SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A new program by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will provide senior citizens and people with disabilities with discounted taxi rides for essential activities like grocery shopping.

The Essential Trip Card program will provide reduced-cost taxi trips for adults 65 years old and older and disabled people during the
shelter-in-place order.

According to SFMTA officials, this new program is desperately needed as many bus lines have been reduced due a shortage of transit
operators amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our city and transportation system has been forced to adapt to deal with this pandemic, but people still need a way to get around to get groceries, pick up medicine, or go to the doctor,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement.

“While we’re working on expanding our grocery and meal support for older adults and people with disabilities, we know there are people who still need to take essential trips. With this program, we can continue to provide reliable transportation options for those who may have limited mobility and who don’t have other transportation options available,” she said.

“Muni service reductions have hit District 8 residents who rely on public transportation to access food, medicine or other essential supplies particularly hard,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said.

“Walking a half-mile to the nearest Muni stop is not an option for many seniors or disabled residents when that half-mile is up or down a steephill in neighborhoods like Twin Peaks and Diamond Heights. I am grateful to the SFMTA for working with my office on the Essential Trip Card program, which provides a lifeline for residents who would otherwise be unable to make essential trips,” he said.

“We’re proud to serve essential workers and help San Franciscans make critical trips as the rest of us shelter in place,” SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeff Tumlin said.

“However, this is a tough time for some of the city’s most vulnerable and we’ve been working on solutions to meet their needs. The
Essential Trip Card is a lifeline for our vulnerable populations to access food and hospital trips during a time where minimizing risk is the greatest priority,” he said.

The ETC program will provide eligible users two to three round trips per month at 20 percent of the regular cost of taxi fare. The card will be accepted by all taxis in the city for the remainder of the shelter order.

Customers who pay $6 will receive $30 of taxi fare on a debit card, while those who pay $12 will receive $60 in value for taxi trips. Cards can be refilled once a month.

To apply for the ETC program, eligible users can call 311 between 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. or visit http://www.sfmta.com/etc.

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