The Chicago Transit Board today approved an ordinance that will help offset the effect of an upcoming taxicab fare increase on Taxi Access Program (TAP) customers and maintain the current level of service. The value of Chicago Transit Authority TAP vouchers will increase by $1.50 to cover taxicab fares up to $13.50 on May 11, the same date Chicago taxicab fares are set to increase by 12 percent. Currently TAP vouchers cover taxicab fares up to $12.
TAP vouchers purchased before May 11 will be honored by taxicabs at the new $13.50 value.
"The increase in taxicab fares would have effectively reduced the distance certified paratransit customers can travel under the current TAP voucher value," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown. ?This action will allow TAP customers to travel the same distance at no additional cost."
?By increasing the TAP subsidy, the program will continue to be an attractive option to CTA's Special Services program," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?The Taxi Access Program remains a convenient and valuable option for customers with disabilities who rely on this service and cannot use the CTA's mainline system due to the nature of their disabilities."
TAP gives paratransit customers certified by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) an opportunity to travel in taxis at reduced rates for trips that originate within the City of Chicago. A voucher is used to pay for all or part of a one-way ride up to the set valued amount, which stated above, will increase to $13.50 on May 11. Any fare amount over $13.50 must be paid by the customer. The CTA reimburses the cab company for the fare amounts up to $13.50.
Without the TAP program, the only public transportation option available to paratransit customers is the Special Services transportation (vans and sedans) which is more expensive to the CTA costing approximately $27 per trip. The CTA provided more than 396,900 TAP trips last year.
CTA receives no dedicated funding for federally required paratransit services, which include both Special Services and TAP reimbursements. Costs for paratransit have nearly doubled in the past five years, and currently represent five percent of CTA's total operating costs. Put another way, a full one tenth of CTA operating subsidy goes to provide paratransit services.
TAP has been operated jointly by the CTA and the City of Chicago since 1991; at that time the voucher had a value of $10. The TAP voucher value increased to $12 in December 2000.
The City of Chicago made TAP participation mandatory for all Chicago cab companies in November 2000. The Department of Consumer Services has regulatory and enforcement authority over the cab companies.
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