March 25, 2019

March 25, 2019

According to AZ Central there are more than 30,000 people over the age of 65 in Maricopa County that do not own a car. Of those 30,000 people more than half do not own a landline or a cell phone. Seniors are not going to give their credit card information to an app for fear of receiving unwanted charges. This makes it very difficult for seniors to contact someone to take them to their necessary doctor’s appointments, go to and from the market, or just to get out the house for an adventure. Phoenix, Arizona has been known nationwide as one of the top retiree cities. Therefore, the Mayor, Senators and anyone in legislation should have fought to maintain some of the well-known taxi companies here in Phoenix that service senior citizens.

Our state has allowed the Lyft and Uber App Consultants to come into Arizona and hire an influx of drivers. These drivers do not have the same compassion or goals of an experienced and professional Taxi driver. Although there is room for multiple companies with different ideas, this has been a huge dysfunction to seniors who actually live in Phoenix, Arizona. It is understood that technology is constantly growing but there are elders who just don’t understand how to use smart phones or computers. The technology is always changing and it’s too much for the average senior. When these new companies came to Arizona there should have been more thought on how this would benefit or hurt the tax paying seniors of the state. Taxi companies should not have been forced to try and keep up with the new age services that have put them all in financial jeopardy, but there should have been accommodations made to take care of the Taxi drivers, the seniors and those that do not want to share credit card information on an application. Toloa Transportation is an Independent Company working with Yellow Cab, Arizona to help maintain the regular taxi service.

I find it quite interesting that we have a whole article discussing how the taxi business is consistently declining because of Lyft and Uber. Why won’t anyone discuss how to maintain the taxi business with Uber and Lyft here in Arizona. Not one person acknowledges we’ve had this type of service for more than 50 years and it has been successful, but the minute the smartphone and the internet became very popular legislation forgot about the seniors. Yes, the seniors that hold approximately 30% of the Arizona population. These are the people that help elect the officials that put aside their needs and went the companies that will line their pockets with cash. This is a huge disservice to our senior citizens.

Yellow Cab, AZ (so far) has remained consistent, they have not tried to change their whole platform to emulate Lyft and Uber. Unlike Discount Cab which at one point was the largest taxi fleet in Arizona, decided that they were going to try to mimic Lyft and Uber. Presently. in 2019, Discount Cab is no longer. They have gone out of business and have put lots of taxi drivers out of work which has left senior citizens struggling for transportation. For those that stayed in the business they know that there are ups and downs in this industry and we can overcome because there is a market for taxi drivers today.

There are many seniors that do not receive service because they don’t know how to get the service that they need. Most often these seniors are left by themselves without receiving the proper medical care or able to shop because the system has left them stranded. I was able to find information on how most people can apply for the Dial-a-Ride program. This program has been around for a while, matter-of-fact it is very popular within the taxi industry. With a little research and a little time, I was able to find a website that will link you to the information. If you have a family member or know of a senior that needs assistance, please share this information. Better yet, help them with the application process online it only takes minutes. Please visit, www.valleymetro.org for information and to complete the application. The website also has maps, schedules (www.valleymetro.org/system-map) and trip planner(www.valleymetro.org/trip-planner) that helps seniors plan their trips. This program will also allow pick up by Yellow Cab. Next week, during Thursday Taxi Talk we will discuss the different programs offered in the Valley and how you can help a senior get signed up to use the benefits.

Tonya Richards

I am an aggressive, detail-oriented self-starter, that is capable of motivating individuals, defining problems, establishing and achieving objectives. I have excellent communication, organizational and project management skills with more than 25 years of customer service. I have worked in hospitality, recreation, retail and the transportation industry. I am a member of Sigma Gamm Rho Sorority. Never let anybody tell you what you CAN NOT do. I left high school at 18 with a baby. A year later I was able to graduate with my GED. Since I have obtained a BA in Business Management and MA in Education.

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