CAPITAL DISTRICT Since CDTA ACCESS took over service arrangements for the Albany County Senior Transportation Program, seniors and town senior service departments across the county are having mixed reactions.
“Our seniors don’t notice any difference at all because we’re still, to them, the person providing the transportation,” said Ed Neary, director of Colonie Senior Service Centers. “Our seniors aren’t noticing any difference.”
Neary said the switchover to the Capital District Transportation Authority from transportation company MTM has brought about a bit of manageable change to Colonie Senior Service Centers.
“Coordination is coming from behind the scenes and from our standpoint, that seems to be working seamlessly … so far, so good,” said Neary.
Colonie seniors age 60 and over call the same number they’ve always called to set up a ride. Senior Services’ transportation director takes down the information and sends it in a spreadsheet to CDTA, which loads it into its own system. According to Margo Janack, CDTA spokesperson, CDTA works with about seven transporters to arrange for senior trips, usually taxis.
“They tell us what their needs are, we will call around and see which transporter is able to work with them on it,” said Janack. “We’re basically the coordinator and scheduler of the trips.”
The Albany County Department for Aging pays CDTA a flat rate of $319,000 for its service and reimburses senior service departments in towns within the county on a monthly basis.
That reimbursement rate has been an issue for Senior Services of Albany, which has eliminated individual rides for its members and now only provides group rides.
“Due to funding cuts in rate reimbursement, we don’t provide individual rides. We focus more on group rides to doctors offices, grocery shopping, senior centers,” said Donna Vancavage, spokesperson for Senior Services of Albany. “Groups can call our transportation department directly.”