Free Senior Transportation Program Returns To Northeast Queens

BAYSIDE, QUEENS — A City Council-funded program is offering Northeast Queens seniors free rides to coronavirus vaccination appointments or the doctor.

Created by City Council Member Paul Vallone in 2017, the free senior transportation program relaunched last week with $140,000 in new funding allocated by Vallone and City Council Member Bob Holden, according to a news release.

Seniors living in Vallone's district or in Holden's Central Queens district are eligible to book free rides to anywhere within the five boroughs and western Nassau County.

Rides will be available until funding runs out.

To schedule a ride, seniors may call the Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center at 718-224-7888 between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon and leave their name and phone number in a voicemail to schedule rides for the following day.

For appointments on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday, seniors should call the prior Friday.

All those who use the service will need to complete a basic application with demographic information and an emergency contact and provide their destination.

Vallone said the revival of the free transportation service is meant to help Northeast Queens seniors access COVID-19 vaccines, given that the city has no vaccination sites in the region.

“In five years time, the Free Transportation Program has provided Queens seniors with thousands of rides to and from important medical appointments,” Vallone said. “Now, faced with a public health crisis and with critical vaccine distribution underway, we must ensure that our most vulnerable populations are protected and kept healthy and safe."

This article originally appeared on the Bayside-Douglaston Patch