Seniors in Port Hueneme and Oxnard can now take a cab for medical or other vital appointments and pay just $1 each way. The Ventura County Council on Aging will pick up the rest of the fare.
To obtain an identification card for using the service, which started Monday, seniors should call the Council on Aging at 986-1424 or, in Ventura, at 656-3170.
For service from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays, seniors should make an appointment with Dial-a-Ride, 986-4000, 24 hours in advance, if possible.
For return rides, seniors should call Gold Coast Cab at 487-0689. Those who have an emergency need for taxi service outside office hours should also contact the cab company directly.
The service will be provided for trips within the city limits of Oxnard and Port Hueneme, as well as for trips from those cities to the County Medical Center in Ventura. It is for use by low-income seniors who have no other means of transportation.
The taxi service follows Port Hueneme's withdrawal from Survivalmobile, a program that reimbursed volunteers who provided transportation for seniors.
The city funded Survivalmobile for 11 years, giving the program $6,000 last year. The taxi service is expected to serve the same number of people at a cost of $10,000, senior citizens advocate Tony Lamb said. However, the taxi service will provide more complete, convenient service for seniors, he said.
The Council on Aging will finance the taxi service with proceeds from bingo games at the Rose Avenue Senior Center. Lamb said he did not expect problems with cheaters.
Abuse of senior programs in general "is very, very rare and we're willing to risk it," he said. "This is a real lifesaver, and we've fixed it so that no person who has a true need for a ride will be deprived of it by any red tape."