New taxi option to serve elderly, blind

The city council on Thursday cleared the way for the start of a discounted taxi service to serve the elderly or visually impaired.

The ordinance is a great service for people who need it and also for public safety, said Councilman John Sharp, chairman of the pubic safety committee.

“We want to make sure people don’t feel like they have to drive when they feel they should not be,” he said.

The service to be provided by ITNAmerica, which operates in about two dozen other cities, would be for those 65 and older, the visually impaired and their caretakers or family members.

It will use private vehicles and largely volunteer drivers. The ordinance also requires insurance and background checks for drivers.

The ITNA began in 1995 in Portland, Ma., Sharp said, and its data nationwide shows the most common age of transport client is 85 and more than 40 percent of their trips are for medical needs.

A board member for the local affiliate of the group told the Kansas City Star that they plan to start in Raytown and Independence in the next few months, and expand to Kansas City later this summer.

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