New Freedom Fund Taxi Voucher Program
New freedom for persons with disabilities
The New Freedom Fund Initiative
The New Freedom Fund Initiative (NFI), introduced in 2001, is a nationwide effort to remove barriers to community living for people of all ages with disabilities and long-term illnesses. Today, there are more than 54 million Americans living with a disability, representing a full 20 percent of the U.S. population. Under the Federal Department of Transportation, The New Freedom (5317) formula grant program aims to provide additional tools to overcome existing barriers facing Americans with disabilities seeking integration into the work force and full participation in society. Lack of adequate transportation is a primary barrier to work for individuals with disabilities. The 2000 Census showed that only 60 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 64 with disabilities are employed. The New Freedom Fund formula grant program seeks to reduce barriers to transportation services and expand the transportation mobility options available to people with disabilities beyond the requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
About The Program
The New Freedom Fund Taxi Voucher Program offers passengers with disabilities a 50 percent discount from the normal cab rate. Those who need wheelchair accessibility can now use Metro Taxi's Accessible Service, the State’s first wheelchair-accessible taxi service. Metro Taxi's Accessible Service, offered by Metro Taxi, has an expansive service area so Greater New Haven Transit District passengers are able to travel beyond current GNHTD boundaries. The New Freedom Fund Taxi Voucher Program utilizes taxicabs, so service hours are around-the-clock, 365 days a year, and are not subject to 24 hour prior notice as required by paratransit booking.
"It’s essential that we closely collaborate to ensure that all residents have access to quality transportation services and never allow disabilities to become barriers," said Donna K. Carter, executive director of the New Haven Transit District.
"The New Freedom Fund Taxi Voucher Program impressively raises the benchmark of transportation options available to those with mobility disabilities. It fills a critical gap in the federally-mandated ADA service even though the GNHTD provides more than 350 trips per day to this population under its ADA service and more than 500 trips per day to elderly and disabled across its entire program spectrum,” Carter explained.
To be eligible, an individual must meet the definition of “disabled” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Greater New Haven Transit District staff will interview individuals for eligibility. Applications and program details are included on the GNHTD website: http://www.gnhtd.org/news.htm#TAXI
Voucher-bearing passengers using Metro Taxi need only present their voucher (the New Freedom Fund Card) and identification to their Metro Taxi driver. Greater New Haven Transit identification cards are an acceptable form of I.D.
All Metro Taxi drivers receive training in their ADA-compliant responsibilities and are instructed in the Easter Seals sponsored Taxicab Pocket Guide for Persons With Disabilities. This publication is an easy reference for taxi drivers to review disability etiquette, mobility aids, assisting customers with service animals, as well as the responsibilities that passengers with disabilities have to ensure themselves safe transportation.
Metro Taxi drivers receive training in sensitivity to persons with disabilities by using a combination of CD and DVD training materials entitled A.C.C.E.S.S. Matters: Accessibility, Communication, Cooperation, Excellence, Sensitivity and Service, published by the Easter Seals’ Project Action, 2010.
Department of Services for Persons with Disabilities
This department promotes the coordination of resources for persons with disabilities, responds to the needs of persons with disabilities and monitors and takes appropriate actions to ensure compliance with relevant federal, state and local regulations.
Why Metro Taxi Is Rated "Best!"
- Metro Taxi has a values-based leadership ethic. We are business leaders and community contributors.
- Metro Taxi is Connecticut’s most technologically-advanced, reliable, full-service taxi company.
- Metro Taxi's same-digit phone numbers make it easy for customers to contact us whenever they need transportation: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Metro Taxi's computer dispatch system uses GPS tracking, minimizing customer wait-times.
- Metro Taxi's Customer Service Department features a state-of-the-art telecommunications system to enhance communication between customers, service reps and drivers.
- Metro Taxi routinely checks weather and traffic conditions to inform our drivers of the safest and most direct routes.
- Metro Taxi is Connecticut’s first taxi company to use in-vehicle security cameras for passenger and driver safety.
- Metro Taxi operates wheelchair-accessible cabs to provide equal transportation access for all.
- Metro Taxi offers a suite of charge and debit cards for any transportation need or lifestyle to provide cash-less cab rides.
- Metro Taxi operates clean-burning Compressed Natural Gas taxis.
- Metro Taxi is a Public Access CNG Provider, we have our own fueling station.