taxi cards will help seniors and those with disabilities cover transportation costs

Sylvan Lake is helping residents in need get around.

Town council approved a subsidized taxi card program, which is aimed at providing financial help to adults with disabilities and seniors with their transportation costs.

Those who qualify will be eligible for up to $120 per household to go towards of taxi rides in town, to nearby summer villages and as far as Red Deer and Gasoline Alley.

Town spokeswoman Joanne Gaudet said it is expected the first taxi cards will be ready to be handed out by April.

A Social Needs Master Plan put together last year recommended a feasibility study for specialized transportation, which was identified as a need in the fast-growing community.

“We looked at different options,” said Gaudet. Possibilities included buying and operating a bus along the lines of Red Deer’s Action Bus system, contract that service out or work with local taxi companies to provide transportation through a subsidized card system.

“The card system, based on timing, as well as resources, kind of came out on top,” she said.

“We’re going to start there and we anticipate that as we move forward this program will grow,” she said, adding a bus may be added later as need justifies.

Family and Community Support Services will assess applications and hand out the taxi cards.

Residents over 65, or adults with physical and mental challenges, with total household incomes of $26,995 for singles and $43,785 for a household will be considered.

The amount of subsidy available will be based on taxi use and reviewed every six months.

As many as 50 people may benefit from the program with full roll-out. The town has put aside $78,100 in its budget to cover the cost.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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